I Started “Micro-Decluttering,” and Now I’ll Never Stop

published Oct 13, 2023
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I genuinely believe some people have time to give their home the full Marie Kondo treatment. My mom is one of them — because she’s retired. I, on the other hand, am only tired. I have three part-time jobs, two kids, and a dog, which means that should I decide to empty my entire closet onto my bed, I will not be touching each item and giving thanks for its service. No, I will be sleeping on the couch for months, which will not spark joy. But here’s what I can do: micro-decluttering. 

What Is Micro-Decluttering?

To me, micro-decluttering is when I simply photograph what I don’t need anymore, instead of dealing with it immediately. It’s a small yet meaningful step to decluttering. Once a week, I post the photos to my Buy Nothing group, making sure to note that the items are “available for porch pickup on Saturday only.” Then, every Saturday, I set the items outside, and by the evening they’re gone. 

All the Joy, None of the Time

I still get the satisfaction of decluttering without having to dedicate hours of my weekend to the task. It’s a realistic way to clear my home a little at a time — a marathon, not a sprint. 

It also provides a much-needed mood boost at the end of a busy week. My extra rolling pin and silverware divider furnished the first apartment of one of my neighbor’s daughters. My child’s old costume collection is off to support the pretend play of another neighborhood kid. My retired French press seriously upped someone’s coffee game. That makes me incredibly happy. 

What If No One Wants My Stuff?

If no one wants my fall wreath, as a purely hypothetical example, I just don’t put it on my porch on Saturday. I don’t have a designated “to donate” box, so essentially, nothing happened. I took a photo of it, where it already existed in my home. No task needs to be undone, and maybe I’ll post it again in a few weeks. 

Stress-Free Decluttering

Some weeks I move one item out of my home, others I move a dozen, but the experience is never messy or stressful. This system requires no motivation (it’s easy to take a picture), and it creates so much momentum. The dopamine rush of giving away a free gift always makes me eager to find another “joyless” item to post.