Friday, March 29, 2019

Declutter Your Fantasy Self

You are not what you own.

Photo by Kirk Thornton on Unsplash

"Imagination will take you everywhere," said Albert Einstein, and he was right.  As humans, we're limited in what we know and understand, but imagination transcends all of that.

Unfortunately, we tend to bolster our fantasies by buying the props that go with them.  Francine Jay, author of The Joy of Less and Lightly, calls this "aspirational stuff."  These are the things we buy to project a certain image, to impress others, or to help ourselves believe we're a certain type of person.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Spring Cleaning

The days are longer, the birds are busy, the first buds and leaves have appeared.  Everything is energized and ready to begin, and you notice how heavy, tired, and even grubby your home is.

Courtesy of Jon Trefzger

Now, you can do deep cleaning and reorganization like your mother and grandmother did, or you can use this opportunity to do several other great things by decluttering.

Friday, March 22, 2019

7 Questions to Ask When Decluttering

Decluttering is a process, one step on the path toward a simpler, more intentional life.

Courtesy of

Less stuff means less maintenance, less cleaning, and less stress.  Removing excess brings you more space, more time, and more energy.

Brooke McAlary, author of Slow: Simple Living For a Frantic World, calls clutter "deferred decisions" and "the physical manifestation of procrastination."  But the process of decluttering builds your decision-making ability as you choose what to hold on to and what to remove.  Over time you gain more clarity and confidence about what is important to you.

Monday, March 18, 2019

6 Ways to Start Decluttering

Don't panic!  There is no one "right way" to declutter.  Try one of these six entry points:

Friday, March 15, 2019

Declutter Fearlessly

When someone lives with large amounts of clutter it is often the result of fear.

My mother's clutter was organized.  It was neatly packed away in storage containers, all clearly labeled and precisely arranged in every drawer, cupboard, closet, garage rafter area, and shed.  She could always find what she was looking for, even if piles and bins had to be shifted in order to get to it.

Monday, March 11, 2019

9 Ways to Stop Buying So Much

Want to reduce clutter and gain financial freedom?  Stop buying so much.

Copyright CORBIS

Spend less than you earn.

That's it.  The most important financial advice you'll ever receive.

If you cut back on spending, you'll be able to pay off debt, build an emergency fund, start saving for college or retirement, give more generously.  Spending less could reduce your stress levels and improve your sleep.  It might even improve your marriage.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Don't Kondo Your Home

Earlier this week, I wrote that Marie Kondo had a brilliant insight when she realized that if we declutter by category, rather than by location, we're able to grasp the overall volume of our belongings.  I wrote that, generally speaking, we'd be astounded by how much we own, a realization that would make it far easier for us to declutter what is no longer useful or appropriate.  I agreed with her that recognizing what truly adds value to our lives is an essential perception.

But I think that Kondo's method has a flaw.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has sold millions of copies, yet it seems many people are just as engulfed by clutter as ever.  People are still buying tons of stuff they don't need, and lots of "storage solutions" to try and organize all of it.  People talk about decluttering, but how many are getting decluttered and staying that way?

Maybe the problem is the question she suggests you ask of each possession.

Asking "Does it spark joy?" may not help you solve your clutter problem.

Monday, March 4, 2019

One Way to Tidy Up

Storage experts are hoarders.

Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is intended to help people do more than clean and organize.  Declaring that "storage experts are hoarders," she advocates a one-time process of mindful decluttering.  Her clients end up surrounded entirely by things that enhance their lives, unburdened by stuff that is unwanted or unused.  Even her book, she says, should be passed along when it's no longer needed.

Instead of decluttering room by room, Kondo tackles belongings by category, beginning with what she believes is easiest to part with.  Clothes, then books, documents, miscellany (including kitchen items, linens, and d├ęcor), and last and most difficult, photos and mementos.  The process of making a decision about each item gets easier with all this practice.

Your mindset during this process is important.  Kondo explains:

Focusing solely on throwing things away can only bring unhappiness.  Why?  Because we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of....  After all what is the point in tidying?  If it's not so that our space and the things in it can bring us happiness, then I think there is no point at all....  Keep only those things that speak to your heart.  Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.
Tidying must start with discarding. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Truth About Clutter

Clutter isn't cute.

Clutter is something we laugh about, like our coffee or sugar addictions, our over-use of social media, or our binge-watching habits.  But none of those are actually funny, and for many of us clutter is much more serious than a couple of piles on the kitchen counter.

Clutter lies to you.  Clutter tells you "It's not that big a deal" and "You'll get to it later."  But the piles grow.  And so many people just accept defeat in their homes and in how they live and enjoy life.

We make excuses like "I'm just so busy" or "I'm just not organized."  But excuses aren't solutions.  Trying to make it cute, saying "I'm such a clutterbug," just lets you live with defeat.