It’s that time of year again! The sun is shining, flowers are blooming and Daylight Savings is giving us a headache. In other words, spring is here! With longer days and spring fever kicking in, a lot of us feel the urge to do some spring cleaning. This year, in addition to cleaning and straightening, consider reducing as well.
In the spirit of spring cleaning, let’s talk about reducing our belongings – or purging or decluttering – whatever you want to call it is fine. Reducing is one of the most satisfying things about getting organized.
When you reduce your belongings, everything becomes easier. You have fewer things to clean and organize. When you open your closet, instead of standing there trying to figure out what to wear, you can easily choose from pieces you truly love because they flatter you and fit your style.
When you open your bathroom cabinet, instead of pawing through a mass of products, you simply pick up the one thing you are looking for because you’ve removed the excess and what’s left is exactly what you need. Reducing simplifies your life by saving time and eliminating the stress associated with sorting through too much stuff.
In addition to making your life easier, you also release your things for someone else’s use. For example, that slow cooker you bought but only used once? It can now be used by someone who otherwise would have purchased a new one. This is another benefit of reducing: you reduce the waste associated with the production, packaging and shipping of new products because you have allowed someone to buy used instead.
So, how to get started? I suggest starting with your clothes. This is the easiest type of item to reduce. Collect every item of clothing and put it in one place. Pick up each item and decide: do you truly love it? Does it make you happy, or as the tidying expert, Marie Kondo, says, does it spark joy?
The trick is to decide what to keep rather than what to get rid of. You don’t have to think too much about how often you wear it or anything like that.
Just pick it up and pay attention to how you feel when you touch it. Do you smile? Do you think about how wearing it makes you feel good? Do you feel nothing? Do you feel guilt? Use these impulses to make your decision.
Only keep the things that make you happy. Don’t keep things out of guilt! You don’t need to feel guilt when you open your closet every day!
When you decide what you love and want to keep, you just release the rest. It’s that easy! Make three piles: keep, donate or sell. You can skip the sell pile if you don’t want to deal with this step, but if you have expensive pieces in good condition you may want to consider selling, trading or consigning them.
Once you have made your decision about what to keep, you can organize. There is no point in organizing without reducing. The mess will just come back if you still have too much stuff.
After you have reduced and organized, you will find it is much easier and faster to get dressed in the morning! You won’t have to stare at your closet, searching for something you feel like wearing because you know everything in it looks good on you and makes you happy. You will also have less laundry to do! Your closet will give you a sense of peace and calm rather than frustration.
To keep your closet organized, apply the same process before deciding whether to buy something. Instead of buying on impulse, think about each purchase. Does it truly flatter you? Do you feel happy when you try it on? If not, don’t buy it!
Also, try to buy used clothing when possible. Clothing takes a lot of resources to produce: oil, water, pesticides, etc., and it also produces water and air pollution during production and shipping. This is coming from someone who used to binge buy clothes so believe me, it is totally possible to make this change.
Happy spring and happy reducing!