4 Simple Steps to Clutter-Free LivingMar 11, 2022
By Helena Zachariassen.
Many people think they actually need to get rid of more or less everything they own to become clutter-free. Is that true? No, absolutely not! It's a myth, and I will bust it right here for you, so read on.
What is clutter-free living?
I get a lot of questions about whether clutter-free living equals minimalism. There's actually a big difference between the two. Are you attracted to minimalism and to owning as little as possible? Or do you love having a lot of things around you to feel extra homey and cosy? Either way is right! However, most people are somewhere in between minimalism and maximalism. I call it LAGOM. It's Swedish (my native language) and means "just right".
I invite you to define your own ideal home and lifestyle right here and now. Write it down and keep it in mind. Mine is called "simply lagom". It's all about a simplified way of life with just the right balance in all that we are, own and do. What is yours?
The struggle to become clutter-free
Clutter-free living to me, is living a life surrounded by things you highly value and that makes you happy. It really is quite simple.
However, for many people, it's a struggle to get there. How come? Well, the path is made up of five different parts:
- How to find the time and energy to declutter, i.e. commitment
- Figuring out where to start
- How to know what really sparks joy out of all the numerous possessions
- How to store items so you can always easily find what you're looking for and
- How to maintain the order
I will teach you four steps below to find your own clutter-free lifestyle and start living a life with less so you can focus on what matters most to you.
Step 1: Vision
It was only after going through this process myself, around six years ago, that I understood that it is absolutely crucial first to find out what kind of life you wish to lead before getting into decluttering. Even if I had done vision work with my life coaching clients previously, I couldn't see the same importance within home organising before going through it myself.
So, what are the most critical parts of this vision work?
Commitment to doing both deep inner and outer work and being in the right place mentally is key.
Current life assessment
Acknowledging where there is satisfaction and dissatisfaction and deciding which areas of life to focus on.
Finding your dream goals
Why and how do you want to change your home? What is the ultimate goal of decluttering?
Visualising your dream home and life
This is where the fun begins. You are allowed to dream as big as you can and deeply look into your personal values, feelings, desires and your ultimate wishes, dreams and ideal lifestyle.
Step 2: Make a plan, and stick to it
Acknowledge your limitations
Some people can, but many people can't do it all alone. Sometimes external help is needed and required to feel in control and happy about our lives.
Bring in a professional
This is the step I struggled with the most during my decluttering process. I SHOULD be able to do this on my own, right? How hard can it be? Trust me. It's not a sign of failure to ask for help; it's a sign of strength and bravery. Think of it as a love letter to yourself. Bringing in a professional organiser was a game-changer for me personally, which led to me becoming one myself a few years later.
Commit to the process
I know committing to an extensive, overwhelming process like this might feel daunting, and it requires a lot of hard work, time and energy. But it's so worth it in the end, and the result is simply priceless.
Step 3: Declutter your home and let go of everything that no longer serves you.
The bookshelves and the internet are full of different decluttering books and methods, and no one size fits all. However, being a certified KonMari Consultant myself, I am a big fan of using categories, and it makes the whole thing so much easier to grasp. However, no matter which decluttering method you decide to follow, the most important rule is this: Focus on what you wish to keep.
It's super scary at first to think that you need to let go of a whole lot to reach your goals. But it's the opposite. It's straightforward once you get the hang of it. Keep only what you love and feel strongly about and let go of the rest (plus some tax papers and other necessities). That's it.
Remember: only YOU are in charge of creating Your best life.
Step 4: Reconsider your (consuming) habits
Once you've successfully decluttered what you wanted and needed to declutter, it's time for the next step. This is an essential step for you to maintain your living space clutter-free and the one that keeps the clutter from building up again.
Clear rules for buying new things
After finishing this big decluttering feast, you might not even want to hit the shops, but the temptation will be there to replace items you discarded once the dust has settled. You might find a need for new rules about bringing new stuff into the house arising. Here are a few situations which you might want to consider creating your own rules for:
- Wardrobe renewal
- Inherited/donated stuff
- Gifts (birthdays/Christmas etc.)
- Online shopping
- Kids' toys
What kind of rules would be useful?
Consider these four essential rules first:
- Decide if, when and how many new things you will allow into your home at any given moment.
- When it comes to kids, remember that the parents are the gatekeepers at all times.
- Consider applying the "one-in-one-out principle" or do a seasonal detox for your clothes.
- Ask "why" before buying anything. Sleep on it before pressing the "order" button. Remind yourself that everything is 100% off if you don't buy it at all. And most buys happen for an emotional reason anyway.
No home can function well without rules and systems. Once all your belongings have a set home and all household members have their own areas of responsibility, it will lead to consistent feelings of calm and being at peace in your home. After all, being able to relax more and enjoy peaceful relationships in your sanctuary is way more attractive than constantly tidying up and looking at random piles. So…when shall we get started?
"Buy less. Choose well. Make it last—quality, not quantity. Everybody's buying far too many clothes." - Vivienne Westwood
Helena is starting a pilot guided online course, The Happy Home Method, on March 21. This course is for mums looking to declutter and simplify their homes and minds from the outside in. She will teach you how to declutter and organise your home for maximal functionality and how to clear mental and emotional clutter to free up more time to spend with loved ones and achieving peace of mind in a calm, organised home. There’s only a few spaces left so sign up quickly on her website if this resonates with you. https://myhappy-home.ch/thehappyhomemethod/
Helena Zachariassen is a mum of 2, an expert in simplifying and home organising, and a lover of all things beautiful in life. A certified KonMari Consultant and Lifestyle Coach, she is the founder of Switzerland’s first KonMari and Lifestyle Coaching Consultancy - My Happy Home. She is passionate about empowering and inspiring people of any walk of life by organising their living spaces according to the KonMari Method by simply choosing joy.
Having her roots in Finland, the Nordic country of pure, quiet, and beautiful wilderness, and being deeply inspired by nature, beauty and simplicity, Helena lovingly encourages and supports her clients in transforming their homes into havens of serenity.
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