How to Stop being Overwhelmed and Declutter your Home

Ever since my teenage years, I have been a hoarder. I loved storing everything and anything.

From the receipt stub of a memorable dinner with friends to movie tickets of my favorite movies. Chit chats of my friends in school to greeting cards.

I even stored IKEA catalogs to go through from time to time. I would love to imagine using all the products in my dream home one day.

Everything was stored religiously and nothing was ever thrown out of my junk box.

Until I got married and had kids. Living in a small space with a family of four was a conscious decision my husband and I made. But I also knew it required comprises and sacrifices had to be made. Yet, I wasn’t ready to part with my memorabilia.

But slowly, the junk in my house started to take my peace of mind away. I was constantly looking for spaces to store my things in my house and used to fall short often.

I realized a short while later, that I will have to make a tough decision. Whether I wanted to move into a bigger space to store all of my stuff or be prepared to get rid of some of them. I wanted to have a house where I can actually find space to store important things.

And I made a firm decision to declutter my life. So I combed through organizing blogs, books and bookmarked the tips I liked the best.

Slowly and steadily, I started sorting through all my belongings from the past. Then I started digitalizing the ones which I could – Photos, greeting cards with personalized messages and private notes.

I threw my pile of IKEA catalogs. I was helped by the belief that most of the items in the catalog were not even sold by the retailer anymore.

My favorite magazines, 1001 articles on my favorite stars, high school prospectus…all went straight to the garbage bin.

My one mantra for Decluttering was keeping what was most important and what I simply couldn’t live without. While I didn’t go to the extreme of Swedish Death Cleaning, I was able to declutter my home to a very large extent with my mantra.

I also took shelter in my grandmother’s words. She often says that things which are of no use right now won’t be of much use in future as well.

This can be a bit harsh to digest. While I did follow her advice, there were times when I regretted throwing something when its use suddenly came up. But I have learned to live with that regret.

I would rather have the regret of throwing something away and having to rebuy it rather than storing piles of junk hoping that they would come handy someday.

I no longer needed them and they no longer satisfied me in the way they used to.

In the end, I was left with only a small box of memories which I couldn’t make myself part with and which were really close to me.

This decluttering helped me immensely in finding my peace of mind back and getting more space to store important things in my house. In fact, My cupboards have so much space that they feel open and airy to me which pleasures me to no bound.

This experience taught me one important lesson – Moments make memories. Not things. I was holding onto things which reminded me of the memories but I needn’t have done that. I already have them stored in my mind, which is where it really mattered.

Declutter your home

So if you are clutterer yourself, take this one piece of advice from me: start decluttering.

You ‘ll find immense pleasure, freedom of letting go and an added advantage would be some extra space in your home. This peace of mind will help you in being productive in other aspects of your life as well as you don’t have a pile of stuff taking a toll on your mental real estate

The first two are important for your inner self but the last one is important for the whole of your family. As real estate gets more and more expensive, our homes are becoming smaller and smaller.

The space of storing things is at a premium these days and we must make use of what is available to us in the best way possible.

So start getting to do it and take help from the below tips to sort out your life. The first tip will be

Digitalize your memories

With new technologies available literally at our fingertips, I wonder why we still hold onto the old way of doing things.

For eg – I had tons of CDS, DVDs to sort through when I firsts started decluttering. I confess they were recordings of important occasions in my life – My wedding, my kids birthdays, etc but did I actually need them ….

The answer is NO. The first I think I did was sort them into “To keep” and “To throw” categories. Luckily, I always wrote down the content of the CDs on the box so it was a quick task.

If you don’t know the content, it just lengthens the process as you will check each and every one of them for their content. I would advise you to take a few hours daily if you have quite a big collection and 2-3 hours of any particular day if you have a smaller one of say 25-50 CDs. To sort them out.

The next task will be to digitalize the “To keep” CDs and DVDs. This will take quite some time if you have more than 20. My advice would be to tackle a few at a time on weekends rather than going at it all together.

I even had the old world VHS and audio cassettes – can you believe that? Luckily, I found a guy who converted them into digital files for a nominal fee. So I contacted him and Voila – I even had my own first birthday’s video digitalized. Yippee!!

I even got rid of my plethora of books. I have been using e-books for years now but somewhere, I didn’t have the courage to throw away my favorite novels. But this mission to declutter gave me the courage. What helped me, even more, was that I already owned electronic copies of the novels I loved so the step wasn’t as hard for me as I thought it would be.

Some of the books I gave to my local library while some of them went to my daughter’s school project of books donation.

You can also digitalize your important receipts, electronic manuals, and document (if it is unnecessary to keep their physical proof).

One tiny hack I used was I created a Gmail account for the sole purpose of this digitalization of my home. I used Google Drive storage for backing up these important documents. This way, It didn’t get mixed up with my private photos and videos and whatnots.

The 3-box rule for clothes

Next came the mammoth task of sorting out clothes. Oh boy, that was epic. I gave toys to my kids so that they wouldn’t disturb us, took the help of my better half and emptied all of our closets.

We had 3 boxes ready, with labels as “Need”, “Don’t Need”, and “Not Sure”. The next 3 hours were taken up with just sorting out the mess. We immediately re-checked the “Don’t Need” box. After we were satisfied that we really didn’t need anything from it, my husband was sent off to donate them to a charity shop.

The “Not Sure” box was packed up and stored in an attic where it was difficult for us to get our hands on it on a regular basis. This was my way of making sure that I wouldn’t miss the items in them. We gave ourselves 2 months. If we could survive without the things in the box for the next 2 months, we would donate them as well.

So you can imagine when 2 boxes of extra stuff went away, what my closet would have looked like, I could literally feel the peace of spaces seeping into my mind and giving me positive vibes. Really!

So now our closets looked like the spring after the winter. I even kept some sweet-smelling lavender scent bars to keep them smelling fresh all the time.

Electronics and Hardware Junk

The next was the electronic and tools junk. Quite predictably, it’s my husband who is a hoarder in this department. He loves messing around with electronics, and so has a habit of keeping all the tools, wires and whatnot. (He loves DIYs project)

Luckily, I had no idea about this part of the junk and so I happily left my husband to the task. He took his own sweet time in saying goodbyes to his favorite toys and I was left with a quarter of what I already had. Full points to my hubby dearest.

But if you want to tackle this task, I would advise you to sort through all the junk and find what is absolutely needed in your home on a regular basis. This separates the essentials from the extras.

Next step is to decide whether you really want to keep the extras. And when do you expect to use them. In a few months or after a year? Like we knew that the oil paint can we had used for polishing the door was no more needed as we had just finished polishing. So we didn’t want it to sit there, take precious storage and in the end, get thrown away because it had all dried out.

Instead, we asked our friends and family if they need the extras we were giving away. It turned out most of the items were needed by some or the other friend of ours. This helped us massively in getting rid of the extras and left us a smaller sized box full of essential tools.

I would advise you to do the same. Separate the essentials from extras and then decide what you want to do with the extras. Are they worth giving away or should you just throw them out? It entirely depends on you.

Creating space in kitchen

My last place to go through was my kitchen utensils. It was a deliberate choice to make it the last stop. That was because, over the years, the most numbers of gifts I have received has been what I would use in my kitchen. So I knew that I had a lot to go through and I needed time and peace of mind from sorting out everything else before I enter my kitchen.

I had prepared snacks before a day to get ready for the big day and we had planned to order food online so that I don’t waste any time in the mundane stuff.

For this task, I would advise you to check what kind of personality you and your home has. Are you a social butterfly and throw parties every weekend? Or are you a more outgoing kind of person who loves to spend weekends away from home?

In my case, I was a mix of the two. I didn’t have a habit of throwing parties except for one or two for my kids birthdays. We have a group of friends who mostly prefer going out than staying indoors.

But there have also been occasions where impromptu parties get organized on a whim at my house. So I needed to decide which way is to go? Did I want to store the stuff in my kitchen for the occasional parties for whether I could survive and throw parties without the help of the stuff I own?

I took the second route and decided to get rid of everything but what I needed the most. A family of four doesn’t require 14 mugs. Or 3 dozen glasses. Or 3 sets of dinner plates.

So I decided the amount which I would need every day, set aside some for special occasions and then started to get rid of the rest. Some of them went to my family and friends who needed them. Others went to the recycling box.

It took one full day for me to organize and another 2  to send away all the items I had kept aside. But the end result was pure happiness. My kitchen was full of spaces, ridden of junk and (please don’t think I’m crazy) but I actually found it be much lighter and airy than before.

declutter your home

Conclusion

So these were some of the tips you can incorporate in your decluttering mission. Do it and feel the change. Your home will feel airy and open. And your mind will be in a relaxed state.

You will see the difference in an organized and decluttered home makes. And to keep it organized, don’t forget to read my super popular post on keeping your home immaculate.

As always, keep me enlightened with your thoughts, and tips on the topic

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *