5 Tips for Decluttering Your Space
By Michelle S. Lazurek, Crosswalk.com
One of the New Year's resolutions many people make is to get more organized and declutter their homes. Although the feeling of de-cluttering may feel overwhelming, it can give you a sense of peace and mental well-being as you seek to simplify your life and eliminate unnecessary items that are taking up unnecessary space in your home. God wants us to simplify our lives so we can make more room to spread the gospel message. But often, we are so overwhelmed by the number of possessions we hold that we spend more time organizing our spaces, only to find they're a mess the next month. If you want to get more organized this new year, vow to not only organize your space but also de-clutter it and get rid of stuff for good.
Here are five tips for decluttering your space:
1. Donate It
One of the easiest ways to get rid of your stuff is to donate it to your local charity or goodwill store. Thrift stores are always looking for good quality items to sell so they can make a profit and also keep costs low for the consumer. Many thrift store organizations like Goodwill or Salvation Army offer tax receipts for your donated items. Be sure to get your tax receipt and claim it at the end of the year as a charitable donation. There are some privately owned Christian thrift stores that work to support people recovering from addiction, battered women, or victims of other crimes. By giving items to these stores, you're not only getting rid of excess stuff, but you're also working to make a difference in your community.
2. Sell It
Some consignment stores also take good quality, lightly used items and give you back either cash or store credit. You can continue to donate your items and store up the credit to use for gifts for Christmas, birthdays, or other special occasions. You can also get the cash, put it in a jar, and save it for that dream vacation or other special possession you've always wanted. If you are a young mother, this can be especially advantageous, as you can store up the credit to buy clothes and other baby items that your child will use temporarily only to move on to new toys when he or she gets bored. As your child grows in different stages, you will have the money set aside to be able to get them new toys to keep their minds busy and help improve their cognitive development. No matter which route you choose, do it in such a way that creates a reward or incentive for you to de-clutter your space. Seek to store the minimal number of items you need so you don't have to keep de-cluttering and wasting your time and energy. There are also apps like Poshmark, eBay, and other seller-friendly websites, or you might be able to sell good quality items at a reasonable price. This might prove to be a successful side job for you as you seek to make a little extra cash and minimize your clutter simultaneously.
3. Play a Game
While organization and de-cluttering may feel like a chore, make it fun by playing a game. For example, Facebook posts memes challenging people to de-clutter large amounts of possessions. For example, there was a forty-day challenge during lent where people could throw away one bag of items a day for the next forty days until Easter. There are also thirty-day challenges where you set the amount of bags you fill, or you can take one area of your home per day and declutter it. Set a reasonable goal, and you may find it's easier and more fun than you expected.
4. Ask a Question
A few years ago, a woman named Marie Kondo came out with her first book titled The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In it, she challenged readers to look at each possession they owned and ask themselves the following question: “does this item give me joy?” if not, she challenged readers to throw it away. If it did, she encouraged them to keep it. This book gained popularity as people de-cluttered their spaces by keeping only the possessions that gave them joy. While her religious philosophies differ from that of many Christians, Christians who want to adopt this method should ask themselves a different question: “do I need this item to help me live a simple life so I can use my time to spread the gospel?” If the answer is yes, keep the item. If the answer is no, throw the item away.
Feel free to keep items of sentimental value, such as items from your kids’ childhood or your childhood or a sentimental keepsake from your marriage. Give yourself one or two storage containers and fill them with as many sentimental keepsakes as possible. However, when those bins are filled, the rest of the items go. This will help you prioritize which items are of more value to you than others. While some of your items may be priceless due to sentimental value, you can't keep everything, and you won't take it with you when you die. Keeping your house as simple as possible will give you more time throughout the year to enjoy activities that provide rest and recreation rather than more manual labor and headache.
5. Buy Only What You Need
Once you are done de-cluttering your space, it will be tempting to let it fill again with other possessions you don't need. Make a New Year's resolution to buy only what you need this year. Retail therapy is a popular way for people to relieve their stress and give the appearance of keeping up with the Joneses. But Jesus always wants us to live the simplest life possible and carry the least amount of stuff. Jesus had no home, he ate at other people's homes, and he kept a simple life so he could do the work of his father. By adopting this method, we will save more time and headaches having two re-organize needless possessions repeatedly. The next time you're at the store, even if it's the grocery store, ask yourself, “do I really need this item?” If the answer is no, put it away. If the answer is yes, purchase it.
Organization and decluttering can feel like a chore, and if you have a lot of stuff, it can certainly be one. But by allowing this to be the last time you de-clutter your home, not only will you create space for you to enjoy more time with your loved ones and exercise the gift of hospitality, but you will also achieve mental well-being by de-cluttering your mind and soul of all the extra possessions you manage. We are blessed to live in a world, especially a country like the United States, with too many possessions. But God has called us to be good stewards of everything he has given us, including what we own. By living a simple life, God promises he will provide for our every need more abundantly than we could ever hope.
Photo Credit: ©Getty/TG23
Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.