Justine Harrington on June 20, 2017 0 Comments Over this past year, my husband and I have begun preparing to build a tiny home. So, accordingly, we’ve started the process of decluttering. We’ve begun purging our clothes and household items on a semi-weekly basis, organizing our closets, cutting down on trips to Target, and generally paring down our lifestyle (a must-do if you’re preparing to live in a 400-square foot space!) Throughout this process, I’ve learned some valuable lessons that I hope continue to stick with me for years to come – regardless of whether I live in a tiny home, a condo, or a three-bedroom house out in the suburbs. Here are the 7 lessons you learn when you declutter your home: 1. Decluttering is way easier than you imagined it would be When you envision decluttering your space, does the mere thought of doing so make you feel overwhelmed? You’re not alone! Getting rid of your household’s clutter can feel like a huge, insurmountable hurdle. Let me tell you, as a scatterbrained person by nature, I haven’t always been thrilled at the prospect of buckling down and getting organized. And, if you’re anything like the average American homeowner, you’ve probably accumulated a surprising amount of stuff over the years – stuff that can be hard to part with. But, here’s the thing: decluttering has been a lot easier than I thought it would be. Once you nail down an organizational system that works for you, you’d be surprised at how quickly the process speeds along. Best of all, when you do get going, you start to forget about how initially overwhelmed you were – and, instead, you begin to focus on how good it feels to clear away the clutter. 2. You’ll take better care of your stuff if there’s less of it When you have fewer material items crowding your space, you’ll inevitably want to take better care of the items that you do have. Which reminds me of a quote I loved from Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (it’s on Netflix now; go watch it immediately!) — I’m paraphrasing here, but it was along the lines of, “We don’t need to become less materialistic. We need to become MORE materialistic.” Meaning, it’s high time we start purchasing quality items that we care about, as opposed to buying throwaway junk on a whim. Once you begin the journey to having less stuff, you’ll be inspired to take care of (and invest in) the stuff that you keep around. 3. Redefining what you find valuable will likely make you happier Yes, it may sound trite, but it’s true. Once you start decluttering your home, you’ll be forced to take stock of what items you find value in, in order to evaluate what you want to keep and what you want to give away. You’ll have to ask yourself: What items make me happy, to my core? What items seep my mental energy and leave me feeling drained? This process of redefining value (repeat after me: money does NOT always equal value!) will likely lead to a happier existence. Because, here’s the thing: the joy that comes from only being surrounded by the things you truly care about, and find value in, can’t be overestimated. 4. Feeling guilty about keeping something is not the same thing as needing to have it. Are you hanging onto a sweater that your mother-in-law law gifted years ago, even though you never wear it? Do you have a pair of jeans from 2002 in your drawer that you’re hoping to finally fit into again this year? Hanging onto items because you feel obligated to isn’t always the best idea. That’s why, when it comes to clearing out your closet, it’s best to stick to one cardinal rule: If you haven’t worn the item of clothing in question in six months or more, it needs to go. Trust me, guilt isn’t a good enough reason to keep things around that you don’t have a use for anymore. In fact, if looking at an item fills you with regret or guilt, this is a clear sign that you should get rid of it. Decluttering is all about keeping the things that make you happy – not the things that bring you pain! 5. Decluttering is an ongoing process Here’s the thing about decluttering: it never ends. It’s not about simply taking some boxes down to the Salvation Army, organizing your closet a la Marie Kondo, or finally getting around to organizing that pile of old mail on your table. (Although, this is all certainly part of the process!) Rather, decluttering is a mindset, a lifestyle choice, an ongoing process. To make it stick, you should constantly keep yourself in check, refrain from buying things you don’t need, and keep your space clean and organized on a daily basis. All of which gets easier over time — but, it’s important to keep in mind that the process of decluttering your home never really ends; to maintain a clutter-free existence, you’ll have to work at it. 6. There’s no limit to how much stuff you “need” I used to think that if I just got that one perfect sheet set from Anthropologie, life would be good. Oh, and that adorable teakettle from Pottery Barn that I’ve had my eye on. Also, can’t forget about that chic wall-to-wall IKEA bookshelf I’ve been coveting for years. You see where I’m going with this, right? When it comes to the consumption of material goods, there really is no end in sight. I’m not saying you should NEVER purchase things you truly want or need (I still want those sheets!), but if you’re expecting to wake up one day and be 100% satisfied with your home decor or wardrobe, you’re gonna be waiting a long time. Like, forever. 7. It feels really, really good to let it all go This one pretty much speaks for itself. Clearing away the clutter in your life will make you feel more organized, more productive, and more in tune with what’s truly important in life. All of which feels undeniably, unspeakably good.