Minimizing Clutter

Minimizing Clutter

“Do you own your things, or do your things own you?”

I was listening to a podcast by John Mark Comer, and this quote stood out to me.

As a Professional Organizer for eleven years, this right here is the root of their struggle for many of my clients. Oftentimes, my clients feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of items they own, the “lack” of space they have, and the complete and utter loss of where to start their organizing journey.

This is a pattern I have seen for years and most of the time, it circles back to the basic question – Do you own your things, or do your things own you?

If you are wondering if this applies to you, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you have areas in your home that bring you stress and anxiety?
  2. Do you struggle making decisions on a day-to-day basis?
  3. Do you lose things often?
  4. Do you buy things without knowing if you already have it at home?
  5. Do you have multiples of the same or similar items in your house?
  6. Do you feel the need to buy things when sad, angry, lonely, depressed, or anxious?

When these things happen, it’s often because we are debilitated by our possessions. Or we have deceived ourselves into believing that more is better.

“The world asks how can I get more, but the true question to ask ourselves is how can I have less to cultivate contentment?”

Amelia Thatcher

How can we practice the art of simplicity?

Simplicity does not mean selling all of your possessions and owning nothing, it’s simply the art of limiting ourselves and creating healthy boundaries. It’s being intentional with our buying habits. If you struggle with using material things to make yourself feel better or to gain a sense of control or happiness, it’s time to reevaluate. This is something the majority of my clients have struggled with at one point or another, and an extremely common theme I see. We live in a material world that tells us that we need the new, the update, the trending, the shiny, the expensive, the pretty; this thing to make us happy or that thing to make us successful. When in fact, this mindset is the very thing that creates a stressful and anxious environment in our minds and in our homes.

So let’s talk about practical ways to move forward.

Practical Ways To Minimize Our Clutter:

  1. Make a donation bin or box that lives somewhere accessible and relevant in your home. Right next to your garage door, perhaps, or a spot in your master closet? Once this bin is full, take it away immediately. Choose a donation place that is easy, quick and in the path of your established day-to-day rhythm. The more time and energy this task takes, the less likely we are to do it.
  2. Trash junk mail the moment you get it. Don’t set this down, dispose of it right away.
  3. When done using an item in your home, don’t put it down. Put it away immediately.
  4. Before shopping, do a quick inventory to see what you already own/ have in stock.
  5. When purging/ getting rid of items, be honest with yourself – is this something you need or benefits your family or home? Does this bring you joy or bring you stress?
  6. Designate one day a week that is realistic for you to refresh your space.

As with anything, the first step in establishing a new habit is always the hardest. Be kind to yourself and allow grace in the process. Start small – one area within one room. It took years to accumulate the clutter, it’s going to take more than one afternoon to regain control. The beauty in organizing is the instant gratification. It’s addicting. Try taking a picture before you start and again once you’ve completed a space. You’ll be amazed at the difference and it will motivate you to keep moving forward. And have fun with it! Blast your favorite music or invite a friend over and make it a day. Often an outside perspective is just what you need to see clearly. Before you know it, you’ll have transformed your home into a tranquil oasis where materials items no longer overpower your peace!

Emily Grindell
Emily Grindell

Mar 18, 2024 • 4 mins read