Understanding Clutter: A Clear PerspectiveJan 04, 2024
When discussing clutter with my clients, I often begin by asking them to define it. Understanding what clutter is can be the first step in addressing it effectively. To help in this process, I propose three pivotal questions to determine if an item in your home is clutter:
- Do you love it?
- Do you use it?
- Would you buy it again today?
These questions are essential in identifying clutter. If you answer a resounding yes to any of these, then likely, the item isn't clutter. However, if that beloved item is tucked away in a box in your garage, it's worth reevaluating that love. On the flip side, if your response is lukewarm to any of these questions, it might be time to consider parting with that item.
Building the courage to let go of things we 'might' need someday can be challenging. If you can't bring yourself to part with an item the first time you confront these questions, don't worry. The journey to decluttering is gradual. As your home starts to transform, you'll find yourself more and more eager to embrace the decluttering process. Ultimately, you'll find your unique balance - a comfortable middle ground that lies somewhere between minimalism and hoarding.
Let's start with a simple area: your bathroom. There are items here that you can confidently discard without any guilt:
- Expired Medications: Check the expiry dates on all medications, including over-the-counter ones, and safely dispose of any that are past their use-by date.
- Old Makeup: Makeup has a limited shelf life. Mascara, for example, should be replaced every 3-6 months. Discard any makeup that’s old, causes irritation, or is rarely used.
- Nearly Empty Bottles: Those last few drops of shampoo, conditioner, or body wash that have been sitting there for ages? It’s time to let them go.
- Unused Samples: Those free samples from hotels or stores that you never use can accumulate quickly. Pass them on to a women’s shelter or dispose of them if they’re not something you’ll realistically use.
- Worn-Out Towels and Washcloths: If they’re frayed or no longer absorbent, it’s time to replace them. Old towels can be repurposed as cleaning rags.
- Old Toothbrushes: Dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months. If you have old ones lying around, repurpose them for cleaning or dispose of them.
- Empty or Near-Empty Toiletries: Products like lotions, creams, or hair products that are nearly empty or haven’t been used in a long time.
- Duplicate Items: Multiple hairbrushes, combs, or similar items that serve the same purpose can be reduced to just what you use regularly.
- Unused Hair Accessories: Scrunchies, hair clips, or bands that you never use can be donated or thrown away if they’re damaged.
- Old Razors and Blades: Safety first! Dispose of any old, dull, or rusted razors and blades that are no longer effective or safe to use.
As you begin to release these items, you'll notice that the things you once held onto 'just in case' will leave your space without a second thought from you. You can do this, and I promise, finding that decluttering sweet spot will bring a newfound sense of liberation and joy to your home.