I think we have all heard by now that we want to have nothing in our homes that is not useful or beautiful.
As an organizer I have helped many clients make the decisions on what they want to declutter from their homes in order to feel that their home is now their sanctuary and has only the things in it that they need or love.
But looking ahead to maintenance, I feel that it is necessary to understand how those unneeded or unwanted items came into the house in the first place. By having a good understanding, we can keep from repeating behaviors that allow this influx from happening again.
This is an easy trap to fall into – especially if you are feeling depressed or tired. Americans spend an average of $183 every month on impulse buying.
You see a nice, new, piece of clothing. You don’t need another pair of yoga pants or another long sleeve top but this one looks so nice and it’s only $65. And if you make $100 purchase you will get free shipping so what else is in the catalogue that looks like fun?
You need some lipstick. And look – your favorite brand is having a deal. If you purchase $35 dollars or more, you will receive a travel bag with some make-up samples included. The lipstick is $16 but sometime or another you will need more foundation and that will make up the difference!
You need to replace a small saucepan that has seen its last day. You notice that the store has this lovely matching set of pots and pans on sale. Your other pans are just fine but wouldn’t it be nice to have all new?
It doesn’t even have to be a special gift. A friend stops by and they have just read this fabulous book and they now want to gift it to you. You already have 15 books stacked up to read that you are really wanting to read but you don’t want to hurt their feelings, so you accept the book.
A friend was out shopping and saw a sweater that she felt was “so you” so she bought it for you. You hardly ever wear sweaters and already have more than you need but you accept the gift.
You have a couple of cats for pets, so every birthday or holiday friends and family buy you cat items – mugs, sweaters, figurines, books. You are really not into all of this “stuff” but now here they are.
Keeping bad gifts just increases your clutter and emotional overload. Let them go.
Aunt Sue has given you a jewelry box that was your mother’s. It is not your style at all, but you take it because it had belonged to your mom.
You inherit Grandmother’s cast iron cookware. You don’t even cook but because it belonged to your grandmother you keep it.
You have bought a really expensive dress for yourself. You had a plan for wearing it but when you tried it on it made you feel unattractive. It’s too late to return it but because it cost so much money you keep holding on to it.
If friends and family members have been in the habit throughout the years of bringing into your house all sorts of items either because they think you might like them or because they don’t have room to store them right now and they want you to hold on to the items until they need them, now is the time that you need to let them know your true feelings. You can’t expect them to figure this out if you don’t set boundaries.
Let them know that you have spent a lot of effort and perhaps money decluttering your home. Let them know you are downsizing. Let them know you only want consumable gifts or gifts of time. You can’t expect them to know how you feel if you don’t explain it to them.
If you feel you must graciously accept a gift you don’t really need or love, recognize that it is a gift to you and that you can within a short period of time let that item leave your home. Find someone who will need or love it.
Likewise, when buying items for yourself, don’t click on that “buy it now” button right away. Wait a day or two. Ask yourself why you need or love this new purchase. Ask what you are willing to give away to make room for the latest item.
These are probably new behaviors for you. Post a few signs or notes to remind you of your goal of keeping your home clutter free and only holding the things you need and love. It helps if you have a friend that understands what you are trying to accomplish. Call them when you are feeling frustrated or can’t figure out how to handle a situation involving your stuff.
Your home is your refuge. Keep it that way.