Re-Decluttering: One Simple Maintenance Tool for Continued Peace and Clarity
It's normal for stuff to flow into our homes.
For example, today I came home with a large bag of new clothes – some for my husband and some for me. I got a package from Amazon containing a couple of new books. There was a lot of mail in the box. I need to go grocery shopping, and Jon wants to buy supplies for a painting project at his parents' house.
This inflow is normal, so if we want to maintain our comfortably uncluttered state, we're going to have to re-declutter.
Our rooms shape our thoughts... our moods. By improving the state of our surroundings, we can improve our state of mind.... It's clear that for most people, outer order does indeed contribute to inner calm.
As you declutter one corner, one closet, or one room at a time, and keep it that way, you'll notice that the clutter-free areas of your home make you happy. Here are some of the factors contributing to that good feeling.
- You save time, energy, and patience because things are easy to find, use, and clean.
- Your family nags and argues less because your spaces are usable and accessible.
- You can truly relax at home because you're not constantly surrounded by a guilt-inducing mess. You find yourself less anxious in general.
- You feel more capable and self-assured, in control of your environment.
- You're not weighed down by stuff from your past, so you feel free to explore new options and experiences.
- You have more time and space to be creative, and you're more able to focus on tasks or hobbies.
- You have more enjoyment from the things you own because they're all either useful or beautiful.
- You own only what you need and love, so your home, office, wardrobe, and everything else reflect your true identity.
Wow! The progress is gradual, but unmistakable. The positive vibes you've created are infectious, energizing, and will help keep your new-found minimalism sustainable, so you never return to where you started.
That said, those newly-cleared spaces aren't in a museum. They're meant to be lived in. Items such as mail, groceries, dirty clothes, and school papers (to name a few) will enter every day. Once decluttered, you must still maintain those spaces.
But re-decluttering (to use a term coined by Dana K. White, author of Decluttering at the Speed of Life)* is so much easier than decluttering. Keeping things clear is much faster and easier than getting them clear in the first place.
* This blog is reader-supported. If you purchase through my links, I may earn a small commission.
Re-decluttering acknowledges the realities of life. We change, we try new things, we lose interest in old things. Our kids grow and learn. Life isn't static, so decluttering isn't a once-and-done activity.
The good news is that you've already made the hard decisions, so now it's mostly a matter of putting things away.
Staying uncluttered becomes easier as you practice it. Each time you re-declutter, you gain experience and even foresight. Now you can see junk mail or an impulse purchase for the future clutter it is, and refuse to bring it into your home.
Staying uncluttered brings clarity. Each time you re-declutter, your "just in case" tendencies will be easier to see and overcome. Keep or toss decisions that might have been perplexing or time-consuming the first time you made them will become more straightforward.
So don't despair when a bit of clutter creeps back into your home. All that tells you is that you're still living! Set aside 15 minutes every week to re-declutter, and you'll feel those good vibes every day.
Related article: Is Your Purchase an Asset or a Drain?
Updated January 2023