Simplifying, decluttering, spring cleaning: it comes in many shapes, sizes, and labels but it all boils down to decisions about what you need and what you don’t.
A cluttered environment means increased anxiety, wasted time looking for things you can’t find, and sapped mental energy. We all know the peace that comes with a clean environment in which to live, work, and study.
But how does a mom of little ones, a working professional, or a busy college student even begin the process of simplifying their home environment?
Whether your home is a sprawling mansion, half of a dorm room, or a studio in the city, these five tips will set you on your way to creating and maintaining a cleaner, more peaceful environment.
1. Tackle the mess one category at a time.
This is one of the leading principles of Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Rather than going from room to room, overwhelmed with an array of books, clothes, food, homework, and inexplicable gifts from your mother-in-law strewn about, pick a category and tidy it up each room at a time.
For example, gather all the books from each room and put them where they belong. Oh, and if you find a book buried underneath a couch and you know you won’t read it this side of the 22nd century, get rid of it.
2. Ask yourself if you would buy it today.
That scarf you’re holding in your hands: would you buy it full-price if you were out shopping today?
Would you put on that scarf tomorrow morning as confident and happy as if you had just bought it brand-new, or is it a begrudging addition to your outfit?
Are you keeping it just because it’s already there, or because it’s one of your favorite things to wear? If it doesn’t pep up your outfit or your day, it’s not worth the space in your closet.
3. Space out the simplifying process.
Give away one thing each day until you’re left with the true essentials that are functioning properly and adding joy to your life.
Have a give-away bin where you can see your things transform from clutter to gift one day at a time, and feel extra good knowing that not only are you simplifying your home, but you’re blessing someone else.
4. Set aside one space to never clutter.
Be it a couch, your bed, the dining room table, or the living room, choose one room or piece of furniture to vow never to clutter.
Don’t let yourself drop your coat and bag on that space when you come home from work, don’t let yourself strew your homework over your bed, or don’t let yourself leave the mail on the dining room table to accumulate for days.
Whatever space you choose, be firm with yourself. That is your space to pause, breathe, and remind yourself of the beauty of simplicity.
5. Make your bed every day.
Your mom was right about this one. It makes all the difference, especially in small spaces like dorm rooms or studios where the bed is the center of attention, to have the covers pulled up and pillows arranged. Every day, no matter how late you’re running, make the bed.
Simplicity is not unattainable and clutter is not inevitable.
It just takes a few small habit adjustments or a few hours of time until you’re well on your way to getting home from work or the grocery store with a sigh of relief, knowing that you’re in your happy place: your clean, stress-reducing, simply beautiful home.