22 March 2021

Today We Declutter!

Yesterday, I heard the birds chirp for the first time after a long winter. I also saw some purple crocuses, the first blooms of the season. Spring is here and on the top of our list: spring cleaning! Even if it's something that we do regularly, it can be quite daunting.  

I read a few books recently on smart ways to keep an organized home in a few, easy steps. Let me share with you some of what I learned.

decluttering ideas, spring cleaning
"Outer Order, Inner Calm" is Gretchen Rubin's book about taking control of our stuff so that we feel more in control to our lives. Here are my favorite tips:

  • Ask the questions, "Do I need it?, "Do I love it?" or "Do I use it?" when deciding what items to keep. Then ask the question, "Where does it belong?" because every thing we own must have a specific home.
  • Identify your beneficiaries when you're ready to give away your stuff like an organization that will accept toys, books, clothes, or old furniture. That way you know that there will be people who will appreciate and find use for them.
  • Make a "mock move". Pretend you're moving to a new home and determine if the things you own now you are willing to wrap in bubble wrap and take with you or if you're ready to get rid of them. Toss and recycle those things now
  • "Don't put things down. Put them away." How many times have put jackets and clothes on a chair with the intention of sorting through them later? Next thing we know the chair is covered in a pile of clothes. 
  • "Put things to good use. Spend out."  Many of us like to save our nice things for special occasions like wedding china, a fancy bottle of perfume or a candle, pretty stationery. Don't wait for someday. Use them today.
  • "Everything looks better arranged on a tray." Belongings like cosmetics, accessories, and cooking ingredients look like a collection when grouped on a tray.
  • Turn clutter clearing into a fun event. After a dinner party, fill a small table with gently used things and announce, "Help yourself!" Guests get excited over the freebies and you give a new home to the things you no longer need.

decluttering ideas
Similar to Miss Rubin's last tip, Reese Witherspoon, in her book "Whiskey in a Teacup" provides this idea that involves the family or group of friends: 

Items gathered from spring cleaning can be a good excuse to throw a White Elephant Party. Here's how it works:

You bring a gift -- it could be ridiculous or wonderful -- and put it on a table. Then you pick a number, say 1 to 20 (based on the number of guests), and then whatever number you get is when it's your turn to pick a gift from a pile. You can keep and item or give it to someone else in exchange for the gift that he or she picked.  

Or you can just do a more informal version where you bring clothes that you no longer want, put them in the middle of the table, and take something else you can use (handbags, books, houseware).

I think this is a good excuse to get together (in small groups given the current circumstances, or something to look forward to when it's safe to gather in large groups) and find a new home for your unwanted belongings...TADA!

"Minimalism" has been a buzz word in the past couple of years. In "Goodbye, Things" by Fumio Sasaki, he defines Minimalist as "a person who knows what is truly essential for him- or herself, who reduces the number of possessions that they have for the sake of things that are really important to them." He also explains, "For a minimalist, the objective isn’t to reduce, it’s to eliminate distractions so they can focus on the things that are truly important. Minimalism is just the beginning. It’s a tool. Once you’ve gone ahead and minimized, it’s time to find out what those important things are."

Below are a few more insightful quotes from the book:

  • I was thinking about what would happen if I passed away, or something serious happened to me suddenly. All my possessions would become a burden to my loved ones. Yet because I had minimized most of my belongings, I realized I had also minimized the trouble I would cause others in such circumstances.
  • Seriously, minimalists have no possessions that they are scared to lose. That gives them the optimism and courage to take risks.
  • When we let go of our possessions, our ability to concentrate improves. Why might that be? Things don't just sit there. They send us silent messages. And the more the item has been neglected, the stronger it's message will be. All of our possessions want to be cared for, and they tell us that every time we look at them.

I hope these thoughts have inspired you to begin tidying and de-cluttering. Here's hoping all our homes turn from blah to TADA! 


  1. I've read goodbye things and got some wisdom from it. I already have minimalist tendencies, so the book helped me clarify my thoughts about certain items. I read another of Rubin's books that had a tip about buying things: don't buy something unless you have a place to put it. That helped me a lot!

    1. Thank you for sharing Priscilla! I've had so many thoughts about my shopping behaviors that I want to change and that includes being mindful of what I already have and if it is really necessary to acquire new things.


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