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Posted on Sep 6, 2013 in Inspiration, My Journey | 6 comments

8 Things to Know About Simplifying Your Home

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In August, I committed to do an end-of-summer cleanup in my house.  I have de-cluttered rooms and closets in my home before, but never the whole house at once.  I thought it would be fun, and I would be able to clean the house thoroughly as I got rid of things I don’t need, and organized along the way.  Looking back, I was surprised to learn some things about myself and cleaning in general.

Everyday cleaning is easier now

When there is plenty of space to put things away, keeping things cleaned up is less of a chore.  Folding and putting away clean laundry, my least favorite chore, is so much easier when there is space in every drawer and plenty of empty hangers.  This is like a gift for myself every day

My house does not look much different

This is partly because we don’t see things when we look at them all the time (like the books on the bookshelf), but mostly, it’s because I had all the clutter put away.  It sounds crazy to have a place to put each piece of clutter, but it doesn’t have to be out of place to be extra stuff.  Strangely, the whole house FEELS different: lighter and more spacious.

It is easy to fill your house to the brim

Maybe we don’t notice clutter precisely because we have space to store it.  Over the years, it expands to fill the available space.  Maybe this is because it’s easier to put something away in a closet than to decide to let it go, and because we want to be tidy.  I have set up a place for things to go out of the house.  It’s a former recycling bin in the garage.  Now, I can put things away without having them linger.

You have more stuff than you think

Even though I live a fairly simple life compared with many people, I found a shocking number of things to give away.  Old coats, shoes that were never comfortable enough to wear all day.  These things can be used and enjoyed by someone else.

There are things you need hiding behind the stuff

I found things that I was not using that I kept and use regularly now.  I uncovered the de-humidifier that is now drying out the house so I can use the air conditioning less.  I found a hidden supply of beautiful soaps that are now in use in the shower.  The glass juice pitcher from the back of the cabinet is full of iced tea in the fridge right now.

 It feels great to let go of things you don’t need

Even though I don’t see them missing, I feel a burden lifted.  I found things that were broken, stained, and things that I did not like.  Some of these were given to me by people I let go of long ago.  These things can tie us to less happy times as well as happy ones.

This is an emotional process

Finding things from negative people who I no longer see was the worst part, but I remembered many happy moments picking up lovely mementos. Some of these I kept, and some I gave away, but, as we handle each item, many have a coating of dust and guilt.  Letting go of both makes a healthier, happier, simpler life.

It’s never really done

There were quite a few things that I was not sure about.  Many of those, I put back on the shelf.  Things come into our lives, and things flow out, and we will always have the option to clear out the bad feelings along with the clutter and dust.

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6 Comments

  1. Great compilation of lessons learned!! I moved into my home almost 10 years ago and during the clean out for a garage sale this summer came across boxes I had never unpacked from the orignal move. The boxes were primarily clothes that I hadn’t missed, didn’t fit or were outdated. Although I came across a few trinkets I was so glad to find, the items that were in decent shape were donated and the attic was empty. All of your lessoned learned applied to those boxes…emotions, room to store, house looks the same, etc…But the biggest change is that they are now off of my mind. The greatest change was the mental freedom of 1 less thing to tackle and sort through.

    • This is so true! The feeling of lightness is amazing. It seemed like a difficult task before I started, and once it was done, I wondered why I held on to those things so long.

  2. It is never really done.

    I love how you ended with this statement. In order to really enjoy my life, I have made some grand overhauls that enabled me to enjoy the smaller moments and day-to-day habits that allow me to maintain whatever it is that I accomplished – from losing several pounds by a complete diet revision to working part time after years of working myself into the ground.

    What a fine wrap up and synthesis of your hard work!

    • Thank you and congratulations! There is a balance between celebrating, and knowing that there is more ahead. For all of those things, the everyday actions add up to more than the one-time events.

  3. Hello, I am starting my own “whole house” clean out, and not for the first time. Each time I do this, I am amazed at how much there is to give up and give away. I find things that I once used, but no longer use!

    I hate to see something going to waste, and I love giving it away! Fortunately, I have a Salvation Army store just down the street, and they take just about everything.

    • Make sure to let us know how it goes! The nearby Salvation Army is my favorite place to drop off what I no longer need too. Those warm coats will be put to good use.

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