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7 tips to declutter home: why and how to start.

The place where we live has the power to influence our wellbeing.

I admit it: decluttering my wardrobe was definitely more enjoyable than cleaning up the rest of the house. Why? Despite my current stay-at-home-mom life and style, fashion is a language I’ve been spoken since my childhood. My grandma was a popular seamstress in Verona and used to dress me up with the loveliest outfits. I’ve certainly taken something away from those days as, when browsing in a shop, I can immediately spot the most valuable and expensive cloth, eyes closed, ah! In other words, having to deal with clothes makes me happy.
However, I have started to simplify my 2019 with you and I am ready to tackle all aspects of life so here are

7 tips to declutter home: why and how to start.

There are many people who think about living in a simplified, uncluttered home. The place where we live has the power to influence our wellbeing, both physically and psychologically.
Home should be a corner that restores and refreshes our spirits; instead, it is sometimes filled with too many things which undermine our contentment.

Getting started is always the hardest part.
Don’t give yourself a tough time by rushing into decluttering without a plan. Give yourself the time and some groundwork to say goodbye to the things that do not add purpose to your life.

Decluttering kitchen before.
Decluttering kitchen drawers: before.

My 7 tips to declutter home: why and how to start.

I have never been the organised type, let me clarify this before I get started. Ask my mother: I was the messy, chaotic kid who could find her things only in her mayhem. 
I started to be a little better after I got married as a result of gender confrontation. Generally speaking, I believe that guys can be awfully careless about cleaning or organisation. Sorry tidy man! Please prove me wrong (you can simply use the picture of my kitchen drawer above).

However, we are now ready to reduce the number of things we own so to be able to focus on the things we need, use and love.

decluttering kitchen after
Decluttering kitchen drawers: after.

Before diving into my 7 tips to declutter home: why and how to start, remember that your choice has to be intentional.
As I wrote in my first blog post about SIMPLIFY, the why behind an action will move your motivation through an action.

Why are you motivated to declutter? Perhaps you:

  • feel overpowered by the things you are surrounded with;
  • shop but never feel satisfied with what you have and always want more;
  • look for purpose in your daily life and the clutter pushes you away from your intent;
  • search for new ways to truly enjoy the little things of life;
  • want to explore a simpler living that will reduce your stress and tension.

I read Erin Loechner’s blog and I love what she says about life:
We are not here on this vast green earth to get stuff done. We’re not here to power through a to-do list, to bask in our sense of accomplishment, to wield a perfectly-organized spice rack.⠀⠀
No. We are here for one thing, and one thing alone: each other.

It is easy, for everyone, to get trapped into the thought that we would be happier with more.
And sometimes it does feel good to buy! In other words, I’m not suggesting to never do it again unless it’s utterly indispensable (I love a good day of shopping!). I am saying that if you see a pattern in your life, where your happiness seems to come only from material things, this should be treated as a sign.

Our lives won’t improve because we have something more or something new. Our lives improve if we will have more time to spend together, bigger dreams, less stuff. In short, more focus on real things.
I encourage you to think about why you want to start decluttering your home and simplify your life. It is the perfect little step to a real and long-lasting improvement.

Here are my 7 tips to declutter home: why and how to start that may inspire you. 

Focus on one thing at the time. Take your time to go around the house and asses the situation. After that, focus on a room, and in that room, on one activity at the time. For instance, I took care of my kitchen drawers by tossing away what was broken, unused since the dawn of time, expired or dirty. Therefore, I spent a few minutes thinking about how to re-arrange the drawers and make my life simple: especially in the morning because of our rich breakfasts, which require lots of stuff on the table. Picture

List the areas of your house that need decluttering. Again, begin with simple and easy tasks. Set a time for it and try to stick with it. Add people to the chore. For example, my kids helped me re-organising the corridor built-in wardrobe, the place that looks more like a dustbin (at least ours!). In other words, we throw in papers, shoes, CDs and DVDs, all sort of products I don’t recall last time I used, etcetera.
When you’re done with one area, STOP. Celebrate your achievement!
Dana Byers explains it well on her blog.

We all have them. I recently told myself to buy another heat resistant silicone brush (is there a shorter name perhaps?) so that one can brush oil into the pan and the other brushes maple syrup onto the pancakes. Think about screwdrivers, bottle opener, pot holders, trivets and so on. Get all the duplicates you have and pick the best you know. The rest is history.

These duplicates make the exception: they are awesome flasks from Wildegg Museum.

This mindset is the killer of decluttering. Can you source what you seldom need or just buy it second hand if you really use it ofter? Old empty diaries (I’ve got rid of two this year), vases you never use.
Rule of thumb: do not buy something for one specific occasion only.
For example, I go ice-skating twice a year and I rent the skates at the till. No mess in the built-in wardrobe or in the cellar.

This rule suggests you that anytime you bring something new into the house, more than one item should go. 
You don’t want to just replace an object and you don’t want to cause additional clutter. You buy a toy, two toys go. A new book comes in, two go out. The same applies to clothes, for example. 
This mechanism requires you to really think about the next purchases!
Be critical.

We are surrounded by quantity more than quality and we find ourselves owing things not worth much. It is easy to let things pile up in your home without even realising (find a link sullo spreco). Let’s try to invest in quality objects that will last longer. If you decide to go for quality, so for things which are probably (but not always) more expansive but also more durable, you will take greater care of them and you will love this aspect of ‘minimalism’. Although, as I said here in my post, I am not a minimalist, the philosophy behind is surely interesting.

I am no computer and I do not behave like one. I am a person with feelings and memories. Although some of them occupy space not only in my hearts but in some boxes as well, I know that I should mindfully store some precious memories in a physical place.
I own a few cardboard boxes, especially in Verona, where I keep preserved all my dearest memoirs, all my most important bits and pieces: letters, photos, objects. Going down the memory lane is something I would never let go. Looking at my memories gives me also the chance to connect with a part of myself that I sometimes feel hidden. But this is another story.

The current decluttering situation here in Zürich? Surely far from done but kitchen drawers look much better, and closets too. The living room is almost empty and it waits for a dinner table so no trouble with it. The playroom is small so it always looks full: however, we donated many toys and the kids were sort of collaborative (no parental bribing occurred so far). Next step is papers and built-in closet which I should have done as the first thing it was too much to face when I started!

Current considerations: I spent a fraction of the time preparing breakfast in the morning. Two reasons: I have everything scheduled day by day (have a look at some of my breakkies here) and in addition, I’ve put all the necessary inside practical boxes so it really takes a minute to lay the table.

Make time for what matters to you.

Time is paramount for me, it fuels whatever is important in my life. Above all, it allows me to have the privilege to connect with the people I love, it gives me joy when I do what I like, from my job to a walk in the forest. Time is the meaningful way that brings me the opportunity to serve a purpose in life.
You have time and everything changes. Everything.

So lets’ get simple.

I have found these interesting links that could help you with more decluttering tips: have them a look as some are quite clever.

Using Imagination to Reduce Clutter In Your Home

18 Five-Minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering Your Mess

365 Less Things

Strategies for seeing clutter

I hope this post will keep you motivated to find the time to make more time in your life. See you next week.
Remember to use the hashtag #theartofslowsipping on IG to share your photos with me!
xo, Chiara

About the author
Hi, I’m Chiara, an Italian landed in Zürich in 2011. I like to help people finding their way to the sustainable use of social media, without sacrificing results. I like to write about mindfulness and all things real.

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