10 Small Truths That Will Help You Declutter Your Home

published Nov 11, 2019
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Credit: I Spy DIY

Sometimes we all need a little direction and—maybe more critically—some brutal honesty to get things done. Even a tiny hit of the truth serum is enough to give you the focus and energy you need to tackle a tough task like, say, decluttering your entire home.

If you’ve been thinking that this is the day (…month…year…) that you’re going to get your home in order, here is a little tough love courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

The truth is…

You’ll never start liking things you never liked

It might feel wasteful to get rid of stuff just because you don’t like it, but there are probably many items you don’t like that you could get rid of. This perspective quells the argument that something is “perfectly good” and that therefore you should keep it. If you’re able to do without a certain item that you don’t like, getting rid of it for that very reason can be a very good thing. You may see that you don’t actually need it or you may be making room for a replacement you do enjoy.

Gifts you’ve received may have already served their purpose

Getting rid of something someone gave you is an act laden with so much guilt. Realizing that the act of giving the gift was fulfilling to the giver, allowing them to express their love and care toward you, might help you let go.

Credit: Minette Hand

Your home is not a storage unit

Hanging on to things because you might need them down the road is like maintaining a personal storage unit. You need to take it upon yourself to remember your inventory, so you can fish it out should the unlikely possibility arise that you do in fact need and want to use something that you’ve held on to for a decade. Rather than clog up your home with such items, remember that it might be worth it down the road to replace or borrow the thing then—and enjoy the daily reward of an uncluttered home.

You’re preventing your unused items from being useful

Clothes don’t have feelings, but if they did, they might tell you they hate being shoved in the back of the closet and never achieving their potential. Those clothing items, kitchen items, and languishing plant pots want to fulfill their purpose—and they have a chance at doing just that if you donate them so they can get into some eager hands.

Editing your things lets the good stuff shine

When your best possessions are scattered amongst mediocre, unloved, or never used things, they’re camouflaged. By editing out the fluff of extra items and things you don’t use or enjoy, you’re giving yourself the gift of owning only things that are useful or delightful.

Clutter is a time-stealer

Hanging onto things isn’t benign, even if you do have the room for it. Keeping something is a tacit agreement not only to store it, but to clean it (or at least clean around it), organize it, remember you have it, move it, etc. Make sure having something is worth your precious time.

Credit: Liz Calka

Having something for a long time doesn’t mean you have to keep it

Just because you still have that sweatshirt from college doesn’t mean you have to keep it. Hanging on to something for years is never a reason to continue to keep it, if that’s the only reason.

You aren’t going to sell it

If your closets are crammed with things you intend to sell, ask yourself two things: One, when are you going to actually do it? And two, how much is your time, sanity, and breathing space worth? Probably more than the few dollars you’d get by selling (if you ever get around to it). Consider donating instead.

You don’t need to hold on to things to hold on to memories

Sometimes treasured keepsakes bring us right back to a special moment in time and souvenirs become a beloved part of our home decor. But you can remember the moment without having to hang on to a physical space-waster. Take a photo of your childhood stuffed toy and have it framed for the bedroom. Or commission an illustration of grandma’s chipped China set.

You always gain something when you let something go

Getting rid of things makes space, and this space isn’t always going to be filled with a newer or better thing. Sometimes what you gain is the peace and calm of mind that comes with a quieter, uncluttered environment or the freedom of weekends not claimed by organizing the garage (again). As you’re decluttering and facing the tough task of saying no to some of your things, try to reframe and focus on what you’re implicitly saying yes to.