Staying motivated once you’ve finished the initial major decluttering of your home can be difficult. The old habits of accumulation start to creep back in over time, many times without us even noticing. Once you have gone through decluttering, it is important to continue to make it a regular part of your life. As you intentionally think about every new item that comes into your home, you will want to make sure it will add value to your life and be used or enjoyed on a regular basis.
Decluttering is an ongoing process. Because our needs in life are always changing, just because you may use something now, doesn’t mean you will next month, or next year. This also applies to the things you keep for enjoyment and sentimental reasons as well. Over time, things change, our memories change, and we can let items go, replacing them with new sentimental items.
If you have gone through the whole Decluttering 101 series, hopefully you’ve seen a lot of progress and personal benefits from the process of purging your home of items that are no longer needed or useful to you. Throughout the process, you may have noticed how much more space you have, the mental satisfaction and peace decluttering brings as well as less cleaning and upkeep. These factors should be motivation to continue the decluttering in your home, but sometimes after seeing the initial results, we are inclined to take a break and just enjoy what we have completed. While a break is nice, if it is too long you will start to see ‘clutter creep’ start moving back in. To avoid this happening, I’ve implemented some habits in my daily life to keep items moving through our house and out the door to avoid having to start all over with deep decluttering.
I keep a donation box right inside my garage where I can just open our door and toss the items into it as I am going throughout my days. Little things add up, and I’ll find some days I toss in a kitchen spatula we haven’t used in six months, or a hand towel stuffed so far back in a drawer I didn’t even know we still had it. Over time, our box gets full and it is time for another trip to the thrift store to empty it.
I instituted the ‘one in one out’ rule for myself when making purchases, especially clothing, kitchen items, hair accessories, jewelry and shoes. Whenever I am tempted to purchase a duplicate of any item I already own, I take a moment to think about which item back at home it will be replacing. Many times I decide I am actually satisfied with what I have and don’t really need the new item.
I still enjoy having longer decluttering sessions even though my home is fairly purged at this point with unnecessary items. Once a month I will go through a closet, the garage shelves or under my bathroom sinks to make sure I haven’t lost track of what is tucked away. I also take the opportunity as the seasons change to do a deeper decluttering of my seasonal wardrobe pieces.
Another habit I have cultivated is reading on a regular basis about intentional living, simple living, essentialism, minimalism, mindfulness and other topics that promote living a simpler life and support the ‘less is more’ idea. Reading others writings about the subject helps to reinforce my own feelings and keep the ideas at the front of my mind. Let’s face it, decluttering and owning less is going against the grain in our society, so reading about others helps us find that extra motivation and support when we know we aren’t alone.
As you continually purge items you don’t use, or stopped using, and at the same time be very intentional about new items you bring into your home, you will continue to see the benefits of decluttering, and feel the motivation that comes as a result.
This post finishes up my Decluttering 101 series. You can find the rest of the posts in the series here-