Get Rid of Clutter and Gain Energy!


Three boxes of books, a set of bunk beds, bags of clothing and shoes, toys, sheets and comforters left our house last week.  And we don’t even miss them. 
 
It started with an item on my to-do list:  put away last year’s school books and shelve next year’s books.
 
While dusting books, cleaning shelves and finding homes for the books we removed, I started noticing books that we really didn’t need to own.  I’m a sucker for a used book sale, but I’m not afraid to get rid of books that have outlived their usefulness.  So while I searched the numerous bookshelves in our house for titles on the curriculum book list, I removed as many books as I could and boxed them up.
 
Meanwhile, my husband decided that our college-bound son should go ahead and pack up his bedroom so we could paint the walls in preparation for its new occupant.  That meant moving a trundle bed out of his room and into another bedroom, taking down bunk beds, and acquiring a full-size bed from a grown child for the newly-painted room.  Sort of like musical beds.
 
And while you’re moving all that furniture, may as well get rid of some stuff.
 
Don Aslett said, “Getting the clutter out of your life can and will rid you of more discouragement, tiredness, and boredom than anything else you can do.”
 
I have to agree that getting clutter out of my life gives me energy and a feeling of freedom.
 
Clutter sneaks up on us.  A few things here, a few things there and before you know it, your house runneth over.
 
Many years ago we moved into a house temporarily.  We knew we would only be there a couple of months so we didn’t unpack most of our stuff.  It sat in the garage in boxes until our next move.
 
It was amazing how easy it was to keep that temporary house clean.  We had three little children and they only had a few toys and clothes.  We had basic furniture and kitchen utensils, but far less stuff
 
I don’t necessarily want to go back to a life THAT stark, but it was a good lesson. 
 
Sometimes older houses are harder to “look” clean because of chipped paint and old carpet.  But clean surfaces and an uncluttered view go a long ways toward a neat and clean feel.
 
You can still have stuff (within reason) but it helps to keep it hidden.  Cabinets, dressers, shelves, drawers, baskets and boxes can corral your necessary items.  They can be sort of messy on the inside but they look neat on the outside.
[break][/break]Start by looking at your house with visitor’s eyes.  What have you stopped “seeing”?  A pile of papers, an overflowing magazine basket?  Keys, receipts and dust on a bookshelf?  What’s on top of the refrigerator?
 
You have two options:
 
1)  Don’t get overwhelmed.  Start small.  Set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and get rid of one clutter area.
 
2)  Don’t get overwhelmed.  Do the Big One.  In other words, declutter ALL the books or a whole room.  It’s a mess in the middle but there’s such a feeling of power and relief when it’s done.
 
One decluttering session leads to another.  Now that the books are done I’m in the mood to do the kitchen.  I like to start a new school year with a freshly decluttered kitchen because I know that ain’t happenin’ in the upcoming months.
 
Look around your house with fresh eyes and see if you have some places that would benefit from decluttering.  Reward yourself when it’s done and enjoy new energy and your streamlined surroundings!
[break][/break]Please leave your comment below!
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6 Comments

  1. Great article! Did you donate the bunk beds, books, etc., or sell it? I’m bad to hang on to things, thinking I should try and sell them, but then I never do. It would be better if I just donated them to start with.

    1. Our church is having a yard sale soon to benefit the children’s program so the stuff went straight to there! We make regular donations to various thrift stores in town, too, but only good clothes and stuff.

  2. I’ve heard countless times that “You can’t organize clutter.”. I’d nod and agree while reading this… but it turns out it’s true. What I’ve been doing for way too many years is move clutter around, store it in bins and baskets, move it around some more, yet continually feel overwhelmed by too much stuff. I need to simply declutter what I don’t love and don’t use, and keep what makes me smile and what I know I use during any given week. Thanks for the reminder! I’ll be tackling decluttering with new energy after reading your story! 🙂

  3. How funny to ‘happen’ upon your blog tonight. My husband and I just finished decluttering much of our downstairs and part of upstairs. We boxed up tons of toys because our kids just get them all out and move from one mess to another. It has become more than I care to deal with now. Well, I was feeling a bit guilty about it and then I read your article and now I don’t. I do have to admit just looking at the sparser rooms does give me a more energetic feeling. Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. Good info! While I don’t look forward to the entire process of moving, I do look forward to clearing things out and starting “fresh” from a move. I advocate to people to take advantage of their moves to really find and isolate the items that hold meaning and to let the other items go.

    Even if you aren’t moving, it can help to use that mindset to get past the usual hang ups that we all have when trying to decide what to toss..

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