Simplifying isn't about creating stark empty spaces, it's about removing things from your life that remove you from your life.
It could be making space in a busy schedule, clearing clutter in your work and living spaces or reducing the busyness in your life. What we remove from our life is as important as what we add to it.
Remember why you want to live with less stuff. It’s different for everyone. For some people it's about having more more time, space or money, and others appreciate the freedom of owning less. Knowing your why gives your simplifying a purpose. For me it was about having more time to work on personal projects, and to read.
When I started simplifying my life in January 2020 this is how I began... I started de-cluttering my work space (work desk, files, cupboards, laptop desktop), my clothes, small spaces in my home (still a big work in progress) my work schedule (thanks COVID19 for reminding me to slow down), my weekends (less commitments and more space for me to do what fills my well being tank up), consuming less processed food, and eating cleaner. I have discovered that I'm slowly creating more space, time and freedom. An unexpected bonus outcome is that I'm appreciating each experience more, as I have the time to enjoy it.
Simplifying is a journey - it takes time. You didn't clutter up your life overnight so you won't de-clutter overnight either. It's a step by step process. It's not always fun but it is hugely rewarding.
I'm not an expert but from the many books I've read on de-cluttering and the experts I follow on social media, I have curated a few helpful tips for those wanting to make a start.
Set aside a small block of time, such as 15 minutes, to work on one space
Start with a space that you know you can de-clutter in 15 minutes or less. eg. a drawer or a cupboard
Start easy and de-clutter unemotional spaces first, such as the utensil drawer in the kitchen or a pile of old magazines. Getting rid of easy stuff will give you momentum to have a go at the harder stuff later
Have something ready to put your discarded items into
Ask yourself... When did I last use this? My rule is: if I haven't used it in the last two years, I usually let it go.
Move items out of the house as quickly as you can. If you create piles in your garage with the intention of moving them, you're creating clutter still, just in a different space.
You have three options when parting with items; throw, sell or donate/gift. Local Hospice shops or The Salvation Army are grateful recipients of household items. Not knowing what to do with our stuff is often the reason we don't make a start. If you're going to sell online consider the time and energy it takes to do that. If you're going to get $50 or more for the item it might be worth selling, otherwise consider giving it away.
Enjoy the space you've cleared out, admire it and check out how you feel. I love admiring spaces I've de-cluttered and cleared. It gives me a huge sense of satisfaction, not to mention it is so much easier to find things.
'If you feel overwhelmed or confused about the benefits of de-cluttering, simply remember that your home is not a container for your stuff, but rather a place for joy and connection. I can’t think of a better reason to de-clutter than to make room for more of that.' Courtney Carver
The best time to start is today. Choose an easy space, set aside 15 minutes and go for it!
You'll be amazed at how good you feel once you've completed it.