Let’s discuss, readers: What is your best decluttering advice? What advice have you heard that changed your approach to clutter in general?
I’ve heard two things recently that have reset my mind about clutter — I’m still working on actually putting them into force and decluttering Casa Griffin, but hopefully will once I finish some projects and get a nice chunk of time to do that. We’ve previously talked about how to build good habits, the best systems for deep cleaning your own home, and even the book Atomic Habits (it’s so good!), but I don’t think we’ve talked about decluttering in far too long.
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Some of the Best Decluttering Advice I’ve Heard
In any event, here are two of the best things I’ve heard recently:
Your Clutter is a Silent To-Do List
This idea apparently comes from Fumio Sasaki’s 2017 book, Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism, which I may now have to read because the Amazon reviews are really great. The general idea is that when you leave something out where you can see it, you want to be reminded of something, and thus it becomes a silent to-do list.
I never really understood the Kondo approach of only keeping what “sparks joy” — but looking at my clutter from the invisible to-do list perspective makes a WHOLE lot more sense for why I should cut it down. Currently on my cluttered desk I see receipts I haven’t filed, gift cards I haven’t spent, various notes from various projects in no particular place… They’re telling me to 1) file them, 2) go spend them on something (and spend time researching, say, a new lamp or sconce for our bedroom), and 3) take photos of my notes and scribblings or otherwise synthesize them into a project folder. Or something.
So looking at clutter this way forces you to ask yourself — do you like this task? Is it serving you to have this constant reminder? What is a better way (or system) to deal with it?
The “There Are Only Five Things In This Room” Approach
Yes, yes, I saw this one on TikTok (from @domesticblisters), and it was kind of a game changer in a different way. She showed her very messy kitchen and how she spends 15 minutes every day cleaning it up — but in a very specific order. She explained that she tells herself, “There are only five things in this room,” and then deals with one thing at a time. The five things?
- dirty dishes
- things that have a place
- things that do not have a place
WHOA. I tried this approach to a cluttered room that had previously overwhelmed me, and sure enough, viewing the mess in this light was way less overwhelming.
So let’s hear it, readers — what’s your best decluttering advice? If you’ve had to “dig out” from clutter, what systems or general advice helped you? If you happily maintain a clutter-free home, what are your best tips for maintaining a lack of clutter?
Stock photo (very cluttered desk and chair) via Stencil.