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Introduction. Over the years, I have come to really value the act of decluttering. When I originally started to simplify my home, decluttering seemed a bit of a foreign activity to do. I remember when I first started to work on decluttering, the Flylady had recommended going through our homes and remove any trash that we could find. That was a great way to ease into the decluttering process. After doing this, I moved onto the next step of decluttering by determining which items in my home to keep or remove and permanently declutter. In working on decluttering my home throughout time, there were some important lessons that I have discovered about the importance of simplifying and the act of decluttering.
Favorite Items Stand Out. When I first began to declutter my home, I worked very slowly in removing items. I had not developed the skill of decluttering yet or had increased my confidence in making quick, decluttering decisions. However, like anything else that we want to get good at, the more practice that I did, the better that I started getting. By watching my own progress, as well as others who were working on decluttering their own items, I have learned firsthand that we can all develop our skills with decluttering.
I am still working on simplifying, but have found that by working consistently and taking breaks when I need them, that it has helped me to continue. Slowly but surely, I have started to see progress. The more progress that I have made, the more that I have realized that my favorite belongings have been starting to stand out more in the rooms that I have been working on; they have begun to shine. After noticing this, it has encouraged me to continue to simplify the different rooms in my home. To me, it has become an exciting process, one that I would sincerely recommend to you as well.
Increased Productivity. Another aspect to simplifying that makes it so valuable is that it helps to increase our productivity – not just in decluttering, but in other activities that you do as well. I especially noticed this in some of the rooms that I have worked in around my home. The Kitchen was one of the first rooms that I have noticed this result in.
I am not the best or quickest of cooks, however, I have begun to notice recently that I was able to find the tools, pots and pans, be able to sit and do the dishes that needed handwashed, and clean up fairly quickly while I was cooking and after dinner. It has made it so much easier and has made cooking a little less of a chore than it used to be. (Believe me, I am so happy about that!)
I have also found other small areas that I have decluttered, simplified and organized easier to deal with and utilize as well. For example, I have recently been working on simplifying my office area. I am still working on this space, but have finished decluttering and organizing my cards, stationary and postage. I have placed them in a larger coupon organizer from the Dollar Tree and have found it so easy and convenient to send cards to family and friends when I want to. I am so glad that I finished this small project because it has made it so great to use this new, letter system. I have found that I send letters out more often than I used to. I am really looking forward to when I have my office completely done and can share my progress with you!
Easier to Take Care Of. In terms of taking care of my belongings after simplifying them, I have found that it has made taking care of them so much easier! In pairing things down to just my wants and necessities in certain areas of my home, I have discovered that I do not have to constantly move items around when I am looking for something in particular. When I clean a previously decluttered and organized area, it is much easier to get it done! I do not have to constantly shuffle and re-shuffle items to dust and do not have to move containers back and forth just to vacuum. It has made me appreciate these areas so much more. Also, because I can keep extra care of these simplified areas in my home, it makes me want to spend so much more time in them.
Please by no means think that I am done simplifying. I have a list about a mile-and-a-half long! Whenever I find that I am feeling discouraged by such a long, simplifying, To-Do list, I try to go into an area that I have previously simplified. This is a good reminder as to why I am doing what I am doing. I would definitely recommend that you do this as well; make a list of areas that you want to work on AND use the areas that you previously decluttered and organized as an encouragement to you when you need it. It really does help in those moments of frustration and will keep you going.
Reinforcing Good Habits. I have also recently realized that while I am working on simplifying various spaces in our home, there are occasions that my son is there watching me. He is able to see me using the simplifying process to improve these different areas of our home. There are other times that I am decluttering an area, and my son will mention that he is going to work on decluttering his room or car at the same time. This makes me so happy! Not only am I simplifying, but seeing some of the results has inspired my son to work on some of his own spaces as well. To me, seeing my son learn and work to simplify his belongings makes doing all of this even more worthwhile!
I can remember when my son was little, I would work on simplifying and notice at different moments that he was watching me or would ask me a question about what I was doing. From seeing this, I can tell you that if you are working around family members (regardless of how young or old that they are), know that they may at some point surprise you and begin to simplify their spaces too. (Just know though that it may take some time for them to do so; each person and family will be different.) Plus, when they ask and want to help you while you are simplifying, and you can include them in any way, the better that it will be for them. They can learn and practice simplifying and organizing right alongside of you!
It is really amazing to realize that what you are doing will not only effect you in a positive way, but will do so in a number of ways for your family members, too. In particular, they will learn and have these positive habits reinforced so that it becomes easier for them over time – just like it will for you. I personally have seen family members that have not had much interest in simplifying when I started, but have eventually begun to have an interest in doing so. It’s like it is contagious (in a good way), and can cause such good results for you and also for the members of your family as well.
Sense of Peace. Once I have a space simplified for the time being, as decluttering and simplifying is an on-going process as you know, I have noticed a sense of peace when looking at and spending time in that room. It increases my happiness and makes me feel a sense of accomplishment. Not every space is easy to finish. Some spaces are downright difficult to simplify. I do find though, that when a space is difficult to simplify, it feels so rewarding when I actually do finish with the room.
Recently, I have been working in my kitchen. My Dining Room table seems to always get small piles here and there on it. Also, I started using my table as a staging area to put the items on that I wanted to go through. Eventually, I not only had the items on the table to go through, but also needed to use a medium-size portable table as a staging area as well. Some people do very well with pulling everything out to declutter all at once….
I am not one of those people. (LOL) I don’t enjoy that process, even though I can appreciate that some friends actually do very well simplifying this way. Unfortunately, this took me a bit longer than I would have intended to finish going through and decluttering this space this way. In the meantime, my Dining Room table looked a mess, and I had an additional table that was taking up space, too.
To get this room and space finished, I worked each day for a period of time on it. Sometimes, I would work on it in the morning for a specific time and then later in the afternoon so that I could make further progress. If you look at the photos throughout my article, you will be able to see some of how it looked while I was working on it. Eventually, I was finished. I almost had to pinch myself to make sure that I was not daydreaming! LOL. Now, I have this space finished and am so pleased with the outcome.
As I said earlier, it is so much easier to cook in and do different activities in the Kitchen, not to mention eating at my Dining Room table. After having completing these areas, I am now very watchful of how the kitchen sink, countertops and Dining Room table looks after we have been using them. By checking on them both in the morning and evening and after use, these spaces have remained very useful, yet gives me a sense of peace every time that I look at them. (The photo below shows what the Dining Room table looks like now.) I know that if I can get these results, you can as well. I am looking forward to you telling me about your decluttering and simplifying projects and also about how much peacefulness these spaces are providing you.
Positive Role Model. During all of the time that we all simplify; declutter, clean and organize, we are being positive role models for our children and families. Our children, especially, watch what we do. So being able to simplify with them watching, gives us a chance to be able to help them learn and acquire the knowledge and skills to be able to also simplify things of their own.
If your children are small, they can still do smaller projects (as I mentioned previously) and get a similar sense of accomplishment as we do. Older children and teens can also do amazing jobs at simplifying as well. Regardless of the age, I believe that if we breakdown our simplifying projects into smaller parts, we all can be successful with making the peaceful spaces that we want to create.
If you are a friend without children, please know that you can be positive role models with your decluttering and simplifying among your family and friends. I have seen this happen! So know that what you are doing makes a difference not only to you, but those around you, too. The more progress that you make, the more noticeable the peaceful spaces that you are making will be. You will be able to really inspire those around you that are in your close circles.
What is Left Behind. The one thing that I believe is very important is the legacy that we leave behind one day (in the far future, I hope) for our children, family members and friends. This is something that I feel very concerned about, and I believe many of you are as well. Making certain that our loved ones are not left with lots of items to sift through, is one of the most loving acts that we can do for them.
As I previously mentioned, I do realize that simplifying work is a continuous process. However, if we can make certain that each room and project has been gone through and paired down to a very comfortable level and as best as possible, that is the best that we can do. In doing so, we can be very deliberate in what is left behind for those that we love, which will truly be a blessing and demonstration of love for them.
Closing Thoughts. There are so many reasons and benefits to simplifying, as we have been talking about; everything from how it helps us to how it can be beneficial for our loved ones. We all have been attracted to the simplifying lifestyle. If we continue to plan out our simplifying and break it down so that it is manageable, we will have success in making progress in our homes and in our lives. That continued progress is what I am looking forward to – both for myself and for you. So keep up all of your good work and know that each step is helping you towards your simplifying goals. Remember, I know that you can do it!!!
Do you have a room or space that you are currently decluttering, cleaning and organizing? What room are you working on?
• Please feel free to comment in the Comments’ section below. We would love to hear what decluttering projects that you are currently working on. •