15 HACKS TO DECLUTTER YOUR LIFE
To begin with, minimalism can seem very daunting. It can be hard to know where to even start getting rid of stuff, especially if you are a bit of a hoarder or shopaholic. This can leave you feeling overwhelmed at even the thought of decluttering.
To give you that little push and help you out on your way to minimalism, I've put together 15 hacks you can implement to ease you in. And before you know it, you'll have a clearer space and mind!
1. Take it step by step
The first thing is to remember to take it step by step. I have been there, with a huge wardrobe stuffed full of clothes, feeling very overwhelmed at how I would ever tackle the mess I had created for myself. I had to tell myself to simply look at where I was and ask myself how I could improve. I knew my wardrobe was my main problem, so one day I opened it up, took it all out and started to declutter.
My advice is therefore to remember to take it slowly and start with just one area of your home and life, whether that's your wardrobe, kitchen, laptop, garage, agenda, whatever, and start decluttering. Take it step by step and over time these steps will add up.
2. set goals
Understand the why behind your desire to declutter and minimise. Sit down with a pen and paper and write down all the reasons why you want to declutter your life. Ask yourself, what is your motivation? Do you want a tidier home? To save money? To find peace in your space and mind? After you have written these answers, set yourself tasks and give yourself a time frame to achieve what you want. Getting specific and setting yourself these goals works in all walks of life, and is a great motivator in achieving what you set out to do.
3. box it up
So this is a great trick for those of you that struggle letting go of your things. When you start decluttering, take everything out, sort it into yes, no and maybe piles. Then put everything in the maybe pile into a box. Put this box away in storage and set yourself a time frame, for example 3 months. Once that time is up, whatever you haven't reached for from the box needs to go. If you aren't using it or enjoying it, you don't need it. When I did this, I found I had reached for nothing in the box, and my maybe pile, was actually my no pile. Off to charity it goes!
4. charity box
This is another great way of boxing things up and getting rid. Get the biggest box you can find, go around your home and try and fill that box up over a set period of time. This could be a month, a week or a day. Whatever works. Once it is full, donate the items to charity. This is a great way to push yourself to be a bit more cut throat with items around your home that you have been resisting getting rid of. Bonus motivation will be that the donated items will hopefully be put to better use and the money will be going to a good cause.
5. the hanger trick
If you've been holding onto some items of clothing for a long time (I'm talking about you, jeans-that-you'll-fit into-one-day) give the hanger trick a go. All you need to do is turn all of the hangers in your wardrobe the opposite way around. When you wear an item of clothing, put it back the right way around. Again, set yourself a time period to do this in, and at the end of that time period, have a look at which hangers remain unturned. You'll immediately be able to see which clothes you aren't wearing.
6. reduce duplicates
It is easy to collect multiples of the same item. We all do it. So an easy way to declutter is to reduce on your multiples. Try going around your home and finding anything that you have duplicates of. Whether that's some far too many kitchen towels, five pairs of headphones, or ten different red lipsticks. Have a think about the purpose of that item and reduce it down to a more practical amount or just one per use.
7. stop shopping
This is something that I did as soon as found minimalism. I knew I had a shopping problem and realised that bringing new things into my home would only hinder any progress I had made decluttering. So I set myself a shopping ban and only bought the essentials. I didn't buy any new clothes because I had everything I needed. I had to stop browsing online, stop going to the mall, stop saving things to my pinterest want board, and instead I thought about what I was grateful to already own. I also wrote down the essentials I would be spending my money on (travel, food, replacements) so I could have some structure to my spending habits.
8. one in one out
Speaking of spending habits, another minimalism hack is the one in one out rule. Every time you buy a new item, something has to go. This is a great way to maintain your decluttering efforts and make sure you're continuing to be mindful of how much you own and if it is serving a purpose in your life. For example, this might be a direct replacement: if you buy a new jumper, get rid of one of your old ones. Or it might be that when you bring something new into your home, you go around the house to find something that ought to be decluttered.
9. clear surfaces
Having clear surfaces allows you to find places for your belongings and create more space in your home. You may find you have a lot of cooking equipment on your kitchen counters that you rarely use, so it might be a good idea to donate these items, or put them away in the cupboard for when you need them in order to free up work space. This can similarly be done on your office desk, your chest of drawers, dining table etc. Having these surfaces clear of excess stuff will immediately make your home feel cleaner, tidier and less cluttered.
10. find time
We have all wasted hours on end binge watching TV shows, scrolling on our phones, or doing something that we really don't want to be doing. So try and reclaim this time by setting aside that usually wasted time, to use for things of value. So whether that's focussing on a project, time in nature, learning a new language, going to the gym, whatever! Stop wasting your life away on things that don't matter to you, and instead, cherish that time doing things that bring you more joy and value.
11. 20/20 rule
Do you have things lying around "just in case"? Extra screws, batteries, a pair of very high heels for a fancy event? The 20/20 rule is a clever trick to for these "just in case" items. If you can replace it for under £20 (or $20) and source it within 20 miles (or km) of your home, then it might be a good indication that it's time for it to go.
12. morning routine
I set myself a goal in the New Year of creating a mindful morning routine to set up my day. I had found myself in a position where I was wasting my mornings feeling very very rushed, and as a result not very productive later on. I decided to write a few key things I wanted to be doing each morning to help get me back on track. I wrote that I would be waking up earlier, getting outside, exercising, stretching, writing a daily journal and incorporating meditation more regularly into my mornings. For you, it might be completely different. You may want time to sit down and enjoy your breakfast, or to read a book before heading out the door. Whatever it is, write it down, or have a think about it, and create that healthy and positive start to your day.
13. tidy before bed
Before I go to bed I try and make sure everything in my house is nice and tidy. I give the pillows a fluff, see if the recycling needs to be taken out, put my electronics and cables away and leave my space clean. That way, when I wake up in the morning I can start my day fresh in an organised and tidy environment. Obviously life gets in the way, and this doesn't always happen. But this quick and easy cleaning routine helps maintain a tidy home that is more manageable throughout the week.
There are many ways today that things can be digitised. For example, switching from paper banking to online banking, joining a streaming service like Netflix or Spotify, or saving your photos on a hard drive. This is a quick and easy way to remove a lot of clutter from your home.
15. experiences over material things
Finally, save for experiences rather than material objects. I, for the longest time, only used to save my money for material objects. Whether that was a coveted item of clothing or expensive gadgets I didn't need. Since embarking on minimalism I have instead tried to save my money and prioritise experiences or more practical things, over material objects I won't care about a year down the line. So if you're interested in saving money, set yourself a non-materialistic goal that will bring your more joy than any item would. This could be a memorable trip somewhere you've never been, to pay off your debt or to do something fun with your friends and family.
I hope these hacks and tips were helpful for you in your minimalism journey. And fingers crossed, once you've worked your way through the list, you'll be well on your way to a clutter free home (and brain). Let me know what your minimalism hacks are in the comments down below!