With the welcome of Spring and temperatures slowly warming up, it’s not unusual for me to get the urge to throw open the windows and do some serious spring cleaning. I work from home so having lots of clutter around the house leaves me feeling chaotic and disorganized! At the same time, I know I can easily get overwhelmed with the idea of tackling one room for cleaning, let alone the whole house.
Two years ago when I got married and moved into my husband’s townhouse, we spent many a weekend sorting through our merged belongings trying to figure out what to keep and what to purge. I’m always amazed at the crazy amounts of stuff one person can accumulate, and all our combined items were not reasonably fitting in our living space! Since then I continually comb through our rooms with a constant desire to declutter and simplify life. It seems there is still more I hold onto than I really need, or even want.
This year I feel even more determined to minimize what I have, especially as we kick around the idea of moving. Even if we don’t have to pack everything up and truck it to another location, I feel challenged to reevaluate what I’m holding onto, and these are a few questions I’m asking myself as I approach this project.
How can I start small?
I recently read this great article from Darling Magazine about living more minimally and it offers some practical tips for starting small when decluttering. Contributor, Erin Coyle, suggests tackling something like your medicine cabinet, refrigerator or underwear drawer to begin. Going from room to room and digging into the little stuff will allow me to unload quickly without agonizing over my decisions or feeling like I’m parting with something major.
Do I love this?
Using this question as a measuring stick as I tackle each little area of my home helps me put things in perspective. While I don’t want my heart to be overly attached to “things”, or choose to treasure what’s temporary, there are items that I enjoy or which have value. However, they are certainly fewer than what I currently am keeping. Not only can I live with less, but probably much of what I part with I won’t even miss.
Do I really need this?
While I generally don’t consider myself prone to hoarding, I find I do keep some things “just in case”. Just in case I have a bigger kitchen someday… Just in case company comes… Just in case I need to fix the such-and-such… Just in case… Just in case… Some of this could actually be practical and some of it is just unrealistic. I have to honestly ask myself, am I really going to take up this hobby or activity that I’m not actively practicing now? Maybe the answer is yes, but if it’s not, it’s time to purge.
As I think about decluttering, I realize it’s really more of a lifestyle than an event a few times a year. Embracing simplicity helps me narrow my focus, time, money and energy on the fewer important priorities in my life. And releasing my grip on “stuff” minimizes distractions for me, and my natural desire to place my worth in what I have. Ultimately I want to choose to live with less so I have room to embrace life’s best.
Do you do any “spring cleaning”? What do you do to make this practical for yourself?