We have made it to January, and it is that time of year when many of us begin to think about lightening our loads and purging what we are no longer using.
For some of us, light is on our minds because we have just accumulated more possessions as a result of Christmas and with the incoming of the new, we yearn for a throwing out of the old to make room for it all. For others, it’s the new year that inspires us to take action. A new, fresh start is just what we need to kick off the new year and start off on the right foot.
January is the month of Oosouji in Japan. To observe Oosouji means to clean the clutter, the dirt and the dust of the past. The purpose being to banish any old problems or ways of thinking and to welcome a new start, with a clean slate (and home). The word Oosouji literally means “big cleaning,. Additionally, January’s foreboding cold weather leaves us with no choice but to stay indoors and think about improving our surroundings, making our home more comfy, clutter free and cozy. With the bustling holidays behind us, there is nothing to distract us from doing just that.
If your family does not purge on a regular basis, I strongly encourage adding purging to your calendar at least once but ideally twice each year to stay on top of controlling clutter. Since we have things coming into our homes on a constant basis, in order to keep our homes balanced, we need to have the same amount of stuff leaving our homes each year. It is a simple Ying and Yang formula. With everything in life there is a need for balance, and even too much of a good thing can do us harm. It is no different when it comes to our possessions and our home environment. January is a “no brainer” time of year to schedule a purging session. July is also a good time for a 2nd purge, and having the kids home on summer break means that they can get involved too.
Our family has just completed our own January purge, as I put away our Christmas decorations this year, I collected all of our heaping full donate boxes that have been accumulating over the last several months from the storage room and placed them into our garage. Since we always have a donate box available and ready to be filled, my family knows to toss no longer wanted items into the box throughout the year. This makes our purging process automatic, and it is shocking how fast those boxes fill up.
I also sorted through our Christmas decorations, and if they did not get put up this year, they got added to the donate pile. This week it will all go a local charity and our family’s January Oosouji will be complete. So bring on the new year!
When you think about decluttering, does it suck the wind out of your sails? All too often, the task of tidying up can feel overwhelming, and turn even the most resilient homeowner into a deer in headlights. Sometimes it can make you want to throw in the towel, or at least call for professional reinforcements. However, a few clever strategies can be just the ticket. Here’s how to ensure the task of paring down is not only simple, it could even be called “fun.”
Formulate a plan
How do you plan to tackle your “stuff”? Everyone has their own best methods for decluttering, and to ensure you stick with your project, think about what works best for you. For instance, some people do well with selecting a certain number of objects every day and parting ways with them. Other people do best sorting a section at a time. For some people, the key to beating clutter is scheduling a particular time for the project, even 15 minutes per day, and committing to it. You can even print a helpful calendar from Home Storage Solutions to help you stay on track. The important thing is to find your method, and embrace it wholeheartedly!
Putting things in order
As you go through your home, keep in mind it’s important to develop a system that will help you avoid becoming cluttered again. This can be especially challenging if your home doesn’t feature an excess of square footage. If space is tight, be creative, and consider some unconventional, yet oh-so-clever storage hacks. For example, furniture can multitask, such as using an attractive vintage trunk that is both your coffee table and a storage solution. Wasted wall spaces can hold floating shelves. Baskets can house unsightly items on your shelving, turning an eyesore into an accent. In the bedroom, the space under your mattress can hold under-the-bed storage bins. Look for ways to put idle space to work!
Focus on feel-goods
As you declutter, there will likely be plenty of things you no longer want or need. Instead of tossing them into the trash, think of ways they can benefit other people. You can donate items to a charity, offer them on a swap website, or even have a yard sale. If you make a little money, consider donating it to a nonprofit, or invest the funds into furthering your decluttering project. Another idea is to check into local nonprofit events. Silent auctions are popular fundraisers, and you could piece together themed gift baskets to donate to a worthy cause. It’s a great way to amp up your motivation, and the warm fuzzies double the fun!
Put on some tunes
Even if you find a great decluttering method, are making wonderful progress, and enjoying seeing the fruits of your efforts, there will probably be days when you struggle with your motivation. One of the best ways to overcome those lackluster moments is with an upbeat cleaning playlist. In fact, you might want to put on your favorite tunes every time, since Huffington Post notes just listening to music can potentially cut your work time in half!
Reward your fine efforts
You’re doing a really good thing. Decluttering can be provide life-changing benefits, helping you to be more productive and healthy. On top of that, you might have donations to charities and a little spending money. However, there is nothing like a little pat on the back to really make you feel great. Some experts suggest picking out a thoughtful reward that compliments your project nicely. In other words, avoid something that will clutter up your house again, or that is unrelated to the task. For example, invest in some attractive storage baskets to outfit your space, or take a day off to stay home, savoring your uncluttered space. Think of the perfect gift to give hardworking you!
Decluttering can be overwhelming, but with a good plan you can do it! Choose a method that works for you, stay motivated, and enjoy a special reward. It’s a challenging project, but you’re worth it!
Written By Guest Blogger
Laura is the Owner of Clean & Clutter Free, professional organizing services.