5 Essential Decluttering Tips

Contributed by Sarah Schneider

The Tig Archives 01 / 12 / 2016

Tis the season to get your act together. You know, that whole “New Year, New You” thing that everyone talks about? Well, in my humble opinion, much of the art of decluttering your mind stems from decluttering your space – your sanctuary à la casa. Fay Wolf has long been on my radar as an actress (hey hey Bones and Two Broke Girls), plus songwriter extraordinaire, but it’s her recently published New Order: A Decluttering Handbook for Creative Folks (And Everyone Else) that got me like, “woah.” Maybe you’ve read The Japanese Art of Tidying, and that still didn’t help you to purge those concert tickets from ’99 or the four pairs of sherbert colored jeans that you really-seriously-had to have; whatever the case may be, it’s time to shake things up and streamline your living space. Come on, it’s your temple. Treat it as such, and you’ll be blown away to see just how much comes out in the rubble.

From Fay

  1. Imperfection is your friend.
  2. “Neat and perfect all the time” can step aside. Take it from me as a recovering perfectionist and someone who teaches organizational skills for a living: no good can come from the need to get it “right,” at least not all the time. Perfectionism can make us feel like we need to declutter the entire house in an afternoon and have it look like a magazine spread at the end of it. Except that real life doesn’t look like that. Perfectionism is the opposite of being gentle on ourselves. Perfectionism can stop us from starting at all. Just say no to it.

  3. Small is cool.
  4. Sure, there are large decluttering projects that may take you hours or days — and should. A spare bedroom with years worth of boxes, a big move, a kitchen overhaul. Huge projects are necessary and fruitful. But don’t forget about all the little projects you can do, too…Taking 10 minutes to declutter a junk drawer. Taking 20 minutes to learn a cool new productivity app. Those are very valuable steps on the decluttering journey as well. Let those “smaller” accomplishments be wins, too.

  5. It’s all connected.
  6. If you’re stalling on projects you want to get done — whether that be decluttering your closet or writing the novel you’ve always wanted to write — remember that there are tools beyond willpower that can help move you along. For instance, a well-working to-do list is gonna get you miles and miles closer to taking action on your many projects; and scheduling those projects in a trusted calendar is going to take you even further. Sounds simple enough, but until we appreciate just how much productivity skills can affect both our small hopes and our big dreams, that stalling can end up lasting forever.

  7. Unsubscribing is a great place to start.
  8. Digital clutter is a big deal. Emails, social media posts, hearts and dings now rule our lives. If you’d like some immediate relief from the daily clutter, use Unroll.Me to swiftly get off nearly all those email lists you’re on. And then go to the settings in your social media apps and on your phones to turn off all the notifications that aren’t super important. Otherwise, each moment our eyes glance at an email we’ll never read or at a pop-up we’ll never need, we’ve lost a moment of empty space…of possibility.

  9. We all have the same stuff.
  10. As I gab about in New Order, I’m regularly asked: what’s the weirdest stuff you’ve found in people’s homes? And I never really have an exciting answer. Why? Because we all have the same stuff. Whatever crazy thing you think this person or that person has? They don’t. Whatever you have that you think is wacky? It probably isn’t. Whether I’m in a 400-sq. ft studio or a 6-bedroom home, the items are generally the same. And if those items are weird, well, then we’re all weird. This can be powerful to remember when digging through belongings, because there’s often a lot of shame and embarrassment that can bubble up. But our stuff is the same. Because we’re the same. Feel the camaraderie, and then declutter like the wind.

Images via: Rebecca Sanabria, Instagram, SquareSpace

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