Decluttering is all the rage right now and with good reason. As a culture, we tend to have too many things. Not only are our homes packed with items; our days are jammed with obligations, too.  Our stress levels are higher than they should be in part because we’re so overloaded. One of the best ways to manage stress is to slow down and start decluttering.

Start Small

Your home didn’t become cluttered overnight so it’s not going to become decluttered overnight, either. Start with baby steps. Begin with one drawer or one closet or one room, depending on how much you have to clear away. Each day, take 15 to 30 minutes to devote to one area. Decide whether items should be tossed, sold, donated, or kept. If you plan to keep an item, assign a place for it and keep it there.

Stem the Paper Flow

Are your living spaces packed with magazines and books you plan to read “someday”?  Do you have bills, bank statements, photographs, or other items stacked in piles around the house? Start whittling away at the paper. Recycle magazines and donate books. Stop subscriptions for magazines you never read. Switch to digital copies of your bills. View them, record them, and then delete them. Throw out bad photos and store the rest in photo boxes.

Be Realistic

There are only so many hours in each day for us to accomplish things. Are you holding onto five totes of candy- making supplies, for example, because you really want to make candy one day?  If you haven’t used something in several years, ask yourself if you will really have the time or desire to use it in the future.

No New Stuff

Until you declutter, stop bringing new, non-essential items into your house.   If something breaks, ask yourself if you really need to replace it right away. Can you borrow, or get along with out it for awhile? The fewer things you bring into your home, the easier it will be to declutter.

If you really want to declutter, don’t put it off. Make a date with yourself and take that first step. The next step will be easier.

Do you have decluttering tips?