If reducing consumption is the key to helping the Earth, what is the easiest and most beneficial way to do that? The answer is decluttering. It is not the action itself but what it should get us to process in our minds. When we need that process, we have already messed up somehow. Now we need to fix the situation and are willing to learn. After decluttering your home, you will better understand your consumption habits. Of course, it requires you to be honest with yourself. Becoming aware of your behavioral patterns – such as purchasing, rewarding or excusing – is essential before being able to change them.
We are moving to a smaller house (1580 sq ft equals 147 sq meters), and it does not have a basement. The decluttering process has been an intense and seriously eye-opening experience. The older kids don’t live at home anymore, but yet we have so much of their stuff here. The reasons are many, but not all of them are good. Do we really need all these sentimental items from our own or children’s childhood? Some memories are lovely, but how many boxes of memories are reasonable to have? What did I think when buying some of our clothes or furniture? I have these fabulous and well-fitting business clothes in my closet – but unfortunately, I don’t work in business life. Should I keep them only for “If someday in the future?” How many sets of linen does a family of three need – seriously? I have had some serious conversations with myself, yet I let sentimentality or what-ifs slow down my success of getting rid of anything extra. Seeing all the stuff we have feels weird because I am a person who wants to keep things organized and cannot stand clutter on the tables or counters. So why all this stuff is still here?
How to declutter?
I love watching Marie Kondo’s lessons, but her method does not fully work now when we are moving and packing. It is not possible to put items in their places if they don’t have a place at the moment. Additionally, we need some items that don’t actually spark joy, such as crappy clothes for painting and renovation projects. The question just is, how many shirts or pants you need for those projects – really? Also, I cannot perfectly tide up by category because I did not even remember what I have hiding in the basement.
These are the techniques I find excellent (seriously, not my own inventions, just adopted from different sources.)
A small but vital preparation; Make sure you have boxes or bags ready, at least for; trash, donations, things you will sell, and recyclables. If you already recognize that you will have a lot to recycle or throw into a landfill, take separate boxes for plastic (such as toys), rags, metal, and paper.
Take your calendar and schedule the time when you will take the recyclables, such as broken Christmas lights and plastic toys, to the recycling or recreation center. Or order the pickup now, not “then” or “later” This way, you prevent the cluttering from happening again.
Follow the 90 days or one-year rule. This one is an excellent method with clothes and kitchen utensils and everything you were not quite ready to give up during the first round. It is not fast, but the reality hits your face showing zero mercy. Mark every item with a piece of tape or fabric – every single one. When you use the thing, take the mark away. After 90 days or whatever is your chosen timeline, donate, sell or recycle everything you have not needed.
It is essential to realize that tossing items into the trash can is not sustainable or what is wanted here. The idea is to reuse, recycle, or adequately discard everything, including materials. But if the reusing does not happen in your home, let the item continue its purpose with someone else or as something else.
Once more – Why is decluttering an eco-act and good for you?
- Going through a process of serious decluttering prevents us from making the same mistake twice. (Some of us might need a few more rounds than others). The odds are pretty high that you will create some mess and clutter again, but awareness has grown after this process.
- Decluttering reduces consumption if we don’t replace everything with new stuff. You can set the bar higher for the future – material, consumption, and item-wise. For example; “Never shall I ever rebuy plastic hangers.”
- By better material choices and lower consumption levels, nature gets less destroyed and polluted.
- You know what you have and are able to realize the importance or non-importance of your items. That will additionally increase the gratitude and appreciation in your life.
- You will notice your habits. Those include purchasing and self-rewarding practices as well as your ability to set boundaries and be sentimental.
- It simply feels good to have space around you – and in the closets. Mess makes many people feel restless and annoyed.
- It will be easier to find items from your home.
- You will save money when thoughtless shopping comes to an end.
Decluttering helps you as well as the Earth. It reduces unnecessary consumption. By going through decluttering process, you become aware of your consumption habits and choices—those will be better in the future.