As you may know by now, we’re moving in a few months to Gainesville, Florida. To get ready for the move, Keith and I have decided to declutter our home. Whether you’re a fan of Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” or Margareta Magnusson’s “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning”, decluttering is the process of removing unnecessary (and unwanted) items from your home.
Because we want to move as little as possible, this decluttering project was more than Spring cleaning. We opened every cabinet and drawer, pulled everything out, and consciously made the decision whether it stays or goes. Along the way, we learned a few things about how to approach the process.
Make a pact that it’s okay to part with sentimental items. I am so glad that before we started we had a discussion about sentimental items like photos, wedding stuff, gifts from family members, etc. We agreed that getting rid of this stuff wasn’t a reflection of our relationship. We certainly didn’t get rid of everything but, our 30+ year old wedding cake top that’s been collecting dust…gone.
Enjoy the memories, even if you choose to part with the item. Every time we started cleaning out a room, we found ourselves going down memory lane. And that’s fine. Just because something has a memory attached to it, doesn’t mean you have to keep it. Keith and I enjoyed the memories, had some laughs, and then decided it was okay to part with the item.
It’s exhausting, so take your time. Because we went through every square inch of every room, it took time. And because we would get distracted by the memories, it took even longer. Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the process. We did one room a week, so it took us almost three months to declutter our home. I’m really glad we spaced the process out because we weren’t rushed and didn’t end up tossing too much or too little.
Sometimes the decision is to move it, not get rid of it. One other thing we noticed about our stuff is that sometimes the answer wasn’t to get rid of it, but to move it to another room. Pictures, bric-a-brac, pillows, etc. are great examples. We loved the item but wanted to see it in a different place. So, experiment a little. Especially if one person in the family really likes something and the other persons are kinda “meh” about it.
Decide the best way to dispose of the item. I told someone recently that the hardest part of decluttering wasn’t making the decision about what stays or goes, but how to get rid of it – trash, destroy, recycle, donate, junk, etc. That’s another reason to space out your decluttering project. There’s only so much you can set aside for disposal at one time.
Remember to dispose of confidential information properly. When you start gaining some momentum in your decluttering efforts (and you will), it might be tempting to toss big boxes of paper away. Be cognizant of what’s on that paper and find a secure way to dispose of tax records, personal papers, etc. Also, don’t forget to dispose of old prescriptions in a responsible way as well.
While on the surface, decluttering might seem like a chore (and it is), we had some good moments going through all of our stuff. It’s also incredibly satisfying to get rid of old things we don’t need or want anymore and find them a new home. So, whether or not you’re planning a move, decluttering could be a way to clean up and bring new life to your home.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby at Le Tub, the best burger joint in South Florida