how to sustainably declutter your home
I know that everyone is on the Marie Kondo train right now. And goodness knows I can get on the bandwagon for only having things in your home that bring you joy, but I just don’t think her methods are particularly sustainable for me. I think that people often fall back into the trap of buying things that they might not need and, to be honest, I would never commit my time to folding my clothes that way. But I do think that only keeping the things that you use and love is important - I just take a different approach.
First things first, I think a big purge is a great first step. If watching Marie Kondo makes you do it, go for it! If that method works for you, congrats! If not, here’s the decluttering process I use to make it sustainable all year round.
Keep ‘Specialty’ Items Together
I used to get so annoyed tripping over or digging past my ‘extras.’ Things like my painting clothes, extra tennis shoes I keep if I’m doing something particular muddy/dirty, athletic equipment that I only use every so often. Now, all of those things live together in a box all to themselves in a closet. Out of the way for every day, but accessible when needed.
Make a Home for Misfits
No matter how much you declutter, there will always be things that don’t have a ‘home.’ I used to have random shoe boxes where they would land and one day I realized that I had three or four shoe boxes scattered around the house for this purpose and when I needed to find something, I had to look in every single one. Think about your go-to places to look when you can’t find something random. If you can, consolidate all your misfits into one location so you know where to go in a pinch.
Designate a To-Do Pile
I’m not the type of person that ever has everything 100% buttoned up. Even though we’re “done” with our house, we’ve still got things here and there I want to do and I’m always rearranging furniture and changing up my pictures. Instead of walking through the house and seeing evidence of all the unfinished projects, I now keep them in a pile somewhere I can see them (currently our guest bedroom). This goes for unreturned packages, art that needs to be framed, anything needing repair - really the list is a long/odd one. Because it’s in a spot I can see it, I don’t forget about anything, but it’s also not scattered all over the house driving me bonkers.
Group Your Stashes
I’m sure Mari Kondo wouldn’t like this, but I refuse to part with my collection of wall paint and stains. Yes, I have a lot of cans and no I’m not getting rid of them because I like having variety when I’m doing a project. But I do have designated spaces for my collections. My art supplies are in my office. My extra/seasonal decor lives in our linen closet + guest bedroom cabinet. My painting supplies are in our coat closet. It’s easier to know what you have and where to find it when everything related to each other is grouped in one spot.
Make Donating a Habit
This is the best and most important takeaway here. I have a section of my guest room closet designated for my donation pile. When I see something that I’m not loving or using, I take it to the donation pile. This works well if you want to see if you might' ‘need’ it over the next month or so. If you don’t pull it out of the pile to use it, it can go. Once a month or so, I take it to the goodwill and it’s the best feeling in the world clearing out things we don’t need and giving them a new home that will appreciate it.
The key here is staying mindful of what is in front of you. If you’re digging through a drawer of things you don’t wear or use, pull those things out as you go and stick them in a donation pile. If you find yourself with a room of things that don’t have a home, find one for them. What it really comes down to is keep things you like and keep like things together. Having one place for things makes it easier to find what you looking for and saves you time. And removing unused items clears both your home and your mind. You can really feel a difference once you’ve cleared your physical space. Energetically, it makes space for better things and that’s the best part!