So, we’ve decided last week that we are going to purge a few of our belongings to make space for what truly inspires us. That seems all well and good but how do we go about doing it? I got you started with a couple of action items last week.
To take it even further, let’s look at five ways to engage with our belongings with the intention of reducing the amount we have. No need to do all of them, unless you are so inspired. Pick one and see how it goes. You can try another one later to mix things up a bit.
1. Strategic Box Placement
Place one box in each room that you want to go through. Every time you go into that room, place one item, or more, in the box. Seeing the box will be a good visual reminder to keep at it. When the box is full (or at the end of the month), sort through the items for donating, selling, relocating and trash and take action. The items in each box should be dealt with promptly. Try your best to limit the number of “relocated” items – remember your goal. Less is more.
2. Reverse those hangers
I have done this one for many years. Turn all of the hangers in your closets in the opposite direction. If you wear an item, upon returning it to the closet place the hanger correctly. At the end of a quarter, everything that is still reversed can either be placed in a different season’s capsule wardrobe or take it one step further to sell, donate, or trash the item. If you haven’t worn it after three months you either don’t like it or it doesn’t fit. No need to keep it, right? The only occasion to keep an item is if it is in the wrong season. Store if for the appropriate season, and then do the same exercise. Still haven’t worn it? You know what to do.
3. The Three-Box Rampage
This is a surefire way to get a lot accomplished in a short amount of time. Turn it into a game and recruit family members to do it with you. Get three boxes for the room you are going to declutter (each family member can do their own room). Mark each with one of the following: sell, donate, trash. Set a timer for five minutes. In that time period you will scramble around the room you are in and quickly identify items to place in every box. At the end of the time your goal is to have at least four items in each box. Take immediate action on the items in each box. No second-guessing yourself.
4. One Week at a Time Purge
You can do this as a family challenge too. The aim here is to identify at least seven items to sell, donate or trash each week. If each person did one item a day, you would easily hit this target. Give prizes for the person who purges the most at the end of the week (Note: Prizes cannot be physical items that one would hold on to – defeats the whole purpose).
5. Limit Size of Toy Box
This one is for families with children (or grandkids). Sure, we know toys come along with children, but we don’t have to allow an overflow of items to collect. With the child (if old enough, otherwise it’s all on you) purchase a toy box (or better yet, make one out of recycled boxes) that you agree is a good size for the room it will be in (preferably their bedroom or playroom). The number of toys in the home cannot exceed the space in the toy box. If additional toys come into the home and there is no room in the box, the child must identify toys to donate, sell, or throw away.
Get creative with how you look at and deal with your belongings. We generally don’t need all of the items in our homes. Somehow, over the course of time, we accumulate things we sometimes completely forget that we own. I know that is true for me. Where I live now is the longest I have lived anywhere my entire life (just over 17 years) and I’m flabbergasted at how much stuff there is/was. My decluttering continues until we move in April.
Let me know how it goes for you. What is your favorite way to reduce your belongings? Which one of these suggestions are you going to try? For added inspiration, sign-up below to receive the 55+ Things You Can Toss Immediately.
55+ Things You Can Toss
A one-page PDF checklist to help you clear out your space.
Corrie Ann Gray is a writer, researcher, coach, and cookie enthusiast who lives in Los Angeles, CA. She started the Clean Body Project to share all of her knowledge and resources with others who are interested in running their own experiment into clean holistic living. She is the CEO and founder of Gray Ink Media.