4 Strategies to Declutter and Minimalize

Summer has melted into fall. The chilly crispness in the air tells me that it is time to make the seasonal closet switch and reintroduce my favorite hoodie to the rotation. Here in Ohio, the weather is acting hella funny. Undecided if it’s committed to making a full seasonal transition. Just a few days ago, we were wearing shorts and tanks. The humidity was doing the most. Today, the wind is brisk and the air is a little more than just chilly.

As I resolve to rotate my wardrobe from summer tanks to autumn sweaters (YAY!), I’m also resigned to taking the opportunity to finish the declutter/purge project that I started five months after my spine surgery. It’s been a slow process being careful not to physically overdo it and setback my recovery. With our pending move being set for early next summer, it is time to get this declutter and minimalization train back on track. Right. Now.

Typically, when we’ve moved to a new house, I didn’t do much purging. I foolishly packed up what I (we) had and moved it to the new house with the great intent of dealing with it later. Not such a good idea. Not even a smart idea! Nonetheless, when we know better, we do better. This time around we are purging as if we’re getting paid for it.

To aid and assist with this project, these are the 4 strategies that I am using to get ‘er done:


  1. Designate piles

    I begin with four bins/baskets/boxes labeled Trash, Recycle, Donate, and Sell. I use basic bins, pretty bins and/or cardboard boxes. The things that make the cut as keepers, should be put away. So, as I move through each room of the house, every item touched is relegated to one of the four bins or put where it belongs…or packed.

  2. Don’t wax nostalgic

    As I move and flow through each space, sometimes I come across a “thing” that brings back memories. Smh. It’s a purge trap. Don’t do it. The only items that get a pass are the things that my children have made. I’ve actually designated another bin for that type of stuff. Although I LOVE-LOVE what my little goobers made for me back in the day, not everything is a “masterpiece” so some things don’t make the cut…and I have to low key slide it into the trash. :::sad face:::

  3. Be ruthless

    Related to the second strategy, you have to be ruthless or you’ll end up with more keepers than anything else. And that is not the objective. The rule I like to use is if I haven’t used, thought about, or didn’t even know I had it in the last year, it’s gotta go.

  4. Avoid the flip through

    I subscribe to a gang of magazines. Yes. Team #magazine. That’s me. Home design and décor mags. Entrepreneur. Taste of Home. Family Circle. Essence. Women’s Health. Shape. Runner’s World. I usually keep up on reading them and getting them into the recycling can. Since my spine and shoulder surgeries, I have gotten so behind. The magazines have piled up. I kept saying that I would just stack them over here and read them “later”. Ha! I have succeeded in light weight reading some and decreasing the stack, but definitely not enough. Last week, I attacked a box of magazines and started flipping through the pages. It was taking too long. So, I am now resigned to just ripping off the mailing labels and dumping the magazines into the recycle can. No flipping through. It’s a time suck. Free yourself and just donate or recycle them.

  5. [EXTRA TIP] Remove bins/boxes asap

    Don’t let the bins sit around the house. Take them where they need to go – trash can for garbage day, recycle can for recycle day, donation station, or resale marketplace as soon as possible. Allowing the stuff to sit around can lead to you revisiting the contents of the box/bin. Yet another purge trap. So, just box it and get it where it needs to go.

Moving and purging is a process in itself. Extreme purging, which is what I am in the midst of doing, is another thing. Then, when you have to do it with children, Lord take the wheel! I’m going through the process this time with a teenager. A teenage girl who loves her “things”. Things like her stuffed animal population the size of a Target store. I reckon I should be happy that they can’t fit into a Walmart store. Left to her own devices, ALL of her stuff would be in the Keep bin. No ma’am. It’s time to make some decisions and play favorites. Then, do another round of favorites until the population is can only fill a parking space in the Target parking lot…and then a plastic Target shopping bag. For my daughter, she knows that she can only bring two boxes in addition to her clothes (which have gone through the purge).

My goal is to be finished with the extreme purge by time the first snow hits. I want our house to look the way it did before we moved in…damn near empty. By the time we’re finished, there should only be the washer/dryer, our beds, televisions, and bins/boxes. We’ll be living minimally up until the time we move in June 2019. I am so looking forward to it! Having “stuff” just sitting around layered on top of the fact that I have so much more purging/decluttering to do is visually exhausting. I’m ready to get it done. Let’s hope my body can keep up.






4 Strategies to Declutter & Minimalize | jacqhumphrey.com

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