How To Simplify Your Life In Three Easy Steps
There are plenty of books you could buy to help you declutter your home. There are also plenty of people who would love to charge you the big bucks to come to your home and tell you how to declutter your home.
There's also me, and my three easy steps to culling your lifetime's material acquisitions. I have managed to clean out my basement (which is HUGE), my attic, my shed, three closets, several dressers and two bedrooms using this method, and all by myself. Have I mentioned I am but a little old lady? If I can do it, you can do it.
The First Step
Throw Away One Thing, or place it in a box for donations, every single day. Continue this practice forever.
This thing can be as small as a pencil with a worn eraser. Fairly often, when you go to choose that item from a drawer, you end up cleaning out the whole drawer.
The Second Step
Once you've thrown away or donated a few boatloads of small things, Start Selling Stuff.
I spent my life in the restaurant business. People regularly tell me to open another food store, or a B&B, or a coffee shop, and my response used to always be the same: "My selling days are over."
I turned out to be wrong.
I set up a Stuff Store in my garage, a kind of glorified garage sale. I advertised larger items on neighborhood marketplaces. When folks came to get their one item, they found themselves in a cute little store. I'd say "Welcome to my store. Everything on that shelf is one dollar or less. Everything on this shelf is five dollars or less. If you are interested in any of the other items in this garage, let's talk." I sold clothes! I sold jewelry! I sold chocolate molds! I sold paintings! I sold ceramics, tables, shelving units! I sold lamps! I sold garage springs!
And the best part - it was super fun. I loved setting it up, rearranging it whenever something sold, telling stories of the items to my buyers. I loved guessing what my buyer might also be interested in, and placing those items near the one they were coming for. My store functioned as a social life during covid. When my stock got low, I came into my house, looked around, and exclaimed "I can sell that!" People left with big old smiles on their faces, and I had one on too.
The Third Step
Once you've gotten rid of many boatloads of stuff, Do One Unnecessary Thing A Day.
This can be to put that CD that has been on your bedside table with the rest of the CDs. It can be to finally darn the sweater, or break down the boxes, or put a collar on a cat. Like throwing stuff away, it can be very small, but it must be one thing. Chances are good you will often not stop with that one thing. An hour later you will have sorted through all your sheet music, and texted your sister to see if she wants the classical violin duets you two used to play together.
I could go into specifics, such as how to throw away photographs (notice you had forgotten that moment and realize you don't need to remember it), or what to do with children's art (use it as packing material - you get to both keep it AND throw it away!), or decide what to keep (only what you are actually using, not what you might use someday), but I'll leave all that for another post. Maybe. Maybe you've got the idea and will figure those things out for yourselves.
I hope this inspires some of you to reduce, recycle, donate and otherwise improve on your own quality of life. There would be much less to dust (not that I do that very often), fewer places to lose your keys or phone (OK that might still happen), and a huge mental load gone for good.