Want to know how organizing and decluttering can lead to a happier life? Guest blogger Donna Smallin Kuper of eBay shares her tips.
How might your life be different if you had less junk? By junk, I mean all that stuff you no longer love or use. You know, the stuff you just had to have that is now cluttering up your home.
Clutter steals space that could be put to better use. It also robs time and energy from your life. The more stuff you have, the more time it takes to clean your home and keep it organized. That leaves less time for doing what you love with the people you love.
1.) Keep Necessities Only
Change your surroundings and you can change your life. Decluttering is not about giving things up. It’s about gaining more space, more clarity, more freedom to live a life you love.
In the conspicuous consumption era of the 1980s, there was a popular saying: He who dies with the most toys wins. I think that when it comes to acquiring stuff, more people today believe that less is more.
With less stuff, you might decide that you could quite happily live in a smaller home to reduce your monthly expenses. If that new home was closer to where you work, you’d have a shorter commute and more time to play. Maybe you could even bike to work and get some exercise at the same time.
If you’re like most people, the more you make, the more you spend. What if you made a conscious decision to stop buying stuff you really don’t need? With the money saved, you could pay off debt, donate to a charitable cause or retire at a younger age.
TAKE ACTION: Try buying nothing except necessities for the next 30 days. Use the money you would have spent to finance something on your bucket list, pay extra toward a credit card bill or add to your savings account.
2.) Donate and Do Good
According to a market research study by NPD Group, the average American home contains $7,000 worth of unused items that could be sold to generate cash or donated as a tax write-off.
The resale market is booming with buyers looking to save money on everything from designer handbags to baby strollers to electronic gadgets and collectibles. Three years ago, my husband and I decided to sell everything and travel the country in our motor home. Anything we didn’t sell, we donated.
Donating everything to one charitable organization like Goodwill is the fastest, easiest way to remove clutter from your life. If qualified, you can write off non-cash contributions up to 50 percent of your adjusted gross income in a single year. That can result in significant tax savings. Saving money you would have had to shell out is the next best thing to making money, wouldn’t you agree? Plus, it’s a good feeling to know that as you’re helping yourself to tax savings, you’re helping others in need.
TAKE ACTION: Set up a donation box in a central location in your home. When the box is full, take it to the nearest charitable organization that accepts donations. Or visit www.donationtown.org to find a local charity that will pick up.
3.) Schedule Time to Declutter
Resolve to keep only those things you love and use and give yourself permission to let go of the rest. Yes, it can be a little scary. So you might just have to do it scared.
Afraid you might need “X” someday? Well, if you need it (and you probably won’t), you may be able to buy used, rent it or even borrow it from someone you know.
Think of decluttering as a gift you give to yourself. Even if you don’t relish the process, I guarantee that your future self will thank you. Do as much as you can as often as you can. When you get to the point where you have everything you need and nothing you don’t want, you’ll have created a life you love with less junk.
TAKE ACTION: Block out time on your calendar to clear clutter. Then show up for your appointment. Set a timer and get to it. Repeat.
Donna Smallin Kuper is the author of a dozen best-selling books on decluttering your life and cleaning out your closet. She also provides organizing and productivity advice on women's lifestyle for eBay.