Different methods of decluttering
Four ways to declutter your home and take control of your life. If you’re feeling lost in all your clutter these methods might help.
If you’ve just started your minimalism journey and have started researching different methods of decluttering you’ve probably found out that there are many different ways to do this.
Starting this journey is intimidating enough, deciding what method to use may even make things more complicating. To get this ball rolling, let’s start with learning a little bit about a few different methods of decluttering. These four ways to declutter have been the biggest help in my journey!
Four ways to declutter and take control of your life
Let me introduce you to a few popular methods used when decluttering. These are some of the most known methods and highly popular in the minimalism community.
Recently a Netflix hit, Mari Kondo and her method called ‘KonMari’ has everybody buzzing about minimalism. Her method first became popular when her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up came out. The book has been sold in over four million copies so it’s no surprise that this method is so well known.
The basics of the KonMari method is that instead of deciding what to get rid of, you choose what to keep. Mari Kondo encourages people to categorize their belongings and then gather all their belongings in each category at a time and go through them. Each and every item. For example, get every pair of shoes you own. Hold them, maybe try them on and while doing so ask yourself this: “Does this (pair of shoes) spark joy in my heart?”
I like the basics of this method. The focus on positive feelings towards your belongings. You choose what brings you joy, what makes you feel good and declutter the rest. This method emphasizes the positive outcome of decluttering, in the end, you only have things you actually care about and enjoy in your environment.
The KonMari method is time- consuming and requires sorting through an entire household of stuff. You may need to bring out stuff from more than one or two locations of your house. For example, if you keep shoes in your foyer, your bedroom, and your storage you will have to go and collect all your shoes from all of the locations and then you can begin sorting through them. This has the potential of completely uprooting your home. Also, using this same question about every household item “Does this spark joy?” may seem a bit extreme. My colander doesn’t exactly spark joy being only that, a colander, but it’s a very useful thing and I want to keep it despite not sparking any joy in my heart.
2. The four-box method
This method is according to many is the most flexible way to declutter. It gives you plenty of time and space to declutter at your own pace.
The basis of this method is setting up four boxes somewhere in your apartment and label them: Put away, Give away, Throw away and Undecided. Now you simply can pick up clutter in a room and place it in one of the four boxes and then as each box fills up you can process the items in it according to the name on the box.
This method allows you some thinking space with the undecided box. You can simply put an item in the box and think about what you want to do with it and process it later. Not using categories also allows you to declutter anywhere in your house when you want to. For instance, if you find an item in your kitchen drawer you never use and you are technically decluttering the bathroom, there’s nothing stopping you from taking that item and put it in the box.
Having the undecided box is very nice but it can become a problem if you start putting everything in it. It could be good for people who have difficulty making decisions to come up with some kind of rule regarding the undecided box. For example, if something has stayed in the undecided box for a week/month it has to be categorized to another box.
3. The Minimalist Game
The Minimalist Game was introduced by Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn, better known as The Minimalists. In this method, the aim is to make decluttering a little bit more fun and make a game out of it. It’s highly popular and hundreds and even thousands of people join in the game every month. To make things even more interesting many use social media to hold themselves accountable by using the hashtag #minsgame to post pictures of what they are decluttering.
The basics of this method are that the number of things you declutter corresponds to the day of the month. One item on the first day, two on the second and so forth. By the end of the month, you will have removed over 496 items from your home if you follow the game to the end. You can even make things more interesting by challenging a friend or family member and see who keeps going for longer.
This is a pretty easy way to declutter. It doesn’t require as much heartful thinking as the KonMari method seems to do. By the end of the month, you will be rid of almost 500 items and you can keep on playing as many months as you like. Another positive aspect of this method is that it starts slowly and builds up over time. This allows you to build confidence in your decision making and your journey.
A big downside to this method is that you have to stay consistent every day or you will fall behind. Just like with a computer game the difficulty level rises each day and it can be difficult to keep up unless you are keeping up with the pace. The game also gets more difficult towards the end and might feel a little bit overwhelming, if you are not organized. Imagine coming home after a hard day at work and you still have to find 27 items to declutter that day. The possibility of making quick and not so thought out decisions increases and you might find yourself decluttering things that later on you regret, all in the name of keeping up with the game.
4. The Closet Hanger Method
This method was apparently made famous by none other than Oprah. It’s a good way to help you decide what to declutter from your closet. This method works best for clothes stored on hangers in a closet.
The basics of this method are to, for example, on the first day of a month, take all your hangers and face them all in the same direction. When you use an item of clothing throughout the month you place them back in the closet with the hanger facing the other way. That way you know what items you use on a regular basis and what you don’t use at all.
This method is very easy to implement and takes almost no time to get started. It’s also very straightforward and you will notice straight away what you are not using from your closet.
This method works best for clothes kept on hangers and doesn’t work as well for folded pieces in a drawer or on a shelf. It could also be challenging to come up with a way to use this method in other areas such as your kitchen or living room. And lastly, this method doesn’t allow room for items like seasonal clothing or clothes you use infrequently.
Time to get started
Now you know a little bit more about minimalism. You know what minimalism is, and a few ways to declutter. It’s time to choose a method and start your minimalism journey.