HOW TO GET RID OF STUFF WITH LESS STRESS AND MORE EASE
Decluttering your home and life is a wonderful way of creating more space, time and freedom in your everyday life. However, becoming clutter-free isn’t always as easy and simple as it sounds. If you struggle to declutter, here are some tips on how to get rid of stuff with less stress and more ease.
THE BENEFITS OF GETTING RID OF STUFF
When I decluttered my home and simplified my life I found more space, time and freedom for enjoying my home and living my life. Getting to that point wasn’t always easy and it certainly required a little effort and perseverance but it was absolutely worth it.
Instead of dealing with piles of laundry, paperwork, toys and the general stuff of daily modern life, I was able to streamline my home, manage my housework, juggle work and family and still find time for self-care, hobbies, having fun and enjoying my days.
Here are just a few of the benefits:
- There was less stuff to manage, clear and clean. My home was easier to look after.
- I simplified my meal-planning, my To Do list and my habits and routines. Time was easier to find.
- We stopped chasing the bigger house and better car. We began finding joy in the ordinary, every day.
Decluttering my home and more than that, choosing to own less stuff and shop less, led to more fulfilment, enjoyment and reward in ways that I hadn’t expected.
And getting rid of stuff is the first step!
HOW TO GET RID OF STUFF
If you’re curious about simplifying your home, decluttering your stuff and perhaps exploring a more minimalist lifestyle for yourself, here are some tips on how to get rid of stuff with more ease and less stress.
1. Start small
Starting to get rid of stuff can be difficult. Practice making decluttering decisions and build decluttering confidence with tiny decluttering projects like removing one app from your phone or one book from your bookshelf.
2. Keep a ‘just in case’ box
I’m not an advocate of keeping things just in case but sometimes we can’t make a decision on whether to get rid of something or not so instead we get stuck and stop. Don’t break the decluttering momentum. If you’re really not sure on whether to keep something because you might need it in the future, pop it in a ‘just in case’ box. When the box is full, you’ll have to work out what’s most important to keep in your ‘just in case’ box and ditch something else to make room. It’s not a catch-all for everything! Try this article on ‘just in case’ clutter and what to do with it for some more ideas.
3. Declutter one item each day
Successful decluttering can be done quickly or it can be done slowly and steadily. Both approaches have their merits but there’s definitely much benefit in doing a little bit often. Consistency will help build a decluttering habit and you’ll find it gets easier with practice. Doing a little bit every day will also help counteract the daily influx of clutter we all struggle against! If decluttering your entire home seems too unrealistic or daunting, commit to decluttering just one item each day for the next year. Read this article on 365 ways to declutter your home in 365 days for some ideas.
4. Ask some decluttering questions
Looking at a whole pile of clutter can be overwhelming. Instead, pick up one item at a time and ask yourself some questions to help determine whether to keep or get rid of it. When did you last use the item? Is it a duplicate and do you have another? Do you have something similar you could use instead? If you didn’t have it now, would you buy it again? Do you love to look at it? These are just a few questions to help you objectively assess the item. Read these decluttering questions for more ideas.
5. Make it as easy to declutter as it is to keep
If you make it difficult to get rid of stuff you’re much more likely to keep it. Have a box handy which you can throw stuff in to declutter or donate. Keep a box in your wardrobe where you can throw clothes that feel uncomfortable or don’t fit anymore. Have a box near your front door where you can pop things in to take to the donation centre each week. Here are some more tips on 11 things to do before decluttering to make getting rid of stuff less hassle.
6. Get your family on board
If you live with your family it’s certainly easier if they’re on board with decluttering. However, it’s perfectly possible to get rid of stuff if you’re doing it alone without their help. Don’t get hung up on decluttering their stuff, it will just cause frustration and resentment if they’re not ready. Deal with your stuff, offer encouragement but don’t nag. Lead by example and show them the benefits of your clutter-free spaces where it’s easier to find what you’re looking for, less hassle to keep things tidy and that frees up your time and energy for other things. Give them time to realise how getting rid of stuff could benefit them too.
7. Do a first sweep
Decluttering your entire home might feel tough, especially if you haven’t decluttered for a while and you have lots of stuff. Getting started is the hardest part. It takes courage and confidence to get rid of our stuff and years of accumulating won’t be cleared overnight. So, a big first step in how to get rid of stuff is to summon up the strength to just make a start. Get in a decluttering mindset and focus your mind on clearing clutter and creating space and ease.
Do a first sweep. Remove any obvious rubbish, stuff you really don’t like to look at, don’t need, don’t want to keep, anything that’s expired or out of date. Don’t worry about perfection, or finishing off the room or area. Just cast your eye around and do that first sweep. Leave it a while and go back again for a second sweep. Can you see anything else that you missed the first time around? What about if you go back for a third sweep?
Decluttering gets easier with practice as you become more confident about making decisions. It’s also like peeling back the layers of an onion as each sweep reveals a little bit more about the stuff that’s left behind.
8. Know how to deal with sentimental clutter
Family heirlooms, your child’s precious artwork and old photos are just a few examples of sentimental clutter that many of us struggle to get rid of. Dealing with clutter that evokes strong memories and emotions can be tough. Often we associate these items with people, places and events that are in the past and we’re worried that parting with these will mean we also part with our memories.
When dealing with sentimental clutter I think there are two key ideas. Firstly, know exactly why you want to declutter these items. Is it because you need to make space? You’re ready to let go of the past? You’re preparing to move and don’t want to take these items with you? Get clear on your why and it will help you make decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of.
Secondly, be prepared for it to be hard but that you don’t have to get rid of everything. Give yourself permission to keep just one or two things instead of all the things. Choose a box or space for your sentimental items to be stored in and use the limits of that space to decide what you’re going to keep.
9. Set some decluttering goals
Goals help us achieve things in life and decluttering is no exception. To set goals they need to be realistic, relatable, achievable and time-sensitive. What goals could you set to help you get rid of stuff? Declutter your bathroom by this evening? Your kitchen so you can prepare and cook meals easier? Your garage so you can find that pot of paint you’ve been looking for? Your attic so it’s easier to move home? Define your goals and use them to make progress. Read these tips on how to set decluttering goals to motivate and focus you.
10. Use what windows of time you have available
Decluttering doesn’t need to take a long time. In fact, I think it’s easier to get your head around it if you allocate small blocks of time to getting rid of stuff. It feels psychologically easier to declutter for 10 or 20 minutes than committing an entire day to it. Look at your plans for the day, find a window of time for decluttering, pop it in your calendar, set an alert for when the time comes and a timer to tell you to stop when your window is over. Rinse and repeat as often as you need.
11. Have a game plan for getting rid of stuff
If I asked you to declutter your home, right here and right now, where would you start?! For some of us, that might be easy to answer but often people look and feel a little lost. Where should I start? What can I do in the time available? What’s going to be easiest? What would make most difference to my daily life? Ask too many questions and you’ll spend time finding the answer instead of actively decluttering!
Having a game plan is key to successful, stress-free decluttering. Think about what window(s) of time you’ve got to declutter or what stuff causes you the most pain and strife during the day. If you have little kids with you, what’s going to be easiest to declutter (or most unrealistic).
Have a game plan so that when you have time, energy and the resources to declutter then you put these to the most effective use. Try this free Decluttering Action Plan printable to get you started!
12. Challenge yourself
Motivating yourself might be difficult. Getting rid of stuff doesn’t always have immediate benefits, especially if you have lots of stuff to wade through! Get a friend to support you, join my free Facebook group and share your projects to stay accountable, or try this free 30-day Declutter Challenge and printable.
13. Prepare to be ruthless
There’s no getting away from the fact that getting rid of stuff means actually disposing of it from your home. It doesn’t mean hiding it in an attic, buying fancy organisation systems to organise your clutter or closing the door on the guest bedroom because it’s a dumping ground for random stuff you’ve decluttered from other areas of your home.
Getting rid of stuff means actually getting rid of it out of your home and life. As well as the physical hard work of moving, clearing and decluttering your home, there’s the emotional hard work of preparing to let go, pass on, get rid. Whilst it does get easier with practice and it helps to be crystal clear on why you’re doing it, getting rid of things can take a mindset shift.
Think about how and why you’re decluttering, remind yourself daily of what you want to achieve and gain, talk about it with friends and family, do the research on how and what to declutter, practice being ruthless as stuff is just stuff. It’s human nature to add emotional attachment to that stuff so don’t let your stuff hold power over you if you don’t want it to.
The more you become familiar with decluttering, the more you’ll feel ready, prepared, encouraged, motivated and focused to do it yourself.
14. Be aware of other things that clutter your home
You may have tackled the main clutter in your home, but does it still feel more cluttered and busy than you’d like? If so, perhaps you might need to check out my article on things that clutter your home even after you’ve decluttered. Some of them are easy to miss unless they’re pointed out to us!
15. Know where you’re getting rid of stuff to
When you’ve done the emotional and physical groundwork, the last thing you want is for your decluttering work to be undone because you don’t know what to do with the stuff you want to get rid of.
Do you take it to the recycling centre, a charity shop, sell it on Facebook, pass it on to a friend? What if the charity shop isn’t accepting donations, the recycling centre is shut, your Facebook buyer still hasn’t come to collect or your friend changes their mind? Will your bags of unwanted stuff lie cluttering up your hallway or garage or sit in the boot of your car? Will you just hold on to that piece of furniture because it’s too big to fit in your car or you can’t sell it because no buyer will pay your asking price?
Have a plan for how and where you’re going to get rid of stuff and do this as part of the decluttering process not as an afterthought.
16. Make decluttering fun
Decluttering sounds tiring, frustrating, boring and hard work. Right? Wrong! It can be fun and freeing. Pop on some background music, get the kids to help you, grab a drink and some chocolate, plan a reward for after you’ve finished. Here are some more tips on how to make decluttering fun.
17. Be in the right frame of mind to get rid of stuff
Mindset is everything. If you’re feeling emotional, upset, anxious, unsettled, tired, unmotivated or just having an off day, I’d suggest leaving decluttering until you’re in a more positive frame of mind.
Think about it overnight. Come up with a plan for what you’re going to get rid of tomorrow. What will you do with the items you don’t want. What supplies will you need. What do you hope your home or mind will feel like after you’ve decluttered. Build up some anticipation, excitement and enthusiasm if possible to help make decluttering a more fun and easy experience.
Getting rid of stuff is meant to be empowering, liberating and free up your time and energy so set yourself up for maximum success by decluttering when you’re in the right frame of mind!
18. Watch out for hidden clutter
There are lots of different types of clutter in our home and life which we can address in different ways. However, hidden clutter is sneaky and jumps out at us when we’re least expecting it. Read more about what is hidden clutter and how to deal with it!
19. Don’t give up!
Not many things in life go smoothly without a hitch and many of us, myself included, have got stuck when it comes to decluttering. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t have motivation, run out of time and get frustrated or you want to give in to your clutter because it’s easier than getting rid of it – stop! Pause, take a break, switch to another task but don’t give up!
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your clutter didn’t build up in a day so it’s unlikely you’re going to get rid of it in a day either. Read these tips for why decluttering is all about progress not perfection.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR GETTING RID OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF CLUTTER
Here are some tips on how to declutter different areas and items in your home:
- How to declutter your kitchen
- How to declutter your bathroom
- How to declutter your bedroom
- How to declutter your home office
- How to declutter your digital clutter
- How to declutter art and craft supplies
- How to declutter your clothes
- How to declutter toys
BUY MY GUIDED WORKBOOK TO SIMPLIFY YOUR HOME AND GET RID OF STUFF
You can find lots of information on the internet about how to get rid of stuff but it takes time researching and piecing it all together. I’ve shared a few tips here but to save you time and to help you make great progress and avoid some common decluttering mistakes, I’ve created a guide, workbook and checklists where everything is done for you.
Simplify Your Home is a complete decluttering guide in PDF format packed with tips, ideas and actionable steps to help you declutter your home and get rid of stuff like a pro. There are lots of helpful checklists you can use to track your progress and stay focused. You’ll also learn some strategies on how to keep your clutter away for good.
Click here to learn more about Simplify Your Home and get your own PDF.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
I’d love to know whether you find it easy or difficult to get rid of stuff. Were there some items you found more difficult than others? Were your family on board with the idea? Where did you struggle and, if so, how did you overcome these problems? What benefits did you find to getting rid of your clutter? Leave a comment below as I’d love to hear from you!
YOUR NEXT STEP…
If you’d like to get started but would like a little support and help, pop your details in the box below to receive a handy checklist of 100 things to get rid of right now! Follow the list, tick it off as you go and just make a start…