5 Things I Learned About Decluttering by Applying This Drastic Strategy to My Entire Home
One of my favorite decluttering strategies that I’ve written about — and I’ve written about a few — is a process called “quieting” a space, which I learned about from Myquillyn Smith on The Nester. The concept involves taking every single item out of a room and then, slowly, replacing only what you really want, miss, or need.
The results contain absolutely nothing that doesn’t contribute to your happiness. With nothing to weigh you down, you and your room are quiet, just like the name of the practice promises.
In preparation for staging our house, my family and I recently found ourselves “quieting” every space. We emptied each room (and many smaller spaces like closets and cupboards) of everything extra, and then slowly and intentionally put things back.
We’re still living in the house, and I’ve had time to reflect on the profound effect this drastic decluttering method has had on our lives. Here are five things I’ve learned from the experience, and I hope to carry them with me into every home I live in.
Decluttering created space for us to be together.
Once we cleared out our surroundings, everyone gravitated toward the freshened up (read: emptier) spaces. Gathering was natural and more intimate because we lingered in the calm that was created. It’s as if the clutter we didn’t even realize was around us made us feel restless, which then made us move around the house and away from each other to try and get some peace. But once our spaces were quieted, we seemed to be at ease staying in the same spot together — and we did.
Decluttering helped us rediscover activities.
Without all of that extra stuff, we actually used the spaces the way we intended them to be used. We sat down to play or read, or just to hang out in the parts of our home that were designed with these activities in mind. For instance, once the ride-on toys and basket of library books were removed from the floor near the book wall in our playroom, we found ourselves actually reaching for the books on the shelves. In fact, these shelves might as well have been filled with brand new toys by the way my little ones “discovered” their things again.
Decluttering gave us more time.
Fewer things means more time. It really is that simple. Having fewer things means having to spend significantly less time putting them away or cleaning them. Less crowded spaces also mean we can maintain organizational systems more easily. And since everyone started to pick up after themselves regularly, we spent less time on longer cleaning sessions.
Decluttering gave us more energy.
Not only does picking up and cleaning take physical energy, but messy spaces passively drain our energy. Even the most benign stationary objects clamor for our attention, so subconsciously, our awareness is pulled in many directions. A room with empty space that’s filled with items we’ve specifically chosen can breathe — and we can breathe in them.
Decluttering didn’t take as long as I thought it would.
Because I was on a strict deadline (the home stager and photographer were coming in just a few days!), I couldn’t indulge in my usual procrastination when it came to decluttering. I just had to dive right in, and I found out that straightening up that closet or re-setting a room doesn’t take the commitment I imagined. Sometimes, a drastic change can happen in a few minutes! For instance, removing extra furniture can take less than an hour, and the serene effect afterward is nearly instant.
Overall, dipping our toes into a more minimalist lifestyle of a clean and calm home has made my family happier. The results of having more time and enjoying a less-stressed mom (hi, that’s me!), make me determined to commit to a decluttered life wherever we are.