Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Go Down the Minimalism or Decluttering Path

At the start of the new year, it’s easy to get excited about KonMari methods of decluttering, Swedish Death Cleaning or any of the plans that will help you declutter, get organized, tidy up and feel less stressed (and by extension, more productive). But before you go down any of these paths, there are some questions you should ask.

Why Do You Want to Declutter?
Are you doing this because Marie Kondo show on Netflix looks so fun, and you want to jump on board so that you too could be as lovely as Marie Kondo appears to be? Are you always stressed and looking for any method to help you find a sense of peace in your home? Do you have a severe retail therapy issue that you can no longer afford? Have you shopped so much that you no longer know what you actually own? Is your closet full of things with the tags still on them? (Been there).

You may have answered yes to all of these questions or none of them. The decision to start decluttering and get organized is a profoundly personal one. And, depending on your needs, it could take a lot longer than it appears to take on TV to get yourself sorted. But if you have the desire, the need and the energy, you may end up in a much happier place.

How Do You Want to Declutter?
Obviously, the KonMari method has a lot of fans. Even if you haven’t read Marie Kondo’s book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, you have probably heard about it. And you can get a crash course in her methods by watching the new show on Netflix (trailer below).

But the KonMari method doesn’t work for everyone. Not everyone can find that spark of joy or have the emotional fortitude (the time or a spouse joining in) to follow Marie Kondo’s plan in its purest form. In fact, there are dozens of options out there for people who want to get started but can’t commit to KonMari.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter is another book that has gotten quite a bit of attention. I love aspects of Margareta Magnusson work. Having recently started helping my dad clean out my mother’s things after her sudden death, I can see the advantages. In fact, after that experience, I wanted to come home and start tagging everything with what my intentions were for each item and donate the rest. That, of course, was mostly an emotional reaction, but there is a lot to be said for making sure your affairs are in order at any age.

If you aren’t sure if you are ready to take the plunge, you might want to watch Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things on Netflix. I got oddly obsessed with it, and probably watched the documentary three times in a row. What can I say? I related. You can also follow the guys behind the documentary on their podcast and website, where they talk about different games and techniques you can implement to get started.

Is your primary area of concern centered on your closet? You might want to check out Project 333 and the wise words of Courtney Carver, who came into decluttering and minimalism at a time where her health demanded a change from her stress-filled routine.

Now, here’s the reality, you might not find a pre-made method that works for you. I didn’t. I needed to mix and match and find a plan that worked with my schedule, my emotional attachments to certain things and the fact that I live with my husband who isn’t a shopper but isn’t signing up for Marie Kondo boxes either. But there is good news: if you want to do this, you can. You’ll find the way that works best for you, and you will do it. You’ve already taken the first step by reading this blog.

Want to hear how I got started? You can read all about it here.

2 Replies to “Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Go Down the Minimalism or Decluttering Path”

    1. I made some really solid progress for a while with clothes and books, but my office needs serious help!

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