You may have heard about the benefits of minimalism, but the thought of actually getting there might seem pretty overwhelming. It usually takes a lifetime of acquiring things to fill a home with clutter, so it’s understandable that we can’t expect to clear things out instantly.
But where should you even start?
When Amy and I started out, there were a bunch of different decluttering methods that we tried, and some worked better than others. Mostly though, I had a hard time figuring out where to even start. The closets? The kitchen cupboards? The electronics cabinet? All of them were pretty much packed full and could have used a lot of work.
So when I say I understand how you feel, know that it’s genuine. What I did find, was that once we started to get some momentum going, it got easier.
Here are some ways to start decluttering that will make a difference in your life today.
Believe me, once you start feeling the effects of less clutter, you’ll want to keep the process going. And right now is a perfect time to do some decluttering before the holiday busyness starts to set in.
1 / Turn off notifications & delete unused apps
You might not have expected to start off with your digital device, but I figure it’s possible you’re holding one right now. Take a few minutes to clear some apps off your phone that you either don’t use any more or don’t want to use anymore. After that, go into your settings and turn off notifications for extraneous apps that should never urgently need your attention (games, news, social media, etc.). Apple introduced some very cool new features to help manage screen time recently, which would be worth checking out if you have an iPhone.
2 / Donate one bag of clothing
Now is a great time to donate clothing that you don’t wear anymore (for any reason). Whether it doesn’t fit, or the style just never fit you quite right, fill up a brown paper grocery bag with some of those clothing items. Put the bag in your trunk, and drop it off at a local donation center next time you drive by one. Having a little space in your closet makes it easier to put things away, see what you have, and even make room for things that will suit you better.
3 / Clear off a table
Choose one surface, like a desk, kitchen table, or coffee table and methodically remove all of the clutter from it. Process any envelopes or mail sitting around, recycle magazines, put away jackets and other clothing, glassware or dishes that happen to be sitting there. Just focus on that one area and knock it out. Don’t just move things somewhere else—actually deal with the clutter and don’t stop until it’s done.
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4 / Clear out the fridge
Take a few minutes and clear out any old or expired food items from your fridge, give the shelves a quick wipe down and put things back in. You’re probably using your fridge several times per day, so having a little more space and order in there will have a bigger impact than you think. Check expiration dates, find any food you’re definitely not going to use or eat, and compost or recycle them appropriately.
5 / Unsubscribe
This is another digital area. Take a look in your email inbox and spend a few minutes unsubscribing from marketing emails you don’t need. It will save you time in the future, and clear out some digital clutter for you immediately. It’s likely that you check your email a few times per day, so doing this will offer benefits over the long term.
It doesn’t matter which of these areas you choose, but just start decluttering with one, today. While it may seem overwhelming to even get started, tackling one of these small areas will give you some quick wins and help build momentum for the bigger projects.