Declutter 2021 Items in 2021

One thing that's not on my own goals list is to declutter, but of course you know that's because I've already done it. Nothing survives long in this house if it's not being used, because I prefer a minimalist, clean look. Having clutter just makes it harder to clean, harder to find things, harder to spend time doing things you love because you're so busy managing a messy home. Is decluttering on your 2021 to do list? If so, why not set a big goal - to declutter 2021 items from your home.

That seems like a huge number but imagine how freeing it would be to get that many unused things out of your physical space you live in every day. Over the years, I've gotten rid of much more than that, so let me share some tips to make it a little easier:

Mindset Tips

Focus on what you're gaining, not losing. It's very easy to focus on the negative, like all the things you may be losing when you declutter. It's easier to stick with the comfort of what you know. So it's important to shift your mindset and instead focus on what you will be gaining - a clean home, more free time, less stress, more money.

Focus on what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of. Many of us start a declutter by looking for the things that we can get rid of as quickly as possible. Instead, open your closet or cabinet and pull out the things you want to keep. Reach for those things you know you love and wouldn't want to live without - the Marie Kondo 'does it spark joy?' method. By doing it this way, you can easily see how much is left and know that everything else is negotiable. If you loved it, you would have pulled it out already. It's much simpler to then declutter these items.

Create your vision for your home. If you're starting a big declutter project, it's likely because you're fed up with things always being out of place and not being able to find what you're looking for. So spend some time online (Pinterest is a great spot) creating a vision board of your ideal home. What do you want it to look like? What organizing ideas do you love? When you feel like quitting or pushing off declutter decisions to another day, go back to these images to remind yourself of the end goal.

Ban shopping (temporarily). Don't go out and buy organizing bins. Don't run out and replace the ripped leggings you just recycled. Get comfortable having less. Part of the process is learning how to exist in a more empty space and that can take some time to get used to. It also takes time to learn that you don't actually need as much as you thought you did - you're probably fine with three pairs of leggings instead of four.

Break up the process. Tackling the whole house at once will be too daunting. Break it up by room or category of items (i.e. clothing, toiletries, or even further down in shorts, makeup) so you can work more systematically and keep from getting overwhelmed. Since decluttering often involves taking everything out of a storage space before returning the most loved items, it really does 'get worse before it gets better.' If you only do one small area or category at a time, you won't find your bed covered with the contents of your closet at bed time.

Get the stuff out in a timely manner. The longer the decluttered items sit in your home, the more likely you are to second guess yourself and keep more things. Once the decision is made, get the stuff out as quickly as possible, to the donation center or the recycle, whatever the case may be. Be realistic about selling items - it may indeed have resale value, but it's a very time consuming process. Save your efforts for the items worth the most money. If you have an actual yard sale date scheduled in the calendar, move items to the yard sale section of your home and keep everything in opaque containers, like black garbage bags.

Where can you look for clutter?

I'm sure you already know where the problem areas in your house are, but it's nice to have a list to check off when you're nearing the end and need to find a few more things. Here's where I always find unused items:
  • The bathroom - makeup, skincare, hair care, we always collect these products we end up not using for one reason or another. And these things have expiration dates!
  • Closet - clothes, shoes, and accessories seem to be easy things to collect. 
  • Holiday decor - tastes change, things break, it's common to have some decor left in the boxes when you're done decorating for a season. Let those things go.
  • The kitchen - so many tools do the same thing, there's just no need for all the specialty items that have one function. Get rid of the banana slicer and just use a knife.
  • Office - or wherever you store papers. Almost everything is digital now and you just don't need to keep paperwork as long as you think you do. While you're at it, think about digitizing those photos and decluttering your paper copies.
  • Linen closet - you need way less towels and sets of sheets than you think you do. If you just have one set of sheets, you can wash and dry and put them right back on the bed, never having to fold another fitted sheet in your life.

How should you count items?

It depends on how much clutter you have. 2021 seems like a big number but less so when you think it's between 165 and 170 items each month. If you don't have a long way to go with your clutter, then go ahead and count each piece of paper out of your filing cabinet as it's own item. Overwhelmed by a very messy house and starting this declutter thing for the first time? Count pages as a set, anywhere from 10 to 100 pages as a single item leaving. If I were to declutter right this second, I would need to count every paperclip as a separate item. To see a big impact though, when I started the process, I definitely counted a set of 12 colored pencils as a single item!

Hopefully that helps you on your clean home journey. Could you find 2021 things to declutter from your home this year?

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