Clutter, disorganization, and too much stuff can often cause us to feel overwhelmed. This feeling of being overwhelmed can also cause us to feel out of control and not at peace in our own living space. In the end, clutter and an overabundance of unnecessary things can make us feel unhappy.
There are some simple steps that you can take to declutter and take charge of your space again. We need to think of our physical possessions as objects that should make us feel at ease, happy, peaceful and in control. When we start to lose those feelings or stop having those feelings, then we need to take immediate steps to rectify the situation.
Five simple and immediate steps to declutter and simplify your life.
Declutter Step #1 – Over 2 Years Since You Used It? First, determine the number of rooms in your house to be decluttered and try to do 1-2 rooms a week. This pace will give you enough time to declutter without feeling overwhelmed to do the declutter process. Next, use a simple goal if you haven’t used an item or worn an item in 2 years or more, then it is probably a good candidate for the declutter pile.
Declutter Step #2 – How Many Things Do The Same Thing? If you have six winter jackets, how many winter jackets do you need? Likewise, shoes, backpacks, scissors, and other similar items are often purchased but how many do you really need. If you have 2-3 things that do the same thing that should be plenty. Put any remaining or extra items into the declutter pile.
Declutter Step #3 – Give It To a Friend or Relative. Once you have your declutter pile, separate the remaining items into clothes, housewares, children’s clothes, toys and the like. Next, take to social media and email to see if there are any friends that need your items. Children’s toys are a great donated item that new parents readily enjoy as their children grow. One rule, items must be picked up within five days. Don’t wait weeks for someone to come by.
Declutter Step #4 – Sell It. For items in the declutter pile that no one wanted for donation, it is time to sell! There are lots of ways to sell. Online sales, gently used stores, consignment stores and garage sales are all ways to make an immediate sale.
Declutter Step #5 – Donate It! Anything not given to a friend or sold should be donated. Charities, churches, and other not-for-profits all have donation arms and needs for all manner of items from clothes to toys to housewares. Be sure to get a receipt for any possible tax deduction.
Whatever remains after you no longer need it, no one wants to buy it, and friends & charities do not need it should be thrown away. Immediately. Keep repeating the process of steps #1 to #5 until you have gone through your entire living space and storage unit if you have one. You may be able to eliminate your storage unit if you can purge your primary living space sufficiently.
At the end of the decluttering process you should keep what you like and what you use on a regular basis. The reward at the end of the decluttering process is a relaxed and comfortable living space, the satisfaction of helping out friends, some additional money from selling and tax deductible donations, and a happier outlook. Now get busy decluttering today!
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Chad Storlie is the author of two books: Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and Battlefield to Business Success. Both books teach how to translate and apply military skills to business. An adjunct Lecturer of Marketing at Creighton University and Bellevue University in Omaha, NE. Chad is a retired US Army Special Forces officer with 20+ years of Active and Reserve service in infantry, Special Forces, and joint headquarters units. He served in Iraq, Bosnia, Korea, and throughout the United States. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab. In addition to teaching, he is a mid-level marketing executive and has worked in marketing and sales roles for various companies, including General Electric, Comcast, and Manugistics. He has been published in The Harvard Business Review blog, Business Week Online, Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, and over 40 other publications. He has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.
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