Choosing The Right Decluttering Method For A Stress-Free Home
Not only has clutter become synonymous with stress and anxiety, but once spoken, the very word “clutter” can evoke negative images; visions of boxes piled from floor to ceiling, creating mazes through which family members stumble and weave. Although the latter can be the case in more extreme hoarder situations, for most of us our clutter consists of stacks of mail and piles of unworn sweaters.
This clutter doesn’t seem very serious. After all it doesn’t prevent you from walking through your bedroom or from prepping dinner. So what’s the big deal? The issue with these mounds of items strewn throughout our homes is that they create excessive visual stimuli. This can affect us on a subconscious level and make us feel stressed. “It also signals to our brains that our work is never done and creates guilt, anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed”.
Having a desire to declutter and knowing where to begin are two very different things. After all, choosing which decluttering method to use can be as overwhelming as the mess in your home. So how do you start? Determining which method will work for you is dependent on the answers to these four questions: how much time do you have to devote to the decluttering, what type of personality do you have, how much clutter do you actually own, and how much extra space do you have for processing the clutter? The first step in your journey to an organized home: choose which decluttering method works for you.
Perhaps the most well-known method of decluttering is the Konmari Method, created by Marie Kondo. This process entails choosing one category of belongings and collecting it into a pile. For example, all of your shoes are collected from their various hiding places throughout your home and piled in one spot. As you pick up each pair, you think about what these shoes mean to you. Do they still bring you joy?
If so, put them in a keep pile. If they don’t bring you joy, thank them for their service and put them in a discard or a donate pile. Although this method can be quite overwhelming, it can create a sense of awareness of just how much you own, and may make you think twice before purchasing anything new.
If you want to make decluttering fun, the Minimalist Game might be the method for you. The “game” begins at the beginning of a new month. On the first day, you get rid of 1 piece of clutter. It can be discarded or donated, but it leaves your home. On the second day of the month, you get rid of 2 pieces of clutter, and so on.
In a 31 day month, you will have either discarded or donated almost 500 pieces of clutter. The pros of the Minimalist Game are that it allows for baby steps while helping you to build confidence in your decision-making abilities. However, the game won’t work if you are away from home for a few consecutive days, and it can also be quite overwhelming by the end of the month.
Similar to the Konmari decluttering method is the Mountain Method. The idea of this option is to choose 1 room in your home, and collect everything within it into one pile or mountain. As you select items from the mound, you determine whether or not to keep, donate or discard them.
Once you have processed the clutter, the remaining items will be your keep pile and can simply be put away. As you can imagine, this method can be quite overwhelming. However, it does encourage you to tackle one room at a time and as a bonus, it provides an excellent opportunity to clean while you are decluttering.
The One Method
The One Method purports to rid your home of 1 thing per day. This can be one individual piece, one bag or one box of clutter; it is your choice. This is perfect for anyone who finds big projects overwhelming.
The idea too is that it will help to build a habit of decluttering and perhaps help you to incorporate it into your daily chores. Although there is no big-impact-moment, over time there will be significant changes in the amount of clutter in your home.
The 20 Minute Method of decluttering also benefits the type of person who prefers minor projects. The idea is to tackle clutter in small chunks of time. You choose a room or specific pile of disorder and then set a timer for 20 minutes.
Once the time is up, you can stop decluttering for the day. A con for this method is that conquering big projects is time consuming as they need to be broken down into smaller tasks. However, if you are consistent and declutter for 20 minutes every day, the mounds of clutter will soon dissipate.
One Box Method
For those that prefer the notion of donating their belongings, the One Box Method of decluttering is ideal. Simply place a box or basket at the front door of your home. Every day before leaving the house, make sure to drop one piece of clutter in the box. At the end of the week, grab the items and drop them off at a donation bin. Keep in mind that this type of clutter is not anything that should be discarded.
This method can be used to motivate family members as well. Challenge everyone to declutter their rooms and drop an item a day in the box before leaving for work or school. The family member with the most items in the box gets to choose a movie or favourite dinner. The decluttering will be slow, but if consistent an entire home can be organized with minimal disruption.
No decluttering method is ideal for everyone. In fact, your perfect method may be a combination of one or more of these options. Don’t want to make this decision yourself? Yet another alternative is to consult a Certified Ultimate Professional Organizer™. Not only can he or she implement proven methods to professionally organize your home, but if you prefer to declutter yourself, he or she can also assist you. The main goal is to start decluttering.
After all, “owning less stuff means having more time for the most important aspects of our lives, and even feeling more comfortable in our own home”.