Declutter to Destress
Welcome to our first challenge of 2017! If you read our last blog, you know that we are going to have a challenge every month this year to help you de-stress different areas of your life. I believe that knocking out stress is one of the best things that you can do for your health and that stress is at the core of so many problems related to our physical and mental status.
For January, we are going to focus on decluttering our homes. I feel that January is the most natural time to do this because you are already taking down Christmas decorations, getting into the attic, finding storage areas for items you received at Christmas. It just makes sense! Also, I find it difficult to focus on accomplishing ANY other tasks in my life when my personal space is a wreck-- I bet you do too. So, here is how the challenge will work: you pick an area (or areas) to declutter, use some of the tips we provide, and take a before and after photo. We will have a challenge post on our Facebook page where you can post your before and after photos. At the end of January we will pick 1 lucky winner to receive the new EO brand All-Purpose Soap for your home! This soap can be used to clean counters, floor, windows, dishes, laundry-- anything!
So, let’s get started with some tips!
The first thing to consider is WHY you are doing this? It needs to be more than just--I want a clean house. That is a good place to start, but why do you want a clean house? What does having a clean house mean to you? What would it do for you to have a clean house? For me, it means being in control of myself and my space. It means that my mind is clear and I am not juggling too many things at one time. For my life, a messy house is always a signal of too much-- too many things, too many commitments, too much busy! When my home is clean it shows me that I have a better handle on what is really important to me. What does having a clean space mean to you?
Now that you know why you are doing this, you need a place to start. I recommend having 1 room that is your priority and you starting place always. At my house, it is my living room and here is why. We choose our living room to sit down and take respite at the end of every day-- so I always tackle my living room first so that no matter what the day brings, I can sit down in at least one tidy room at the end of it. Also, I have my living room set up to be an “easy win”-- which means it only takes me a few minutes to tidy this room and I feel like I have accomplished something important, and that is motivating to me to tackle the next big project. To give yourself an easy win, pick one room to get super organized-- pare down the number of items in that room to only the essentials and be sure that everything in that room has a place or storage area. DO NOT let this room be a dumping ground for miscellaneous items like mail and keys and shoes.
Once you have this basic beginning-- one room for respite-- I recommend that you begin a major decluttering of your entire home. There are 2 main methods for doing this: 1.) By room 2.) By category
Let’s start with the most traditional way, which is by room. This is the way I have ALWAYS decluttered, and I bet most of you have done this too. There are certainly some benefits to this, like, you actually finish one room and feel that sense of accomplishment. You only have 1 room “torn up” at a time. There are also some drawbacks to this method though--like, you lose steam and never finish your entire home. You end up moving things from one room to another and not truly getting rid of things.
Now, for the other method: by category. I must admit, I have not completed this method myself but I have been researching the results of lots of people that have used this method in the past few years and I am excited to complete this method myself since it will be something different than I have ever tried before. Hopefully it will take me (and you!) to a new definition of decluttered! This method was popularized by Marie Kondo in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. In the book, Kondo recommends that you declutter by category,in a specific order, and that you do your whole home at once-- which takes about six months, but she says that you will never have to do this again if you adopt the principles that she teaches.
So, just to give you an example, she recommends starting with your clothing and gathering ALL of the clothing in your home to one place. Discard ANYTHING that doesn’t spark joy in your life. Reorganize what is left and find the place to store it. She has a particular method for determining what to keep vs. what to discard and it really gives you the freedom to get rid of things you don’t want or need any longer. One of the reasons for doing things by category is that you sometimes don’t realize how many duplicates of 1 item you have just because you are storing them in different places. One example from my home is jackets-- I have jackets in my closet, in a separate coat closet, and in my mud room locker. If I were to toss these all in a pile together I’m sure I would be mortified by how many I have! However, if I were to clean one area at a time I might not notice that I have an obscene amount. Make sense?
However you choose to declutter-- good luck! We want to see your decluttering photos on Facebook and I’ll post mine there too.