If you’re anything like me, decluttering is an item on your to do list every week. Sure, you throw things away here and there, but when is the last time you did a good purge of the items that are no longer serving you? If you can’t think of that date, this is the blog for you. And me. Because I’m writing it, not from the perspective of someone who already has their life together, but from the point of view of someone who wishes she did.
I can see what a decluttered space can do for my mental health, so this February I am making decluttering a priority! Keep reading to learn some tips and tricks I’ll be using on my decluttering journey, including six foolproof questions you can ask yourself to make tossing/donating items a breeze!
Scroll on down to the bottom for a free printable download to help declutter your planner stash!
STEP ONE, GRAB YOUR PLANNER
If you’re a long time LPA user, you may already have a decluttering workbook in your possession. Dust that sucker off, grab a new one here, or make a decluttering worklist of your own in your planner or journal.
If you’re making your own, create a list of all the categories of items you have in your home. Don’t focus on the rooms, because you probably have some items in many rooms of your home. It’s important to declutter all of those items at the same time. It’s only in seeing the full inventory from your home that’ll you’ll feel comfortable tossing away some of that excess.
HALLP!! Do you have so much stuff that you can’t even think of how to categorize? Start with the Marie Kondo basics: Clothes, Books, Papers (ehem read: planners and stickers), Toiletries, Kitchen basics, Food, and Mementos. That’ll get you started, and once you start listing, you’ll think of additional categories that are more specific to your lifestyle.
It is important is to have a list of items that you want to tackle as part of your decluttering process. Why is a list important? Because otherwise we get distracted. It’s as simple as that. How many times have you started to declutter an area of your home and been distracted by a cool item, something you thought you lost, or a funny memento. The answer is every time! Having a list gives you actionable items to keep you focused.
FORGET SPARKING JOY, TRY THESE QUESTIONS
Once you have your list prepared, Marie Kondo suggests gathering all the things in your house for each item on the list, one at a time. She then suggests a process of asking, does this item spark joy? You’re supposed to then discarding anything that does not light your heart on fire. But to be honest, that is such a vague question I often find myself questioning if anything sparks joy and it’s a deep dark spiral from there. Instead I like to ask myself these questions:
- Would I buy this again? I’m in the line at Marshalls, shopportunity is knocking, and I see the item before me. Would I buy it again? If the answer is no, TOSS IT! Or donate it depending on the quality of the item.
Is this item still useful in my life, right now? Not my life last month, and not the life I imagine a year from now. Is it useful right now? If the answer is no, I’ll ask, could it be useful within the next six months (this gets you through seasonal items) and if the answer is still no, it’s a good time to toss it.
Bonus: if the word useful trips you up, ask yourself, when was the last time you used the thing? If it isn’t recent, it’s not useful!
- How many of this do I actually need? Surely there are some items that I would buy again and are useful to my life. Yoga pants, for instance. I wear them almost every day. At home and to the gym, so they’re multipurpose! I should keep them all, right? WRONG. Too much of anything isn’t a good thing. And really, how many yoga pants does one person need?! If I really think about that question, the answer is: enough to wear them every day until laundry. Since I do laundry weekly, I can safely say that anything more than seven pairs, is too many.
- Am I holding on to this because I think someone expects me to? If you’re a real clutter queen, as I am, a lot of the emotional ties we place on items come from who gave them to us. The sweater my mom gave me for Christmas two years ago that I’ve yet to wear even once… The handmade glass figurine I got as a wedding gift from my aunt…. They PLAGUE ME! I know deep down I should donate them, but I get hung up on hurting someone’s feelings! Y’all. FULL STOP. We are not responsible for someone else’s expectations of us. AND chances are, they don’t even care! Appreciate the thought behind the gift and then donate that sucker so it can live a full life with someone who will love it.
- For clothing: Does this fit and is it flattering? Listen, I hate to break it to myself, and you, but most clothes do not last forever. Even if your body doesn’t change, threads wear, cloth stretches, colors fade, and trends change. Your favorite sweater from 2015 might still be fashionable (or perhaps you don’t care about that sort of thing anyway) but is the color still vibrant? Does it stretch in weird places from years of laundry? If you’re torn on tossing a piece of clothing, TRY IT ON, and then really consider the fit of the garment. This would also be a good time to revisit question one, would I buy it again?
For mementos: Could I take a photo of this item and be just as happy revisiting the memory that way? Most memories of people, places and times are stored within your brain, not a physical item. That should come as a relief, because it means that just seeing the item is often more than enough for you to have a full-blown walk down memory lane. Translation: take the photo it’ll last longer. Seriously! Take a photo of the item and let it go. When you want to revisit those memories you’ll have it on your phone, which is way easier than dragging out that box in the basement anyways!
Bonus: Listen, if you can’t bring yourself to ditch your grandfather’s favorite tie, or the yearbook from the glory days of high school, it’s ok. Keeping some mementos is not a bad thing. But try and scale it down to one box of items instead of five!
If you can bring yourself to ask those questions about each item in your collection, I can guarantee you will have an easier time tossing or donating the items that no longer serve you. As a bonus, make a promise to yourself that you will not buy anything new until you declutter some of the old. If that aint some serious motivation, I don’t know what is!
FEELING MOTIVATED? LET'S GET STARTED
I will be reporting in on Instagram throughout the month of February with progress of my decluttering journey and I hope that you will join along with me using the #LPAdecluttering hashtag. I’m not promising to be perfect or to even be finished at the end of the month, but I can guarantee I will be working towards a less clutter filled home. Because lets face stress is stress, and my mood has NEVER been improved by a clutter filled room.
Kick start your decluttering journey by starting with a good ol' fashioned the planner destash! I’ve created a fun printable to get you motivated to declutter that raskog cart! Get yourself ready for the next destash table at your local meet up or donate supplies to a local school. I can promise you those teachers are so grateful for stationery and crafting supplies!
Download this printable here. PDF includes full letter size, as well as B6 Rings, B6 TN, A5 Rings, Half Sheet TN, Personal Wide Rings and HP Classic. This is a single file printable, each page is labeled with its size and crop marks. Simply print the page that matches your size. If your size isn't offered, page one is a full letter size that anyone can use! Be sure to print "Actual Size" or at 100% for correct dimensions.
As always, this download is for personal use only. Please do not share or make any edits to it. If you have a friend who would also like a copy, please direct them to my site to download. Please be kind and enjoy this freebie as it is.