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New Year and less Sh*t. Minimizing Clutter to Maximize Intentions.

I started 2024 with a short break after the end of a busy season and found myself ready to set forth on a more focused journey. I didn't set any goals / new years resolutions or anything I just woke up an decided I have too much stuff. Do you ever feel that way? I think I fall in line somewhere between a minimalist and a maximalist in the aspect I want to be minimal but also I love things. As you can imagine little trips here and there bringing a thing or two home can really start to collect after a while.




The idea of a cluttered home seems to clash with so many of my business values of minimizing waste and living more simply. When I sat and thought about that for a bit I realized that after having connected with so many of my customers that many of us are very similar so maybe you too might want to be more minimalistic but you seem to have too much sh*t filling your home too! If you'd like to learn how to either de-clutter with intention, or be more mindful about what is coming into your space then keep reading.


Sorting through the Chaos


There are lots of ways to get started but as someone that can easily start a project and not so easily finish it... there is one sure fire method. Step one starts with picking a room in your home that is the farthest from the door to leave. Now you want to completely sort through that room and put anything that you no longer want/need in one box by the door. If you don't have a box then a laundry hamper works just as good! Any items that do not belong in that room go in a separate box or bin. Once you have fully sorted through the room and hopefully put a few things in your boxes, you move to the next room. Before you start adding to the box of "doesn't belong here" remove any items you pulled from the previous room and find them a new home in the current room if applicable. Example you found a hair brush in your living room, and your second room is the bathroom so you put it in the bathroom. Repeat the process until you make it to the door of your home.


This can be a BIG project so section it out to a room a day if you need to or even a room a week. Find a suitable goal based on your energy, time, and space. If you need help dividing up tasks per room please see the list below.


Minimizing Clutter room by Room


Break it up into smaller tasks. Here are some spots to check room by room to help you on your decluttering journey for less sh*it and more intention. Always keep in mind the purpose of the room and if the items inside it suit that purpose. This will help you be more intentional when you are taking part in certain activities in that room.


  • Bedroom


  • Spare Bedroom


  • Office


  • Gym/Library/Craft room


  • Kitchen

  • Living room


  • Dining room

-dishes, placemats, table clothes


  • Closets

-what's the purpose (cleaning, linen, toys, games, winter gear?)


  • Mudroom

-extra shoes, things that should go in the house or to the car


  • Laundry Room

-missing sockies

-runaway dust bunnies


  • Hallways

  • Bathroom

  • Garage

-tools

-storage totes

-seasonal furniture, equipment, clothing, decorations

-your car


  • Attic

-things you actually use, things that are special keepsakes, and things to let go of


  • Basement

-see attic


Parting Ways

Once you have made it to the door of your home with the two boxes (maybe more) then you have some decisions to make. The box that we have been calling the "doesn't belong here box" might be the easier one to look at first. If you made it through every room in your home and still don't have a place for items in that box... do you still need those items? Maybe they really belong in the second bin. The second bin is where you have some choices to make. These items are things you no longer want or need. Yes, you could put these items in the trash and be done with it but before you do, let me share with you some more sustainable practices to purge these items from your home.


Some items can be listed for sale and stored in a particular area of you home that's maybe close to the door. For example I have a mud room that's right by the door and I usually keep items that are being donated, recycled, etc. there so they don't get tucked away in the house somewhere. Sometimes items listed for sale can sit around for a while so if you want to get rid of these things quicker or don't want to deal with the hassle of messaging potential buyers, but still want to try and make some money back from your items then try a local consignment store or pawn shop. If you do this cleaning spree during nice weather you might even consider having a garage sale.


A few ways to part ways without trying to make a bit of money is to list them for free on social sites, try setting them curbside (weather permitting) with a free sign, or share them on a local Buy Nothing page for your neighbors. I use that last one a lot. Finally if you still have some things left over or those previous options didn't pique your interest then try donating to a non-profit charity or thrift shop. A homeless coalition might appreciate unopened hygiene products you had in excess. A food pantry might accept unopened food items that are still before their best by date. A school teacher in your area might like some art supplies if you have any laying around.


Less Sh*it, More Intention


I hope that you were able to use this method that worked so well for me to clean your own home of possessions that no longer served a purpose to you. I also hope you were able to pass them along to others that may be able to use them rather than landfilling them. I know that having so much less clutter in my spaces has seriously transformed how much easier it is for me to tidy up each day. Having a need and tidy space has also reduced my stress by being more peaceful and less chaotic. Now when I am looking to buy things I will think more mindfully prior to making that purchase.


How can we be mindful about purchases going forward? I find it boils down to a few different simple questions. The first question people usually as is "do I need it" which usually the answer is no. But, the word "but" might pop into your head frequently after asking yourself "do I need it". If that's the case then I have a few other questions you might want to consider asking yourself.


  1. What purpose will this serve?

  2. Where will it live in my home?

  3. Is this something timeless or just a trend?

  4. How long will I use this for?

  5. How often will it get used?


Some methods I have found useful are taking a picture of the item, going to the place I would use the item or store the item and look at the picture to see if it really fits. I can't recall whose idea this was, but I once saw someone that suggested that while in a store you take the item you want to purchase and set it on the shelf next to the trash cans. I believe it helps you visually decide whether you would really end up using it or if its something that might end up in the trash (or donation etc.). Often time's retailers set up their merchandise in themed displays that make them look so amazing but once you pull that item away from the theme you might see it doesn't really make sense anymore, or wouldn't fit in with where you had in mind for it at home. If I ever do purchase an item that and I bring it home and it doesn't work out then I put it back in the bag and leave it by the door for return so it doesn't get lost in the house.


These methods and questions can be great tools when shopping for yourself but when shopping for others it can be a bit trickier. Try not to fall into the trap of getting a gift for the sake of getting a gift and try some of these tips from our past blog post "Local Gift Giving Guide to Warm Hearts, not the Planet: Sustainable Gift Ideas".

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