How I Decluttered Without Getting Overwhelmed
When you have anxiety you worry, that's basically what the word means. The last thing a person with anxiety needs is something else to worry or get overwhelmed about. What am I going to wear? What color should I pick? Which shoes look best? Where should I put this or that? These are all questions I can do without considering each day. Because of this several years ago I adopted a minimalist lifestyle and I love it.
Don't get me wrong, I still own things, just not a lot. People have different opinions of what it is to be a minimalist, but the way I define it for myself is I am living with the minimal amount of stuff I need to live my life fully. Read this article to get a more in depth explanation of what minimalism is.
When I first decided to embrace a more minimalist and intentional lifestyle I thought there would be some set in stone rules to follow. What I've found with more and more research is there is not. Everyone's definition of minimalism is different and everyone practices minimalism in a different way. This was really good news for me because I am not quite ready to give up my 65-piece Starbucks "You are Here" mug collection!
However, I was ready to give up clothes I didn't wear or things that didn't look good on me. Dishes that were cluttering up my kitchen cabinets. Shoes that no longer "sparked joy" and toiletries that were collecting dust in my bathroom. These are just some of the things I have simplified and by doing so have made me feel "light".
Since decluttering and adopting a minimalist lifestyle I am less stressed, I can make decisions more clearly and I feel at ease in my home and work environments (for the most part). As soon as the clutter creeps up whether physical or mental, so does the anxiety. I have found that keeping the items I own to a minimum really helps. The fewer decisions I have to make the better. For some reason decision making can bring on anxiety for me, so keeping options to a minimum is key for me.
Now I try to only buy and keep things that make me happy. As far as clothing, I buy things that make me feel good when wearing them. I am not big on trends at all. I usually purchase timeless, high quality pieces that I can wear over and over for a long time. I also try to keep my house simplistic and in a way that everything has a place. This makes it easy for me to clean up and keep my house neat. I do own more coffee mugs than one person should ever be allowed, but they make me happy, really happy.
If you are finding yourself in an anxious way and you can't figure out why, take a look at your surroundings. Do you have more stuff than you need? Is all of your stuff stressing you out more than making you happy? If so, consider decluttering and getting rid of some stuff.
Here are some tips on How to declutter without getting overwhelmed to help you get started:
1. START SMALL.
When you begin to declutter and downsize, start small. Don't throw away or donate everything all at once unless you have thought it through and are ready to do that. Here is the method I used when I was getting rid of things. It makes the process a little easier it to sort items before you discard them.
Gather all of the items you are considering getting rid of or keeping and place them in 3 piles.
One pile will be things that you know will get rid of, one pile things you will keep and a pile of things you are not sure about.
Bag up the items you are sure about getting rid of and put them to the side.
Take another look at the items that you say you will keep, channel your inner KonMari and ask yourself "does this spark joy?" If the answer is no, add it to the get rid of pile. If it does, put it away neatly to keep in a place that you can easily spot it for regular use.
Hold on to the items you are not sure about for 1 month. If you have not reached for them in that time period go ahead and get rid of them as well. If you have used it, consider keeping it.
2. ONLY KEEP THINGS YOU LOVE.
I am one who tends to wear the same pieces of clothing all the time. I find things that I like and fit well and I tend to return to those items all of the time. Creating a capsule wardrobe was my solution to this problem. I bagged up all of the items I never wear and I gave them to goodwill. I only kept the items that I always wear and really loved.
This method can be applied to many areas of your home. I also did this with dishes, make-up, paperwork, kids art, books and more. Now when I am in search for something in my home, I only have a few things to choose from and they are all items I love.
3. ACCEPT THAT DECLUTTERING IS AN ONGOING PROCESS
Once you decide to simplify your lifestyle it does not stop at the first declutter. It is an ongoing process. You will continually need to go through things and get rid of things that don't "spark joy" and are adding stress. You will also need to ask yourself whether you really need things when you are considering a new purchase.
I have been on this simple living journey for over 3 years now and I still find myself accumulating things and having to purge all over again from time to time. That is OK! I just remember my purpose for beginning this lifestyle and I keep moving forward.
I have found minimalism and living intentionally to be the most freeing things I have done for myself in my life. It feels really good not to put some much focus on materialistic things and focus instead on things that truly matter in this life.