I think I’m happiest on a Saturday morning and I’m curled up in bed with a cup of coffee and a book. The house is silent, only to be interrupted by the occasional sound of a car driving by or the furnace kicking on (yes, it’s April in Kansas and it’s only 38°F). I consider these mornings to be moments of pure bliss. I deeply appreciate these moments because I realize that as I get older I will likely have fewer and fewer of them to enjoy. These moments will later be replaced by mornings that look completely different. I will probably consider those mornings to be pure bliss as well, but until then I’ll lay here stretched across my bed and continue devouring my café and my book.
This morning’s book of choice is Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff by Dana K. White. It’s safe to assume that I chose this book because it’s April and though it’s still cold outside my mind and body are ready for spring and with spring comes spring cleaning. What could be more fitting than a book about decluttering?
While reading through the beginning of this book, the author describes the state of her home before she discovered the tricks she shares to help her become motivated to dump her junk. I have to admit, as I read I was imagining her house to be a candidate that would later be featured on the show Hoarders. (Insert a disgusted look of shock and a cringe here.) Maybe her house wasn’t actually that bad but as she described the boxes of stuff lined up against the walls of her rooms I couldn’t help but envision the homes from the show that merely have a single lane for walking left amidst the loads of things piled up everywhere.
I would like to clarify that my house does not look like the home that she describes in this book. However, like many females my age, if you were to randomly enter my home, it would be safe to bet that my bedroom would have a pile of clean clothes tossed on the floor and shoes would be covering half of the floor in my walk-in closet. After reading that last sentence you may wonder why I have clothes and shoes on the floor if I have a (seemingly spacious) walk-in closet. That would he a valid question and my honest response would be that I just don’t take the time to fold my clean laundry when it’s dry or hang my clothes back up after I decide what to wear each morning. So, it’s time to get rid of what I’m not using/wearing in order to make it easier for myself to keep clothes and shoes off the floor each day.
You might know that I travel a lot for work. I cuss myself each time I return home to the pile of clean laundry that I picked through while packing then left strewn across the comfy bed that I want to nose-dive into. Way to go, Katie. I am trying to break my bad habits so that being on the road becomes easier so I thought I would see if Dana had any profound suggestions that might help make the spring cleaning process easier.
Here are the tips she shared that really caught my attention:
- Eliminate emotions from your decluttering process.
- A room is a container just like a drawer or a box. If your things belong in that container then they should fit there. If they don’t fit there then you need to get rid of some things that you don’t love until the things that you do love fit.
- If it gets used, it gets a space.
- Declutter before you face a deadline… like hosting a party, or moving. This will make the packing process less overwhelming.
- If you are moving (which I’ve done twice in the last year), find a moving service online and use their calculator to determine how many boxes you should/could have to move into your new home. When you’re packing, fill those boxes with the things you love first then donate the rest.
- Set aside 5 minutes each day to throw away trash and pick up things that have moved. (I can actually hear my mother saying this to me in my head from years ago. Okay – you were right mom!)
Dana also covers how to help a friend or family member declutter. She even tackles tough topics about helping the elderly declutter and how to deal with grief during the process of decluttering. This book was an easy read. I’ve noticed in the days since finishing the book that I’ve been looking at things my in house differently. I added things to my “donate box” that have moved with me twice now that I haven’t touched since I unpacked them. Other things that I know I’m just not really crazy about anymore have also been thrown out or donated.
If nothing else, I think this book breaks the entire process down to one that’s easy to conquer, instead of being overwhelming like you might envision it in your head. It quickly motivated me to do small things that have already made a big difference. Thank you, Dana!
Now it’s your turn! Take these tips, turn on your favorite playlist and get busy! Before you know it, your home will look like Mary Poppins moved in.