There is one simple rule for decluttering your home, office, and life:
Get rid of one thing. Every day.
I don’t care how trivial. Heck, I am cool with you discarding one pair of socks. That counts, in my opinion.
Now, it goes without saying, that the key for this rule to work? You HAVE TO rid yourself of ONE THING PER DAY. No matter what.
Removing one pair of socks over the course of a whole week isn’t going to have an impact. You need to do this EVERY DAY. One thing. Just one thing.
Here’s what you’re going to find: This will feel tremendously freeing. You will IMMEDIATELY feel the weight lifting off of your shoulders.
Even if you remove just one pair of socks per day.
And you’ll also find that you’ll build momentum too.
Removing the excess clutter from your life will be important, but what you are really striving for here is achieving that feeling of freedom.
Trust me, it is a glorious thing…
So, where did this little rant come from? My wife and I moved to Chicago earlier this year, and live in a simple, two bedroom, two bath apartment. Lots of people I communicate with (especially at our age) simply cannot imagine living in an 1,100 square foot space.
And they were amazed to hear that we recently moved from one apartment to another in four days. And I don’t mean moved all of our stuff out of the old apartment and moved all the boxes into the new, and then spent days or weeks reorganizing all the stuff.
I am talking about four days to get everything put back into its place. Four days.
How did we do it?
Simple. Over the years, we’ve decluttered. And now own only what we need and treasure.
In my view, most people are stuck in a large space because they simply can’t bear the burden of dealing with all the crap they’ve accumulated over all those years.
You know who you are. The garage is a storage unit, not a place to keep your vehicles. Attic? Full. Basement? Full of unpacked boxes from the last move. Storage units? So full of stuff you don’t even know what’s in there.
The ticket to freedom is removing one thing a day.
I don’t care if you throw the item into a trash bin. I don’t care if you load up the car with a pile of stuff to donate to GoodWill. I don’t care if you give it away. And I don’t care if you sell it.
When my wife Stephanie decides she no longer needs or wants an item, she’ll often sell it to an online boutique community. She’s sold a bunch of clothes, shoes, purses, and jewelry over the years.
Where do you start?
How about the junk drawer (you know the one I mean)? Clothes and shoes you never wear? All the junk in basements, attics, and storage units (if the item was important, would it really be in your basement, attic, or storage unit…packed into a dusty box)? And what about the kitchen? Do you really need three bottle openers?
And how to handle the family heirloom you secretly don’t want, but don’t have the guts to discard? Take a photo of it, and then donate it to someone who might actually value and use it. Why a photo? Because if you are honest with yourself, it’s the memory of the thing, not that actual physical object, that gives you good feelings.
And don’t forget to discard life events that clutter up your life. Those count too!
Like what you ask: That meeting over coffee that you don’t really want to do; A networking event where you won’t really meet any people important to your business; that “friend” who only takes and never gives back; or that work colleague who asks for your help, not because they need your insight, but because they secretly want you to do most of the work.
Discard that stuff too. REMEMBER: mental clutter is as big of a problem as the physical stuff…
Here’s a final piece of advice: You will never be perfect. So stop worrying about it. Day by day. One thing at a time. An item that’s important to you today might not be in six months.
Long ago when I started to simplify my life, I tried the typical “Let me spend the weekend getting rid of everything” process.
I failed. Big time overwhelm.
But when I started to remove one thing per day, it began to happen. And you will feel just as free when you discard one thing as you will discarding an entire closet.
So get started. Slowly. You’ll find that you will look forward to opening the garbage can lid to mercilessly toss away that pair of old socks…