Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist says, “owning less is far more beneficial than organizing more.”
We all know we need to declutter, so what's stopping us? Reasons like “I don’t even know where to start” or “I won't be able to scratch the surface and it will all go back to being messy again so why bother” are generally the way our minds filter the daunting task of decluttering. Tim and I won’t deny that it's daunting and we had no clue as to where to start, either!
The root of decluttering isn’t actually the act of decluttering alone - it is the development of a habit that paves the way into a decluttered life. If we know that habits take on average three weeks to actually become a habit, then we can’t expect to have the entire house completely decluttered in a weekend (as nice as that might be).
We are still decluttering. We never used a specific method to declutter as the minimalists who have gone before us recommended. We just got to a point where we were tired of spending the entire weekend cleaning, organizing, and putting loose items back in their “place.” Enough finally became enough so we started decluttering our clothes and when that worked, we began decluttering one closet at a time. And when that worked, we decluttered the knick knacks, sentimental items, bathroom, kitchen, etc. Decluttering became something we looked forward to until we got to a point about 3 months in when there wasn’t much left to declutter!
We don’t plan our weekends around whether or not we can clean everything up in time, but rather our cleaning up is planned around our activities.
Time is our most precious commodity and we were fed up with not being able to spend it how we wanted. So we decluttered! Decluttering habits take time to develop and with a little motivation and habit fostering, we’ve taken control of how we spend our time.
We Clean as We Go - Every evening we make sure Felicity helps clean up her toys. This ensures that the living room and kitchen are toy-free and we’re starting the next day without remnants from the day before. The same goes for any clothes left laying around.
We Throw it Away as it Comes in - junk mail and coupons rarely get a second glance as they’re tossed in the recycle bin. This ensures junk mail doesn’t get a spot on the kitchen table or shuffled up with important mail.
We Don’t Buy it Unless We Need It - This has been a tough habit to develop because we will always like to be consumers. Over time, we have become much more conscious of how we spend our money and we give any nonessential that costs over $30, 30 hours before we purchase it. Anything over $100 gets a week in the waiting room, etc. We can’t tell you all the things we’ve passed up on purchasing after we let the potential instant gratification pass.
We Intentionally Manage Our Time - We love to write and have developed a passion for adding value to our own lives and value to the lives of the people who ask us about minimalism. We’ve grown the habit of becoming much more intentional about when we write and have conversations about always working on beneficial habits.
We Haven’t Finished Decluttering - and that is because the things we didn’t declutter before might someday become things we will in the future. But the benefits of decluttering have gone farther than just having less stuff - our habits have caused us to find more value in the things we truly need.