Let it go, let it go...
We've all heard the popular song from Disney's Frozen, but what does it really mean to "let it go"? In the context of decluttering, letting go can mean a lot of things. It can mean getting rid of physical items that are taking up space in your home. It can also mean letting go of negative thoughts and emotions that are weighing you down. And finally, it can mean giving yourself permission to let go of the perfectionism that is preventing you from making progress.
As a stager, I see people struggle with decluttering during one of the most stressful time in their lives: moving. In addition to all of the other logistics involved in moving, you also have to sort through everything you own and decide what to keep, what to sell, what to donate, and what to throw away. It can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be.
Here are some tips for decluttering your home before a move
Give yourself plenty of time to sort through your things and make decisions about what to keep, sell, donate, or throw away. Trying to do it all at the last minute will only add to your stress levels.
Even if you plan on putting things in storage, keeping things you don't need is just silly. I suggest doing this a few months before your relocation. This will make the transition to your next home simpler.
If you haven't used it in the past 5 years (I'm being generous here), chances are you won't use it in the future. So get rid of it. This is especially true for items that are taking up valuable space, such as bulky furniture or clothing that no longer fits.
When you have doubts about getting rid of something, ask yourself these questions:
- Does it still fit your body?
- Does it fit your current life?
- Do you need it?
If you answered no to any of the questions, it's time to get rid of it.
Another question to ask yourself is "Does it bring you joy?" It is a simple concept made popular by Marie Kondo in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Basically, if an item has negative associations or doesn't make you happy, get rid of it.
Don't make exceptions
Just because something has sentimental value doesn't mean you have to keep it. If it's taking up space and you don't love it, let it go.
I often hear people say things like, "I know I should get rid of this, but I just can't let it go." And I get it. It's not easy to let go of things, especially if they hold sentimental value. But the thing is, sentimentality is often what's holding us back from decluttering.
Ask a friend or family member to come over and help you sort through your things. It's always easier with two people. For instance, my husband went through old papers with me while I was doing laundry the other day. It was easier to get rid of old photos and cards than if I did it by myself.
Declutter by category
Decluttering can be overwhelming, especially when you don't know where to start. One way to tackle the task is to break it down into smaller manageable sections. Instead of trying to declutter your entire house at once, focus on one category at a time. For example, you could start with books. Go through your shelves and get rid of any books that you no longer need or want. Once you've decluttered your books, move on to another category, such as toys or coats.
Make a plan
Make a plan for what to do with the stuff you're getting rid of. Once you've decided what you're keeping and what you're getting rid of, make a plan for what to do with everything. Will you sell it, donate it, or just throw it away?
Once, I found out that one of the libraries near me had a collection of old books. Donating books was easy peasy!
Don't beat yourself up
If you find that you're having a hard time letting go of things, don't beat yourself up about it. Just take a deep breath and remind yourself that it's just stuff. It's not worth holding onto if it's causing you stress.
It's normal to feel overwhelmed when you're decluttering. But instead of getting bogged down by negative thoughts, try to focus on the positive. Remember why you're doing this in the first place: to make your relocation easier. Remind yourself that every little bit of progress is a step in the right direction.
Let go of perfectionism
When it comes to decluttering, progress is more important than perfection. So instead of stressing out about getting everything perfect, focus on making small improvements each day. Over time, those small changes will add up to big results.