My Minimalist Tips for Decluttering

Connie Riet
by Connie Riet

Decluttering is about creating space for the things that matter most. I have been decluttering for over 15 years, and it has taught me so much.

Today, I want to share my minimalist tips for decluttering, or rather, perspective shifts that will help you declutter your life and truly make the most out of it.

Why I declutter

I began intentionally decluttering 15 years ago in 2008, when I started my minimalist journey.

Over those 15 years, what I have come to realize is that decluttering is far more than just purging my possessions and getting organized.

It is really a path of self-discovery and enlightenment. It taught me to let go of my past, to be more in the present moment, and also really welcome the possibilities of the future.

Decluttering helped me figure out my values and honor the person I am.

Arranging flowers

Intentions behind decluttering

I believe that decluttering really reflects not only my physical possessions, but also my state of mind.

In 2008, my house, just like my life, was messy and chaotic, full of things that did not add value to my life. As I looked around my home, it made me feel stressed out and overwhelmed.

Decluttering was not an easy task. Emotions surfaced as I went through belongings that held sentimental value but no longer served a purpose.

I had to learn to just let go so that I could start creating a life that was intentional and meaningful.

Detach your identity from stuff

As I began to sift through my possessions, I was surprised at how much sentimental value I was placing in objects.

I had to realize that my memories and my emotions are not held in an object. They are always with me in my heart, my mind, and my spirit.

As each unnecessary item found its way out of my life, a weight seemed to lift off my shoulders. I felt a sense of liberation as if I were shedding layers of chaos that had been holding me back, and I could finally breathe.

Labeling boxes

Self-worth is not in things

During my decluttering journey, I realized that self-worth is not equal to the possessions that I own.

I began to see that my true worth and value was not in things, but in who I was, the characteristics I had, my relationships with my family and friends, and the life that I was living.

This newfound understanding liberated me from seeking validation through my possessions and allowed me instead to focus on my inner self and my qualities.

Do not wait for the perfect time

I discovered that waiting for the perfect time is useless because there is never a perfect time.

Embracing the imperfections of life allowed me to gradually create a more organized and peaceful space without waiting for the elusive perfect moment to do it.

The best time to start creating a positive change in my life is right now.

Organizing table

Ask questions

Decluttering really allows me to reassess what is important to me and what my values are through a series of self-inquiry questions.

To become more mindful about the things I choose to bring into my possession, I ask myself: is this serving me? Do I love it or need it? Will it enhance my life or enlighten me on a deeper level?

Create a plan

If I could go back in time by 15 years and start my decluttering journey over, I would definitely start by making a plan. I would set very specific goals for each space based on the level of clutter and the time that it would realistically take me to get through.

Next, I would devise a realistic timeline, breaking down the decluttering process into manageable chunks, gathering all the necessary tools, such as storage bins, trash bags, labels, to keep things organized during the process.

I have found that the most motivating thing for me when I am decluttering is to envision how it is going to be when I am done - a peaceful, serene, clutter-free environment.

Organizing kitchen drawer

Make small steps

It can be extremely overwhelming to try to embark on decluttering an entire home. Just letting go of that notion that I have to do everything in one weekend was very freeing.

I began small and integrated decluttering into my weekly routine. Understanding that the process, no matter how small, is still progress, was a huge step in the right direction.

Keep what you want

When decluttering, it is key to honor how you feel about your possessions. Really ask yourself, are these things that bring me joy, that improve my life somehow, or enhance my future? If they are, keep them.

Nobody knows what things and possessions mean to you but you. Keeping the items that truly mean a lot to you is a great way to have your home reflect your true authentic self.

Organizing closet

Like an onion

I initially found decluttering my home extremely overwhelming, and something that really helped me was to take a layers approach.

I like comparing decluttering to an onion. You start with the outside layer, which is always the easiest, like my wardrobe for instance, that I could declutter quickly and easily.

Then, you move to areas of your life that are a bit more complex.

As I let go of unnecessary items, I noticed a newfound sense of clarity and freedom that was taking hold. With each layer shed, I made space for new experiences, personal growth, and meaningful connections. It is an ongoing process, but one that has immensely shaped my life.

Minimalist tips for decluttering

Decluttering is not just about eliminating material objects. It is about reconnecting and reassessing what my priorities and values are, letting go of the past, being in the present, and looking forward to the future.

I hope that these tips for decluttering will inspire you to embark upon your own decluttering journey if you have not done so yet.

And if you have, what is the most valuable lesson that you have learned while decluttering? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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2 of 4 comments
  • Rene Rene on Dec 19, 2023
    I really resonate with this article. I don't have a lot of time in front of me but so much in the past. I now can take a deep breath and let go of so much stuff. Stuff , I probably at one time thought that others may want. I can let go of little tickets of memories, freely now without remorse. Thank you for bring this to light.
  • Liz Liz on Mar 06, 2024
    One of the tips that helps with memories is to take photos of "stuff" that has had meaning - and you can even put them on a rolling digital display and enjoy looking at it from time to time and thinking about the friend or family member who gifted you the item you no longer have to dust! Also, consciously re-purpose things. I save all the really special greeting cards we receive, but the generic ones I cut into postcard size and mail them to family and church friends. Young family members love to get personalized mail, too, and sometimes I can cut off the "hope you get well" or birthday message and make a more generic card. Postcard postage is much cheaper than regular postage, too!