The beginning of a New Year brings the opportunity for a fresh start, new goals and a new mindset. It sounds simple, but every time you look around your home or open a closet door you’re faced with the reality that you’re still surrounded by the endless piles of stuff that have accumulated from years before.
Even if you’re not planning on moving now or any time soon, what better way to start 2019 than by re-evaluating your belongings, de-crowding your life and changing your mindset for a less chaotic future. You don’t have to downsize your home to downsize your lifestyle! Follow these tips to guide you through the purge and empower you to make a sustainable lifestyle change that goes beyond your New Year’s resolutions.
Tackling the Purge: How to get Rid of Clutter
The four box method is one of the most popular and simple approaches to decluttering your home and downsizing your belongings. Create four boxes with the following labels: trash, give away/sell, storage (items you’ll keep but don’t use often) and put away (items you’ll keep and use regularly). The first two boxes will likely be the hardest for you to fill, because those are items that you’re going to be parting with. Ask yourself a series of questions:
- When was the last time I used this? If you haven’t used it in over 12 months (except for seasonal or sentimental items) you can likely get rid of it.
- Does this item make me happy? Some items, such as decorations or art, aren’t there to be used, but rather to make you happy. If they’re still doing that, they’re worth keeping.
- Why do I want to keep this? If you don’t have an answer to that question, or your answer is ‘just in case,’ chances are you won’t miss it and it’s safe to say goodbye.
There are always going to be a few items (or maybe more) that you’re on the fence about keeping. The impulse reaction for most people is to put those items into storage to deal with later, but that’s how things slowly begin to accumulate all over again. Instead, take a trial separation from those items and put them aside in a box that’s out of sight but not in storage (for example, the closet). Set an alarm on your phone to revisit those items in a few months. Anything that you haven’t used, especially the things you’ve forgotten about, can usually be purged. You may have included some sentimental items that you realize you still want to keep, even if you didn’t use them. Those items can be organized and packed away—some things are too special to part with.
Now that you’ve decided which treasured belongings will make it into 2019 it’s time to change your mindset and habits to resist the urge to fill the newly created space. Evaluate the items that you got rid of. Was it mostly clothes? Perhaps it was furniture or home décor. If, for example, you know that you have a tendency to collect clothes, establish limits that guide how much you can buy and have. Do this by thinking about the line that divides what you want, what you need and what you’ll actually use. Do you typically wear 8 pairs of shoes or is it something you would only use seasonally? Keep that in mind before buying something new.
Shop from What You Have Available to You
Whether you’re a bargain hunter or enjoy the convenience of online shopping and two-day shipping, part of the reason we accumulate so much stuff is because we’re so quick to buy new things. Next time you gear up to make a purchase take a step back and revisit what you already have available to you in the house or through friends and family. If you’re going camping for the first time, consider borrowing a tent before investing in one of your own. Tired of playing the same board games on family night? See if some of your friends or family are interested in doing a game swap. Even if it’s just temporary, it’s a great opportunity to try new games before awarding them a permanent home on your shelf. Whatever it is, consider your network before rushing to hit “checkout”.
For more helpful tips on how to freshen up your home and find new uses for things you already have, check out our Upcycling Your Home blog. If you’ve finished your purge and need assistance moving items into your self storage unit, reach out to an AMJ Campbell moving specialist near you.