If you’re feeling overwhelmed, drained and stressed while you are in your home, you need to seriously evaluate your space. Ideally, your home should be a place to relax, unwind and spend time with your loved ones. Your very own oasis!

If “stuff” has taken over, and you can’t take it anymore, here are a few tips to help YOU take back control over your space.

  1. Start with one room or a small area. Take a look at your space and try to envision how you really want it to look. We often think we need to buy new things to create the space we desire, but really we just need to get rid of the things that we no longer have use for. Try to picture your space clutter-free and use that as your motivation to get you going.
  2. Give yourself a good amount of time to get in there and evaluate what things you can easily get rid of. Be honest with yourself. Don’t just take items out and move them to another room, really pull out items that you no longer have a use for. Maybe you’re hanging on to an old treadmill? Passed down furniture? Old clothes that no longer fit? If these items don’t fill you with peace and happiness, it’s probably time for them to go.
  3. Create piles; DONATE, TOSS and KEEP. I know getting rid of things you’ve spent good money on is difficult. For most of us, this is the main cause of clutter and unhappiness. The “I bought it, I should use it” mentality is always present when confronted with getting rid of our things. Again, be honest. Maybe someone else would get some use out of it? Be charitable and consider donating any items that you really just don’t use. Whether we re-sell our possessions, donate them to charity, or give them to a friend, they are immediately put to use by those who need them.
  4. Stick with it. De-cluttering brings up many emotions when you are faced with having to really evaluate your belongings. Childhood memories, past relationships, failed diet and exercise plans, often bring up feelings of guilt, shame, loss and anger. As hard as it may be, acknowledge those feelings. Try to look at getting rid of these emotion-filled items as a way to move forward towards the life that suits you NOW.
  5. When in doubt, toss it out! If you’re just not sure if you love it or need it, if it’s something you forgot you had, you don’t need it. Remember your vision. Was this item in your vision? No? I didn’t think so. Toss, donate or sell.
  6. Shift your perspective. We’ve grown up in a culture of more is more, but to be truly happy, less really is more. More space for new experiences, more time and energy for you. Less stuff, less to clean, keep organized and maintain. You will have more time, space and energy to enjoy the things you want to do.
  7. Drop off or schedule your donation pick up ASAP. If you have a large amount to donate, many organizations will pick up for you and give you a receipt to write-off at tax time. Please consider donating old towels, pillows, blankets, pet toys and pet gear to your local animal shelter.
  8. Go easy on yourself. Your possessions weren’t collected in one day and your de-cluttering process can take anywhere from 3 days to 6 months depending on how much stuff, time and help you have. De-cluttering is a very difficult process for most. The process of de-cluttering also creates a big mess so be patient. You can DO IT!
  9. Enlist some help. If you started on your own and find it’s just too much for one person, try to motivate your spouse and kids to help you. If you live alone, ask a friend or a near-by relative. When you communicate effectively and ask for help, you may be surprised by who steps up.
  10. Schedule your next de-cluttering session. By committing time to de-cluttering, you strengthen motivation and embrace the goal of a clutter-free home. By keeping the de-clutter appointments, you will prove to yourself that your home, your sanity, your time and, most importantly, your happiness are worth the effort.

A clutter-free life is possible if you keep up with it. Parting with items can be emotional and stressful but with a little work, I promise you will reap the rewards of a space you can enjoy and relax in. The more you start to see the benefits, the more motivated you will be to continue on.