Decluttering can mean many things. It can mean getting rid of things we do not want or no longer use. It can mean not buying things we simply want. It can also mean knowing what we have and having a use for everything we own. Nowadays, we have organization and decluttering guru Mari Kondo and her books The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy leading the way in our search for peaceful and simplified surroundings. Decluttering and organizing are becoming the popular way of living; however, these two concepts are not one and the same.
Decluttering is removing those items that just take valuable space in return for nothing. Organizing is having a place for everything and “everything in its place” as the saying goes. The more things we accumulate, the more time we spend in the upkeep of these things and less time doing the what we love.
We can change our mindset and think before we bring or accept something new in our lives. Ask ourselves, do we really need it? Do I just want it? Or like Dana White in her book Decluttering at the Speed of Life tells us, do we own something already that can do the same job of the new thing we want? Decluttering is not only physical, but also emotional and mental. One leads to another and the best part is you do not have to do it all in one day, one week, one month. You go at your own pace and you stop when you think you have achieved your “decluttering goal”. Remember, your “decluttering goal” is different from anybody else’s, even from those who live under the same roof.
One way to change your mindset is to follow Dana White’s advice from Decluttering at the Speed of Life. In her book, Dana tells us, from personal experience, to start thinking about our home as a box. A box has a limit to the number items it can hold. Thinking in these terms can help us become conscious of the things we want to surround ourselves with. Instead of thinking what to get rid of, change your thought process to think of what you want to keep in your home and in your life. In addition, Marie Kondo advises us to keep only those things to bring joy to us.
In order to not become overwhelmed, try to stop clutter from coming into your home in the first place. Avoid bringing something home that you just want or saw in someone else’s home or is being promoted on social media. The excitement of having something new will wear off and you will stop using it at some point.
There are no rules at how much you should keep or how many items you should get rid of. Inform yourself, read about different methods other people have used to declutter and minimized their homes and lifestyles. Again, it is up to you what method you use.
In addition the books by Marie Kondo and Dana White, MCPL offers many other books about decluttering. You can also learn more from our recent Library Matters podcast episode on the topic,