How to choose your next decuttering project – Some ideas.

What’s your next decluttering project?

Every home is different, and every place has its own challenges, of course.

And we ‘declutterers’ are all unique, we all have our special requirements and preferences and our personal ideas how our home should look like.

Only you can decide which areas in your home or which categories of belongings need some decluttering, and in which order your wish to organise the work.

If you are not sure where to begin, you could first do a little awareness-exercise:

Walk through your home and create a list of all those areas you don’t feel happy about because they look cluttered or disorganised. 

And then – don’t overthink it – you choose the problem area you wish to tackle first.

Areas to declutter – Some suggestions

Focus on the very personal stuff

You may decide to concentrate on the very personal areas in your home first. This will let you experience the benefits of your decluttering work immediately and personally.

Examples:

    • the content of your briefcase/handbag (click here for some inspiration);
    • the top of your dresser;
    • the drawer with your underwear;
    • your email inbox;
    • the make-up drawer;
    • etc.

Focus on open areas

It’s a good idea to focus on open areas in the beginning because you’ll very quickly see positive results of your work. This will keep your motivation up.

Examples of open areas:

    • the top of the dresser;
    • the top of the kitchen counter;
    • the dinner table;
    • the window sills;
    • the stuff in and around the shower and the bath tub;
    • etc.

Focus on one room

As soon as the open areas are clear and clean you could choose one room to declutter, step-by-step, over the course of a couple of days.

Divide the room into several smaller areas. During each decluttering session you work on just one area until it’s completely decluttered and re-organised.

Example – the kitchen: the fridge, the freezer, one or several drawers or boxes in the pantry, the cabinet under the sink; the pet supplies/toys, one or several drawers or cupboards with the pots and pans, the cutlery, the dishes, glasses, flatware, the drawer with the herbs and spices; etc.

Focus on one category

It is also possible to work on one category or sub-category of belongings at a time.

Examples:

    • gardening tools/equipment/supplies;
    • medicine, vitamins, and supplements;
    • linen and towels;
    • shoes;
    • the boxes/bags with the holiday decorations;
    • photo albums and lose photos;
    • hobby/craft supplies;
    • sports equipment;
    • the files and folders on the computer;
    • etc.

Have you got some ideas for your next project? 

Pick up your calendar and schedule the first decluttering session. And then stick to that appointment with yourself.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed now?

What if you feel like freaking out now because your list of projects seems to be overwhelming? Not doable? Exhausting?

Take a deep breath and calm down.

Remind yourself that you don’t have to do your decluttering projects in one go.

You can decide to take the small-steps decluttering approach.

Click here to learn how you can get all the work done, step-by-step.

If you have chosen your next decluttering project but now struggle to get the work done, we should talk.

Because you don’t have to do it all on your own.

Let’s find out how you can use my simple 3-step approach and my support to plan and realise your decluttering projects. Some expert tools and the support of experienced partner might be all you need to get it done.

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Your free consultation call with me

Preventing the influx of new clutter – A shopping ban can bring surprising insights. About you. And your stuff.

The purpose of daily-life experimentation

Creating and conducting experiments in our daily life is a playful way to develop greater self-awareness and to try out new ways of behaviour or testing the effects of new ways to solve problems.

Shopping bans – Experimenting with buying less

Shopping bans, for example, are a way of temporarily experimenting with drastically changed shopping behaviours.

Do you have any experience with shopping bans?

Some time ago I imposed a 3-months-shopping-ban on myself – no spending on books and clothes for 3 months.

This is what my shopping-ban exercise taught me:

    • I appreciate more what I have and I use it with more care and attention if – for a while – nothing new is coming in.
    • A lot of my buying behaviour is directed by spontaneous shopping decisions.
    • I can break this circle of ‘automatic’ money spending if I postpone the decision for some days.
    • Often, I no longer want to have the desired item and don’t buy it, without any regret.
    • And if I decide to buy it after some days of consideration, I appreciate it more consciously and gratefully.

How do you feel about experimenting with a shopping ban?

EXERCISE

Impose a shopping ban on yourself to understand your shopping decisions better or to change them.

    • Determine the duration of the shopping ban. (Two weeks? One months? Three?)
    • Transfer the start and finish dates of the ban into your calendar.
    • Decide what type of shopping is not covered by the ban (Groceries. One coffee-to-go per day? Eating out once a week?)
    • Start a little journal and keep notes of your experiences – Your thoughts and feelings and actions.
    • In situations where you didn’t stick to the ban. What did you think and feel while you were making the purchase? And after it?
    • In situations where you obeyed to your rules and didn’t buy something that you’d have bought without the ban. Was it difficult? Or easy? Why?
    • Start a list and take notes of the things you would like to buy. You can promise yourself to revisit this list and to purchase whatever you still desire to have after the end of the ban.

At the end of the ban, sit down and evaluate your experiences.

Summarize what the shopping-ban exercise taught you about yourself.

And your shopping behaviour.

And how you plan to make use of those learning-gains in the future.

But, what if

    • all this talking about experimenting with having less makes you feel uncomfortable and nervous?
    • you feel worried about the potential results (risks?) of your decluttering experiments?
    • you have no clear idea of other actions you could take to create a clutterfree home/life?

Let’s talk!

Let’s find out how you could use my decluttering approach and my personal support to create a clutterfree life. Without too much experimenting, but with a clear plan how to get it done.

So that you can enjoy more clarity, space, lightness. And more energy and joy.

Click this button to

Schedule your free consultation with me

How to separate the treasures from the clutter

What are your treasures?

We all own things we truly love, things that we cannot imagine parting with, even if sometimes other people can’t understand our attachment to those special things.

These are our treasures.

Their worth is not measured in money, but rather in the meaning and significance they hold for us. Often, they represent very special experiences of our life, and they reflect of what is unique about us.

Treasures are the things that you for sure want to preserve from the past and take along with you into your future.

The following exercise will help you discover your personal treasures – and it will help you to constrain yourself to limited number of treasures:

You want to be careful not to declare too many things as treasures because that would belittle the value of each of them.

EXERCISE

Step 1

Decide how many items you wish to declare treasures before you start to select them.

The smaller the number, the better.

You might want to constrain yourself to 10 treasures. Or 5? Or 15?

Decide now and then commit yourself to stick to that number.

Step 2

Think about which of your clutter-champion categories might hide some of your treasures.

For example, if books belong to your clutter champions, decide whether you wish to assign 3 or 5 (or whatever number you choose) of your favourite books the status of treasures.

If your kitchen appliances are clutter champions – you have too many of them or several duplicates -, decide to declare the 3 – for example – most used/loved ones as treasures.

Step 3

Imagine the house burnt down and you lost everything (Only the most important personal documents could be saved.)

Which belongings would you badly miss?

Which of them could not be replaced?

Step 4

Take all the items with ‘treasure’-potential out, hold them in your hands for a while, try to ‘feel’ how truly important they are to you, and then arrange them in a ‘treasure collection area’ or – if you don’t have the space for such an area – take photographs.

Spend some time with your treasure candidates and evaluate how much you treasure each of them.

You might want to ask yourself questions like these:

    • Is it something that reminds me of a happy memory?
    • Is it related to a special accomplishment?
    • Is it closely related to me, to the very special person I am?
    • Would I be very sad if it suddenly disappeared?
    • Does it refer to my values and to the vision that I defined for the next chapter of my life?

Step 5

Now make you final choice and compile a list of your personal treasures.

This list and the insights gained about your treasures will be very helpful whenever you have to or want to make decluttering decisions.

Do you struggle a bit to differentiate between treasures and clutter?

Do you feel like nearly all your belongings deserve a spot in the treasures category?

Let’s talk!

Let’s find out if and how you could use my decluttering approach and my personal support to separate your treasures from the clutter.

So that you can start to create a clutterfree life.

A life with more clarity, space, lightness. And more energy and joy.

And with your treasures. 😊

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Schedule your free consultation (Zoom call) with me

Do you know your ‘clutter champions’? – Is it time to knock them off their pedestal?

Our ‘clutter champions’ are those areas of our home and those categories of belongings that contain a very high accumulation of things that don’t serve us.

It’s usually obvious that we don’t need our clutter champions and that we don’t want them:

    • We often hide them (push them under the bed, into a hidden corner in the garage),
    • we don’t take good care of them (let them collect dush or get rusty),
    • we try to ignore them (don’t look at them, move around them),
    • and we never use them.

Typical examples of clutter champions:

    • areas of our home that are no longer usable because they are overcrowded with stuff, such as a garage that leaves no room for the car,
    • furniture not (or no longer) used, such as an inherited armchair nobody sits on,
    • books we are no longer interested in, or recipe books we never opened,
    • piles of papers we never touch but grow by continuously adding new pieces,
    • papers from former phases of our life, e.g., materials from school years or a previous job,
    • kitchen appliances that don’t fit our current cooking habits,
    • a dresser drawer we never open because it contains out-of-fashion tops,
    • a wardrobe full of clothing that no longer fits, that we hope ‘may come back in style’, that we don’t wear but keep because it was expensive,
    • a 24-piece cutlery set never unpacked but kept because it was a wedding present from our aunt.

Clutter champions are champions because we let them win.

We allow them to occupy space without truly contributing to our life and wellbeing. They have become a burden to us, but we don’t admit it.

Clutter champions hold us back, they make us feel bad about ourselves because we feel that we should have done something about them a long time ago, that it’s our fault that they are ‘staring’ at us.

We can change the game and become the champions.

However, if we take the time to acknowledge and really get to know our clutter champions, we become the winners.

While we take a closer look at them, we also learn more about ourselves, and we better understand why we tend to collect and keep certain categories of things, why certain areas in our home get so easily overcrowded.

Our increased self-awareness then helps us make long overdue decisions with confidence and determination.

Making decisions allows us to take actions, actions that create the clutterfree results we want in our life:

Letting go of all or some of our clutter champions not only creates more space in our home, it also creates more space in our mind. And it makes us feel good about ourselves and capable.

We now know that we can do this and decluttering other areas in our home and life becomes so much easier.

Use the following exercise to clear up your relationship with your clutter champions.

EXERCISE

Step 1 – Walk around your home. Open the door to each room and look around.

Ask yourself:

    • Any clutter champions around here?
    • Any stuff that doesn’t serve me at all?
    • Anything I feel shame or frustration about?

Don’t allow yourself to look away. Bend down and look under the bed. Open cupboards and boxes. Drawers and bags. Shine a light in the dark corners. Take photos if that helps you to get a clearer picture.

Step 2 – Create a list of all the clutter champions.

These are my clutter champions:

    • …….
    • …….
    • ……..
    • …….

Step 3 – Now sit down and spend some more time with your clutter champions.

You want to deeply understand what’s going on here.

Ask yourself questions like:

    1. What do I think about my clutter champions?
    2. What’s the story of each clutter champion? How did they get into my home? Has there been a time when they did serve me because I needed and used them? When and why did that change?
    3. Why did I allow them to stay with me after they had lost their usefulness?
    4. How do I feel about still having them?
    5. How would I feel if they were gone?
    6. Am I ready to let them go? Now?

Step 4 – Make a decision:

This is the clutter champion that I am going to clear up first:

    • …….

Step 5Take action

Make an assumption about the amount of time you will need to sort out clutter champion #1, and schedule one or several decluttering sessions in your calendar.

Then stick to your appointment(s) with yourself – and do the work: create some space by letting go of what no longer serves you.

What if you feel intimidated by your clutter champions? Unable to disempower them?

Get in touch and let me help you.

You will highly benefit from working with an experienced and reliable partner – someone who knows how to ask you the ‘right’ questions so that you can find your right answers – answers that help you overcome the clutter champions.

Click the button below and schedule

Your free Getting-Started Session with Margot

Decluttering & organising your life – Do you know what’s in your handbag? Really?

Decluttering and organising – whether it’s our home or any other area in our life – can feel overwhelming.

We often postpone decluttering tasks because we believe that it’s too hard, that it takes too much time, that we don’t know how to do it, that it wouldn’t make a big difference anyway, etc.

However, we can decide to start small.

We can create some small wins first. And some confidence. And move on from there more easily.

Starting and finishing a decluttering project – no matter how small it is – is a first win – and an important step of our journey into a clutterfree life.

It’s proof that making changes is possible and that we can achieve visible and valuable results even if we invest only a few minutes at a time.

Our first little successes increase our confidence (‘Yes, I can do this!’) and can help us get inspired and motivated to plan bigger projects. Or to create a new habit, applying the ‘little-step-by-little-step’ approach consistently – which will create huge progress over time.

A powerful little exercise: Declutter and re-organise your handbag

This little decluttering project will help you get a better understanding of the decluttering process in general.

You will directly experience how the 3 steps of any decluttering/organising project work together to create positive results: More space and clarity and lightness. And positive feelings about yourself.

Choose a ‘space’ that you use regularly, a personal ‘container’ like your purse/handbag, your backpack or briefcase (We’ll call it ‘your bag’ here.)

The condition of your chosen bag can be seen as a reflection of who you are and how you treat yourself.

    • If this space is cluttered and unorganised it sends the message to its owner (you!), ‘I am a bit messy/disorganised’.

Each time you grapple with trying to find what you need, or you suffer from the heavy useless stuff you carry around in your bag, you experience frustration which reinforces the message ‘I am so disorganised’ and the feeling of frustration.

    • However, if the bag is clutterfree and well sorted, you send yourself the opposite message, ‘I am organised’.

You have positive feelings when you open your bag, and you feel in control because you know what’s in there and where you can find it.

As soon as you have successfully cleared up a formerly cluttered space that you access multiple times during the day – like in this case your bag -, you will repeatedly get reminded that you are able to do the decluttering work successfully.

You will also have clear proof that you can overcome the overwhelm that in the past kept you from getting certain tasks done.

You will enjoy the benefits of organised spaces – every time you use the decluttered item.

The 3 steps of the decluttering process

Step 1 – Get a clear picture of what’s in there

    • Dump all the contents of your chosen bag on a flat clean surface.
    • Sort everything into categories, such as personal care items, personal documents, paperwork/books, snacks, etc.
    • Notice what thoughts and feelings are coming up while you look at the categories of things. Any surprises? Any items you had forgotten about? Anything you haven’t used for ages? Or not at all?

Step 2 – Decide what you want to discard

    • Start making let-go decisions by assigning things that are damaged or have become useless to a rubbish pile (e.g., crumpled tissues, old receipts, empty water bottle, dried up lipsticks).
    • Sort out what you never use, and let go of all the duplicates, e.g., the additional comb, the second and third pen, another roll of peppermint drops.
    • Now ask yourself: What do I really need and use regularly?
    • Decide and put aside what you are no longer willing to carry around every day. (Reserve the umbrella for rainy days, the sun cream for summer, the novel for times when you use public transport, etc.)
    • Have a look at the remaining items.
    • Appreciate all the things that are helpful and important to you and decide that you are going to take good care of them in future.

Step 3 – Take action and re-organise

    • Throw the rubbish pile into the bin.
    • Find easy-to-access storage options in your house for the things that you only need/use from time to time (e.g., umbrella, sun cream).
    • Re-pack your bag deliberately.
    • Use any compartments that your bag provides to separate categories of things, or find little extra bags to containerise like items (like makeup products, or pens and post-its, or receipts).

Congratulations – You have proven to yourself that you are a capable declutterer! Well done!

Now you can feel certain that you’ll enjoy your clutterfree and organised bag – every day.

Notice what else you are feeling at the end of this little decluttering project.

Do you feel relief? Satisfaction? Clarity? Pride? Something else?

How could you ‘store’ any positive feelings you have right now and ‘re-use’ them in the next decluttering project?

Would you like to discuss other little projects that you could do to increase your decluttering and organising skills and confidence?

Let’s talk about your personal situation and find ideas how you could make it better. 

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Schedule your free Getting-Started Session

The ‘Shoe Parade’ – Decluttering your shoes CAN be fun

Taking action is not always easy, especially if we feel worried about the size and complexity of a home decluttering project. It often helps to start small.

If we begin with one clearly defined decluttering project – and finish it successfully, in a short period of time, with tangible results – our self-confidence and motivation get a boost.

Give it a try, forget about your bigger decluttering projects for a short while. Instead, have some fun with the ‘Shoe Parade’.  

A word of caution:

If your love for shoes is your Achilles’ heel (you own lots and lots of pairs of shoes), the Shoe Parade can be an overwhelming experience.

In this case, it’s better to begin your decluttering journey with a different category of belongings (e.g., socks, books, shirts).

EXERCISE 

Step 1

Before you do anything, please answer the following two questions:

    • How many pairs of shoes do you have? Take a guess: ………
    • How many pairs of shoes do you regularly wear? Take a guess: ……….

Step 2

Now walk around your home and collect all your shoes.

Arrange a ‘shoe parade’ in your backyard or on the kitchen floor – wherever you have enough space to get them all together.

Any surprises?

    • How many pairs do you have?
    • How many do you actually wear?
    • Any shoes you had completely forgotten about?
    • Any really ugly ones?
    • Completely new and unworn shoes?
    • Other insights?

You might wish to take a photograph. And take some notes.

Step 3

Sort out any shoes that are beyond repair or missing their mate.

These shoes need a new home: the rubbish bin.

Step 4

Then divide you your pairs of shoes into three main groups:

    • In one area of the room arrange all your favourite pairs, the shoes you absolutely love and wear often. Celebrate them – they belong to your ‘keepers’.
    • In another area of the room, you arrange all those pairs of shoes that you don’t love but regularly need/wear. They also have the right to stay.
    • In a third area, you place all those pairs of shoes you have not worn in the past 6 months.

Do they still deserve space in your home? Would they be happier with a new owner?

Show them your respect by saying ‘Thank you’ and ‘Goodbye’ and drop them off at your local charity. Someone else will appreciate and use them.

Step 5

Finally, honour the shoes that you love or need to keep.

Clean them, and then organise them nicely and orderly in one place.

Step 6

WELL DONE! – Celebrate your first decluttering success!

You are now ready and well prepared to start working on your bigger decluttering projects.


Decluttering your clothes – including your shoes – can make decluttering your life easier.

Really? Yes!

If you plan to not only declutter your home but other areas in your life as well, getting your wardrobe sorted out is a great starting point.

Many of us feel emotionally attached to at least some of our clothes, shoes, hand bags, accessories, etc. This can be the reason why we postpone decluttering our wardrobe again and again.

As soon as we get curious and ask ourselves questions about all the stuff in the closet, we start to come up with answers that help us clear up the emotional ballast – ballast that causes not only the clutter in our closet but also in other areas of our life.

Let’s have a chat and see how my simple and clear decluttering approach can help you get rid of the ‘too much’ – so that you can start to create a clutterfree life,

a life with more clarity, space, lightness, energy, and joy.

Click this button to schedule

Your free Getting-Started Session

Struggling with the clutter in your wardrobe? – ‘Talk’ to your clothes and ask them for help

‘Talking’ to our belongings can open a door to our unconscious mind

Asking our belongings for their feedback is a playful way to gain more awareness about the things we have accumulated over time. Questions like ’‘Why am I not using you?’ help us uncover what’s going on in our mind.

If we are willing to listen to the honest answers we get from our stuff, we begin to understand our subconscious attachment to things that no longer serve us, and we find it easier to make let-go decisions that are over-due.

Wardrobe clutter conversations – Your clothes know what’s going on in your closet

There are many ways to declutter and organise our wardrobe so that getting dressed in the morning becomes simple and enjoyable.

One way to understand the situation in our wardrobe better and to simplify the decluttering-decision process is to ‘talk’ to our clothes and ‘ask’ them for help.

EXERCISE

You start the ‘conversation’ by taking everything out of the wardrobe that you haven’t worn for a while.

Spread it out on your bed or another suitable flat surface.

Then take each piece of clothing in your hands and ask it,

‘Why am I not wearing you?’

All sorts of answers will come up and they will help you clarify your relationships with your clothes.

Making confident decluttering decisions gets easier if you hear (and accept) the truth.

Your clothes might give you answers such as

You’re not wearing me because

    • I have stains that you can’t get out’
    • you’ve never tried. Look here, I’ve still the price tag on’
    • you never liked me’
    • I am out of fashion’
    • you forgot about my existence’
    • you have so many clothes similar to me’
    • I don’t fit you’
    • we don’t fit to each other’
    • your lifestyle changed and you no longer need me’
    • you don’t look good when you put me on’
    • I give you negative emotional associations’
    • you don’t like my colour/style any longer’

If you are willing to listen to your clothes and trust their answers, you will find it easier to decide what you want to keep – and to say thank you and goodbye to those clothes that gave you honest and tough answers – because they no longer want to stay with you.


Decluttering your wardrobe can make decluttering your life easier

If you plan to not only declutter your home but other areas in your life as well, getting your wardrobe sorted out is a great starting point.

Many of us feel emotionally attached to at least some of our clothes. This can be the reason why we postpone decluttering our wardrobe again and again.

As soon as we get curious and ask ourselves (and our clothes) questions about all the stuff in the closet, we start to come up with answers that help us clear up the emotional ballast – ballast that causes not only the clutter in our closet but also in other areas of our life.

If your clothes don’t want to answer your questions – you can talk to me. 🙂

Let’s have a chat and see how my simple and clear decluttering approach can help you get rid of the ‘too much’ – so that you can start to create a clutterfree life, a life with more clarity, space, lightness, energy, and joy.

Click this button to schedule 

Your Getting-Started Session

A small step can change everything: Your home – your mind – your life.

Small steps matter.

They create change, step-by-step.

The first small step is the most powerful. Nothing happens without it.

Having a clear and organised home (or not) has to do with how successful we manage two different but closely related activities:

    • we have to be good at decluttering / organising physical stuff
    • and we have to be good at decluttering/organising our mind.

Our home and our possessions should reflect and support our lifestyle and our values, instead of making life more difficult and stressful.

However, when we are surrounded by belongings that we don’t use, like, need, we can’t relax and refuel our energy resources.

Instead, the mess sucks up our attention and energy. It clutters our mind, the physical clutter bombards our brain with excessive stimuli. We find it hard to focus on our daily lives – it’s all too much!

If we struggle to take action to declutter and organise our home and life, it’s often because the task seems to be so huge that we feel overwhelmed and end up with doing nothing.

We look at the mess and feel stuck, we feel incapable of getting active and making changes.

In this situation, it often helps to just get started – to take the first tiny step:

We choose one small area to focus our decluttering project on and forget about the big rest of the mess for now.

Instead of planning the clear up of the whole house, we decide, for example, to get one drawer in the kitchen sorted, or a little cupboard in the bed room, or our handbag. We set the timer for 20 or 30 minutes, and get the job done, from start to finish.

A small exercise like this, these 20 or 30 minutes, can change everything.

Choosing one small concrete project and tackling it successfully, creates not only new order and space in a little area of our home.

It also changes how we experience ourselves.

Decluttering and organising a small area delivers a visible real result. And this little success triggers a sense of ‘I can take action’, ‘I can organise’, ‘I can achieve results’.

It allows us to start believing in ourselves and our capacity to be(come) an organised person. 

Thus, even just a small successful experience like taking action and changing a cluttered drawer into a clear and organised drawer can have significant effects on our mind and our thinking. (Click Here to read about an example project: Decluttering and organising my office supplies’ drawer.)

It can have the power to set off a cascade of other changes in our life because our thoughts and beliefs are the cause of anything we experience in our life:

As soon as we start to believe that we can organise our stuff, that we can achieve results by taking action, we start to feel more powerful and confident, which frees us up to take further action, which delivers further results.

Which then reinforce and intensify our thoughts of being capable of changing our life and taking control. Which strengthens our feelings of strengths, which … .

A tiny small action creating small but real results can get the ball rolling, can trigger a circle of success. 

A small step can change everything. Give it a try.

THE FIRST STEP INTO A CLUTTERFREE LIFE?

Order your FREE Quick-Start Decluttering Tool-Box today.

The purpose of the decluttering tool-box – which will be delivered to your email inbox – is to offer you directly usable resources that will help you manage your decluttering projects successfully.

The tools – little exercises, checklists, tips, and tricks (pdf-downloads) – are simple and practical – and easy to apply.

They will make it so much easier for you to get rid of the clutter in your home and life.

Are you ready to make some changes?

To create more clarity, space, lightness, energy, and joy in your life?

Click this button to download

Your Quick-Start Decluttering Tool-Box

The ‘Small-steps-approach’ helps us to get started with decluttering

Would it be possible to clear up your entire home by doing one little decluttering step after the other?

I actually prefer to do things in one go – to start a job and only stop when it’s finished.

However, often it’s not possible to complete a decluttering project in one go. 

    • If we are in an extremely busy phase of our life we might just not have the time for a decluttering project that will take several days or even weeks to get completed.
    • There might be other reasons why we don’t feel physically or mentally able to go through a complex energy- and effort-demanding project.

Thus, the decision to do it all in one go can become the reason why we don’t start at all!

The solution is to let go of the idea that we have to do it all at once:

We move towards our decluttering goal by taking one little step after the other.

CLICK HERE to read more about the ‘Small-Steps-Decluttering Approach’.

Example of a small-steps decluttering project

I haven’t been feeling comfortable in my home office for a while. 

There is too much stuff lying around on my desk, the drawers are too full, the filing cabinets need to be cleared up, the files on my computer as well, and I also want to sort out and give away some of my books.

However, I don’t have the time to do all the work in one go and – sitting in my messy office every day – I started to feel frustrated.

My mood switched immediately as soon as I had decided to take a step-by-step approach.

This is one example of my small-step projects:

Decluttering the office-supplies drawer

Recently, I had 30 minutes before I had to leave the house to meet a client, and I was determined to finally get the drawer with my office supplies sorted out.

I followed my own advice (read more):

I set the timer, and took a photograph of my cluttered drawer.

Image of Office drawer content - BEFORE decluttering

I emptied the content of the drawer on the floor,

Image Decluttering Step 1 - Drawer s content emptied on floor

Then I got rid of  what was broken or no longer usable, and sorted the rest into categories of like items.

Image Decluttering Step 2 - Drawer s content sorted in categories

Now I created 3 piles:

    • to give away (e.g. note pads I never use),
    • to keep in the drawer (one exemplar of all the different things I regularly need),
    • and to store away (all duplicates and extra stock)

Image Decluttering Step 3 - What has to go

I cleaned the drawer, arranged the ‘keep in the drawer’ stuff nicely, and put the ‘to store away’ things in a storage box. 

My drawer looks very organised now, and I know where to find more supplies as soon as something has been used up.

And it took me just 25 minutes to get the job done!

Image Decluttering Step 4 - To be kept

Yes, I like this result of the ‘strategy of small steps’:

Image of Office drawer content - AFTER decluttering

How do you manage large decluttering projects?

Do you divide bigger projects into smaller steps?

How does it work for you?

THE FIRST STEP INTO A CLUTTERFREE LIFE?

Order your FREE Quick-Start Decluttering Tool-Box today.

The purpose of the decluttering tool-box – which will be delivered to your email inbox – is to offer you directly usable resources that will help you manage your decluttering projects successfully.

The tools – little exercises, checklists, tips, and tricks (pdf-downloads) – are simple and practical – and easy to apply.

They will make it so much easier for you to get rid of the clutter in your home and life.

Are you ready to make some changes? Step-by-step?

Little steps that help you create more clarity, space, lightness, energy, and joy in your life?

Click this button to download

Your Quick-Start Decluttering Tool-Box

How would a clutterfree home look and feel like?

Today, I would like to invite you to do a little thought experiment.

Imagine you are moving to a new place.

The new home has the ideal size for your personal requirements and it has all the furniture and storage space you need to organise your belongings in a useful and practical way.

However, so far you don’t have any belongings. Your new home is completely empty.

It’s your task now to bring in all – and only! – the things that you truly love, need and use. 

On day zero you are going to buy all the things you need

    • to prepare the first dinner in your new home (groceries, drinks, glasses, dishes, cutlery, pots and pans, appliances, gadgets, table cloth, napkins, potholder, kitchen towels, etc.),
    • to enjoy the free evening time with your favourite leisure activity (a book, for example, or a TV, or your arts and crafts supplies, etc.), 
    • to get a shower and clean teeth before your go to sleep (towels, shampoo, soap, tooth brush, toothpaste, body lotion, etc.), 
    • to spend a good first night in your new bed (duvet, pillow, linen, bedside lamp, pyjamas, slippers, etc.), 
    • to get dressed the next morning (for example, a business outfit or whatever you usually wear during a normal day, a pair of shoes, a handbag or briefcase, etc.), 
    • to enjoy the first breakfast in your new home (coffee machine, mugs, breakfast groceries, etc.)

On day one you are going  to add other things, for example

    • to prepare another type of dish (for example, kitchen appliances and gadgets you didn’t need the day before, additional spices, etc.),
    • to have some friends over for dinner (additional plates, glasses, cutlery, perhaps a vase, some wine or other drinks, etc.), 
    • to get your washing done (washing machine, washing powder, basket, etc.), 
    • to do some sports the next morning (for example, running shoes and clothes), 
    • to put on fresh clean clothes the following morning (a second set of clothes, perhaps another pair of shoes, etc.).

On day two you are going to add whatever else you need to add to live your life in the way you want to live it. 

And so on – day by day.

However – and that’s important! -, these are the rules:

    • You always check what you have before you buy something new. 
    • You never buy duplicates (no second pair of running shoes! No extra tubes of toothpaste even if it is on sales today!). 
    • You only buy what you directly want or need to use (no hot water bottle in summer! No wine glasses if you don’t drink alcohol! Only the one book you wish to start reading today!). 
    • You also don’t buy more sets of clothes than you need for an exactly defined time period (for example, two weeks). Whenever you buy an additional piece of clothing, you sort out another piece of the same category. 
    • You also follow your own strict rules with regard to things you get as a gift or inherit but don’t need/like (they have to leave your house again – immediately!). 
    • And you allow only those papers to enter your home that you need to take care of.

Can you imagine 

    • to be surrounded by only things that really and directly serve you, that you truly value by loving/using/needing them? 
    • To know exactly what you own and where you can find it?

Now come back into reality.  ☹  

Walk around your home. Then sit down in one of your rooms. Imagine how it would look like if it was a room in your new ideal clutterfree home. 

What could you do now, how could you use the next 30 minutes or so to start bringing your current home closer to the ideal version of your home?

Are you ready now to take the first step into a clutterfree home and life?

Order your FREE Quick-Start Decluttering Tool-Box today.

The purpose of the decluttering tool-box – which will be delivered to your email inbox – is to offer you directly usable resources that will help you manage your decluttering projects successfully.

The tools – little exercises, checklists, tips, and tricks (pdf-downloads) – are simple and practical – and easy to apply.

They will make it so much easier for you to create the ideal – clutterfree – version of your home.

A home that brings more clarity, space, lightness, energy and joy into your life.

Click this button to download

Your Quick-Start Decluttering Tool-Box

What’s your ‘Clutter-Percentage’?

What percentage of your home is occupied by clutter? What does it cost you?

Side-effects of the clutter in our homes

In a recent post, I discussedThe negative side-effects of clutter (read more)”.

At that time, I focused mainly on all the different reasons why clutter in our home can create clutter in our mind and life:

Living in a cluttered environment can be very harmful to our general well-being, mental health and social relationships.

Today, I wish to look at the negative effects clutter can have on our finances.

This is not about the money we spent for buying things which (immediately or) later became clutter. The money is gone and we can’t do anything about it. (Even if we find a buyer for clutter-items, we usually get back only a fraction of the amount we originally paid for the items.)

However, there are other clutter-related costs that are actually avoidable.

Our clutter causes financial costs on an ongoing basis.  

Have you ever thought about how much of the monthly mortgage or rent is devoted to storing your clutter?

Usually, we are completely unaware of these ‘silent’ expenses.

I have to admit that I never ever thought about our monthly clutter-storing costs.

The following little exercise was an eye-opener for me.

You might wish to do this exercise, too. Be prepared to get surprised.

EXERCISE: What percentage of your home is occupied by clutter?

Step 1

Walk through your home and make a list of all rooms. Include closets that are separate from rooms or have special functions (such as the linen closet, the pantry, or the broom closet). Don’t forget outside areas, such as the garden shed. The garage, the attic and the basement, of course, need to be added to the list as well.

Step 2

Go into each room and estimate the percentage of space that is taken up by clutter. Include space on book shelves, space under the beds, the built-in shelves and cupboards/wardrobes. Don’t make rash estimations, take some time. Try to take a ‘stranger’s point-of-view’ – this can help to make your estimations more neutral and objective.

Write the estimated percentage behind each room on your list.

Step 3

Add up the percentages per room, then divide the sum by the number of rooms (see example below). The result is the average amount of clutter per area in your home. It’s also the percentage of the monthly mortgage or the rent that is eaten up by the clutter in your home!

My personal example:

I did the exercise and expected a very low clutter-percentage, something like 1 or 2 %. After all, I am a professional declutterer, thus my home should be a rather clutterfree!

This is my list of our rooms and the results of my clutter-percentage estimation:

    • Home office – 10 %

I have some business-related books that I no longer need, they should go. We need to declutter our folders and organise our paperwork better. My husband has lots of magazines and piles of papers that have been on his to-do list for a while.

    • Bedroom – 3 %

Our bedroom is very clear and clean. We could/should sort through the stuff on/in our bed side tables.

    • Entrance area and hallway – 15 %

We have some boxes we should clear up (winter accessories like scarfs), also the shoe cupboard. We decluttered the book shelves recently but we still have too many travel guides we haven’t used for ages.

    • Guestroom – 3 %

It looks clear and empty but I am not sure what’s in the box under the bed.

    • Living room – 1 %

First, I wanted to assign 20 % to this room. The living room is the only room in the house where my husband and I have clutter-disagreements. For him his stereo system, the speakers and all the CDs are very valuable things – although he hasn’t used them for a very long time. (Today a portable system and Spotify do the job.) The piano is another issue. He hasn’t played it for some years but he loves and ‘needs’ it. I see it differently but our current agreement is that it’s not clutter. Thus, the 1% is correct, at the moment.

    • Bathroom – 8 %

This is my weak point – I buy toiletries too often and store too much stuff. We also have too many travel toiletry bags, filled with too much never used stuff.

    • Kitchen, pantry and laundry – 10 %

We completely decluttered the kitchen and the areas next to it two years ago. I assume it’s time to do another round. However, I hope there’s not more than 10 % clutter.

    • Terrace and backyard – 3 %

There are some smaller garden tools we no longer use but otherwise it’s clear.

    • The garage – 2 %

There is some stuff that we don’t use often but we need it from time to time, it’s not clutter (golf bag, party chairs). We have some items in the garage that will go with the next council rubbish pick-up. 

My calculation: 10+3+15+3+1+8+10+3+2=55/9=6.1

The result: Our clutter-percentage is 6.1. This means that 6.1 % of our monthly rent is devoted to storing our clutter. I am not happy about this result.

My resolution: I am determined to start a decluttering project. I’ll clear up the kitchen, the home office and the hallway/entrance area. I’m going to start the project on next weekend and will finish it before the end of next month. 

What about you?

Do you feel motivated to do the exercise now? Give it a try! 😊

And if you are not happy with the result – Don’t beat yourself up!

Awareness is a good thing. And it can be the first step of your next decluttering project.

Choose the room with the highest clutter-percentage. Then start to declutter that room, step-by-step. Finish with a new estimation of the percentage.

And celebrate your success!


If you have chosen the first room in which you want to decrease the clutter percentage and now struggle to get started, we should talk.

Because you don’t have to do it all on your own.

Let’s find out how you can use my simple 3-step approach and my support to plan and realise your decluttering projects. Some expert tools and the support of experienced partner might be all you need to get it done.

Click this button to book 

Your free consultation call with me

Your sentimental items – Are they treasures? Or clutter?

Sentimental items – What do they really mean to us? 

The difference between aspirational and sentimental belongings

Most of us share the experience that it is particularly tough to make decluttering decisions with regard to these two types of belongings:

We particularly struggle to let go of aspirational and sentimental belongings.

Our aspirational belongings have to do with our future, or our former dreams of the future: They represent our current and past ambitions and aspirations, our ideas of our ideal ‘fantasy’ selves  and lives.

Our sentimental attachmentto certain possessions is usually linked to our past – to previous phases in our lives and to our past identities: Sentimental belongings refer to past experiences, remind us of people who were/are important to us, keep memories of special events and accomplishments.

I shared my thoughts about aspirational belongings in a recent article (click to read).

Today I wish to discuss

Our struggle with letting go of sentimental items.

Why we ‘feel sentimental’ about some of our belongings

We all feel – more or less – emotionally attached to some (or many) of our belongings. These belongings remind us of something, usually something related to the past – they remind us of special people, eras, places, experiences, feelings in our life.

Often, sentimental items have no real use or monetary value. And in most cases, we are the only ones who appreciate and value them.

Some of us keep things from their childhood or teenager years such as stuffed animals, books or clothes, some of us have a collection of photographs and papers that remind them of important situations in their lives, some of us act as the guardians of the family heirlooms.

There is nothing wrong with these sentimental things.

If we truly value them and can easily store them in our home, there is not reason to say goodbye to them.

So, why does the expression ‘sentimental stuff’ have a slightly negative connotation?

Why do many of us feel uncomfortable when they talk about and explain the existence of their sentimental belongings? Why do we often feel we have to justify why we keep certain things?

Little Exercise – How well do you know your sentimental belongings?

Lean back for a moment and think about your home and all the things that ‘live’ there with you, all the items you have given permission to move in and to stay with you.

Imagine yourself walking through your rooms, looking at the walls and open shelves, opening cupboards, wardrobes, drawers, pulling the boxes from under the beds or behind curtains.

Now make a list of the things with emotional value that come up to your mind.

How does your list look like?

    • How many sentimental items do you remember (without getting up and checking out!)?
    • Do they all belong to one category of belongings, such as photos, images, papers, clothes, books, collections, etc.
    • Or do you have sentimental attachments to things in each of the categories?
    • Do all the things you remember refer to one special phase in your life? Are they all linked to one special person? Or one special experiences/event?
    • Or do you keep a wide variety of sentimental items linked to different phases of your past?
    • What kind of emotions do you have about the things your remember? Positive feelings? Or negative? Or neutral?
    • How much space does the sentimental stuff on the list occupy in your home?
    • Do you think your list is complete? Or do you assume there are many more things you keep for sentimental reasons but can’t remember in this moment?

Now look up from your list and evaluate the insights you gained from the little exercise.

Do you feel completely happy about the sentimental stuff in your home? Or is there a little nagging feeling now that there might be some value in having a closer look at them?

When do sentimental belongings become problematic?

There are three main reasons why sentimental items can develop into problem items and become a burden that causes feelings of overwhelm and stress:

#1 – We keep too many sentimentally charged belongings.

It’s nice if our wedding photo on the shelf in the living room evokes a smile on our face whenever we look at it. But do we really need to keep the other 850 weeding photos in the huge box in the basement that we haven’t looked at for ages?

Our favourite teddy bear is very successful in causing memories of our childhood and warm feelings in our stomach. But does it need 13 other stuffed friends around it?

The vase from Auntie Mary looks really nice on the dinner table. But the three tubs with all the other vases, crockery and cutlery we inherited from her actually only collect dust and spider webs in the garage, don’t they?

#2 – We hold on to things that are not valuable to us personally.

We never liked landscape paintings. Now we have four such paintings hanging on the walls in the guest room. They had decorated the living room of our grandparents as long as we can remember. We just didn’t dare to say ‘no’ when they moved to a small apartment and needed a new home for their paintings.

We inherited our father’s coin collection which we actually hate. It reminds us of all the arguments our parents had whenever our father spent money for a new coin.

We never enjoyed the endless piano lessons our parents arranged for us when we were a teenager. Now the piano sits in our living room, silently, collecting dust and causing bad feelings.

#3 – We surround ourselves with stuff that keeps us stuck in the past so that we are unable to enjoy our present life.

Our mother passed away four years ago and we took all her belongings because it felt too hard to sort anything out. We still struggle to look through the stuff which occupies the guestroom and half of the basement.

After our divorce we moved out and took along the dinner table from the old house. It’s actually too big for the new place, and it reminds us of the best and the worst times of the marriage. Often, when we sit at this big thing, we feel small and lonely. And angry.

We always loved cooking and our kitchen is fully equipped with anything you need to prepare extraordinary meals. However, we switched to simple and easy-to-do meals many years ago and don’t need all the cooking stuff any longer. What we actually would need is more space for our arts and crafts supplies.

How can we clear up sentimental clutter?

Try these strategies:

#1 – Asking the question ‘Why?’

This is the most helpful and effective question we can ask ourselves in any decluttering process but especially when we want to declutter sentimental stuff.

Ask yourself:

    1. Why do I keep this thing? What is the reason behind my decision?
    2. And – very important – Do I like my reason?

For example:

If you use only one of Auntie Mary’s vases but keep anther 11 vases in boxes in the attic, you could ask:

    • ‘Why do I keep vases I don’t like and use?’
    • If your reason is: ‘I have to. Aunt Mary was always so kind to me, I really liked her. I can’t give away her vases.’ you can ask again:
    • ‘Why do I think I can’t give them away?’
    • Your next answer might be: “I’d feel guilty and bad if I gave them away.” Ask again:
    • Why would I feel guilty? Would Aunt Mary want me to feel guilty? And even if she did, is being afraid of feeling guilt a good reason to allow things to occupy space in my home and life that I don’t like and use?’

Finding answers to our ‘Why’-questions gets easier as soon as we are aware of our personal values, our goals and our visions for our life.

#2 – Choosing only sentimental items that give us positive feelings

It is important to uncover and ‘honour’ any negative feelings we have related to belongings from the past. But then we should let them go and close that chapter of our life – so that we can concentrate on the here and now.

Positive reminders of our past, on the other hand, can sometimes help us to feel positive in the present, too.

For example:

If after your divorce the wedding dress – that you keep hidden in the back of the wardrobe – makes your feel sad, or angry, you could decide to go through those feelings one more time, and then let them go – the negative feelings and the wedding dress.

The photograph of your happy face at the finishing line of the marathon last year, on the other hand, might deserve a nice frame and a special place on the shelf in your living room.

#3 – Choosing just a few special sentimental reminders and letting go of the rest

As soon as you have got a better understanding what’s truly valuable to you, you can make deliberate decisions about what you want to keep and take care of. And what you want to let go.

For example:

Knowing now better why you don’t have any interest in collecting coins and why you always hated your father’s collection, you are ready to give the collection to someone who does appreciate it. You might want to keep one coin as a reminder of your father and his enthusiasm for his hobby but you don’t need to hold on the whole set any longer.

#4 – Taking pictures as memory-keepers and letting go of the physical items

That’s often a good solution if we have so many sentimental belongings, or if want to keep reminders of our family heirlooms, or if we don’t like to let go of certain things but need to give them away because we don’t have the space to keep them.

For example:

If you have to drastically reduce the number of personal belongings because you are going to move to a smaller place with much less storage space, you might feel sad having to leave so much behind. Take a camera and walk around your current home and take pictures of anything you feel attached to but can’t take along. Then create a nice photo-book which you can keep forever and flip through whenever you wish.

#5 – Doing several rounds of sentimental decluttering

That’s a very good strategy if the idea of making let-go decisions about your sentimental stuff makes you freak out. You can avoid a panic attack by taking small steps to get through the process.

Take out some of your sentimental items, start thinking about them, without any obligation to make decisions.

When you pull them out again some days later, you might notice that your feelings have slightly changed, you might feel less attached to some of the things, you might even be able to say goodbye to a few of them.

Take out another set of sentimental items, and start the process again.

Spending some time with our sentimental items is a worthwhile experience

– whether we finally decide to keep or to discard them – we always learn more about us, about our emotions and our values.

And that’s a good thing, isn’t it?


Are you still feeling very sentimental about your sentimental belongings?

Let’s talk!

Let’s find out if and how you could use my decluttering approach and my personal support to separate your treasures from the clutter.

So that you can start to create a clutterfree life.

A life with more clarity, space, lightness. And more energy and joy.

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Schedule your free consultation (Zoom call) with me