You might not realize it right upfront, but you probably own a lot of stuff. Not necessarily stuff you need, either, like appliances, but junk you just keep moving from one spot to another, clothes you never wear and magazines from four years ago.
There’s a way to get rid of all the stuff you don’t need, including the stuff you think you need but are actually much better off living without. Get rid of all the extra baggage in your life and completely declutter your room with these 5 tips.
1. For one month, pick one item per day to give away
At first, just the thought of getting rid of things you have been keeping in your room practically forever seems overwhelming. It isn’t easy to get rid of things, especially when we’re so used to having them around. You don’t realize, until you start emptying out your space, how refreshing it feels.
If you want to declutter your room, you can make things much easier on yourself by starting small. When you’re first embarking on the journey, take it one day at a time, literally. For one month, locate one item in your room that you can either toss out or give away.
Find a charity in your community where your unwanted items can find a new home. You might not want it, but someone out there might actually really need it.
2. Take everything out, but don’t put everything back in
Sometimes the most effective way to clear out a space is to literally clear out a space. If you try to declutter with everything in its rightful place, you’ll have a much harder time convincing yourself you don’t need to keep it.
Take every single item out of your room, not including furniture. Pile it all into another room and take a moment to marvel at how much stuff you actually have (it’s much more noticeable when it’s out of its original habitat).
Once everything is out of your room, start going through items one by one. If you know where you want to put it and you absolutely need to keep it, carry it back into your room and put it in its place. If you hesitate, aren’t sure where something should go or even completely forgot you owned it at all, don’t even bring it back into your room. Leave it right where it is.
When you finish, you should be left with a clean and organized looking room (an added bonus) and hopefully a good-sized pile of things you can either throw away or donate somewhere. No more clutter.
3. Take the 12-12-12 Challenge
All this minimalist living stuff sounds great, but it’s easy to talk about making changes in your life without ever actually taking action. Numbers, being measurable and therefore attractive when it comes to setting goals, are a great way to get you motivated to start decluttering your room.
That’s the appeal behind the 12-12-12 Challenge, which is a simple and effective way to get you started. All you have to do is select 12 items you can throw away, 12 items you can donate and 12 items you can return to their original places.
So on this “spree” you might end up throwing out some old schoolwork or a stack of magazines you don’t need anymore, singling out a stack of books you can donate to a local bookstore or library and finally returning all those things you borrowed and always meant to give back, but never did.
4. Create an “I will need this later” box
There’s a difference between saying “I might need this someday” and “I’ll definitely need this at some point.” There are some things you can easily get rid of without ever missing them, and then there are things you only use a few times a year but end up leaving them in your closet all year long.
Get a storage bin or make a designated storage space in your home or apartment where you can keep items you don’t need regular access to, like those dishes you only bring out for special occasions or your Christmas decorations. The point is to get them out of your room without having to get rid of them completely.
5. Limit what you wear
Why, over time, do we accumulate so much clothing? Some of it comes from gifts we receive, and a lot more of it comes from shopping at superstores, where you can easily walk by a dozen cute outfits on mannequins on your way to the grocery section. Over time, it just piles up without our noticing. It’s either the easiest or most challenging thing to get rid of, depending on how style savvy you are.
Clothes take up a lot of space, and you probably don’t wear half your closet and don’t even realize it. Movements such as Project 333 challenge individuals to wear fewer articles of clothing over an extended period of time, as proof that you can get by with wearing less.
Go through your closet one article of clothing at a time and be honest with yourself. If you haven’t worn it in a year, you’re probably not going to wear it ever again. If it has sentimental value, put it in a drawer or a box. Otherwise, you don’t need to keep taking up space in your closet. You could potentially wear different combinations of the same articles of clothing over an entire month and that’s all you need.
You don’t need as much stuff to live a happy life as you think you do. Over time, we just accumulate things, and it doesn’t hurt, every once in awhile, to go through those things and either throw them away or give them to someone else who will get more use out of them than we ever will.
Try these five decluttering tips and see if they work for you. Owning less, it turns out, is worth so much more than you think.