July18 Declutteringtips Unsplash 1

Photo courtesy of Jazmin Quaynor/​Unsplash

Let me start off by saying this, I love my stuff. My boyfriend once suggested living in a van for a year to travel the country and I quickly declined not because I don’t like to travel, but because I couldn’t fathom being away from all of my stuff. There are many things I’ve collected over the years that I’m really proud of and love, such as my cherry red Fender Telecaster or a vintage Moschino belt I thrifted for only $40. On the other hand, there are countless things I have accumulated that have turned into clutter and stressed me out. I didn’t realize the stress that clutter had caused me until I moved into a smaller apartment and was forced to lighten my load. Here’s some tips I learned along the way:

Divide and Conquer

The idea of decluttering an entire living space can be overwhelming (in my case, it was my large apartment, my car and backyard). Try with one space or one category of items at a time, for example, a living room or all of your books. Instead of decluttering an entire space in one day, give yourself a whole weekend or even a month if you need to. Make a strict schedule. 

Be Honest

This, I think, is the hardest part. There are things that are easy to get rid of, others, not so much. Take a moment and be honest with yourself. Do you absolutely love it? And more importantly, do you use it? Do you intend to use it? If so, when exactly? Put it on your calendar. For instance, do you have a book you’ve always wanted to read? Give yourself a month to read it and if you don’t, donate it. While it may not feel good in the moment, it will. Getting rid of stuff you truly don’t need is rewarding. 

Give Precious Items to Friends and Family

If you can’t bear to give it away, but know you can’t keep it, find a trusted friend of family member to give it to. I had an incredibly fuzzy sweater that I loved and was a staple of my wardrobe for several years, but had stopped wearing. My friend Hannah saw the sweater in my apartment and commented on how much she liked it. I gave it to her on the spot. She now wears it often. Giving it to a friend made letting go much easier. 

Follow Through

When decluttering, there’s typically things you’re going to want to give to charity, sell, or gift to friends and family. Make sure you do it. Want to give your old dresser to your mom? Set up a time to meet with her and do it. I had a pile of clothes I wanted to sell, but never got around to selling them, so I donated everything. Yes, I could have had a little extra of money from a sale, but I wasn’t going to follow through with that, so it was more valuable to me to just donate it. 


Articles from The Natural should not be considered medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please consult a medical professional.