Intentionally going through all of your belongings can feel like a daunting task. Some shy away from going through their belongings, or "editing", as we like to call it, because it feels insurmountable. Others may fear the emotional attachments they foresee having to untangle during the editing process. These are valid feelings, but they are no reason to put off starting to practice these skills, one day at a time.
We promise you that no amount of tidying up will give you the same, transformational experience, if you skip this step. We are not striving for perfection - none of us are perfect. The goal is to be honest with yourself and think critically about what you own so you can find balance and enjoyment in your home.
Luckily, there is only one rule to editing: remove anything that does not add net value to your life.
When determining what adds net value and what doesn’t you should ask the following simple questions:
If the item in question does not check any of these boxes, it’s time to free yourself of any judgment and honestly evaluate why it’s still taking up your space. This item is taking up space in your home, your budget, your schedule, and your mind. We challenge you to part ways with items that no longer serve you and feel the exhilaration of making a pivotal decision for yourself when you get rid of it.
Remember: Editing comes easier to some than others, so be gentle with yourself.
It's okay if you need to take it slowly or feel unsure during this process. This is a chance to witness and learn from your organizational patterns. We’ve put together a shortlist of insights that might help when editing your space. These might not all apply to your situation, but they are helpful to think about throughout the process:
Buying in bulk and keeping duplicates is not often a value-add unless you have ample, out of the way storage. Especially in this modern age, almost anything can be restocked with a click of a mouse and brought right to your door. Donate or recycle duplicates if possible.
That item you bought and used once...5 years ago...get rid of it. Anything that’s been in your space for more than a year and you haven’t noticed a need for it, don’t feel guilty about removing it from your space. It will take some weight off your shoulders.
If you don’t know what an old cable connects to, dispose of it. Most likely you already have what you need in your office/home and if you ever do need another one, they are inexpensive to rebuy. The cost of storing, sorting through, and detangling old cords is oftentimes higher than their worth.
Old clothes that you will not wear again (or maybe never liked in the first place) should be donated. The same goes for gently used but horribly uncomfortable shoes. Anything with holes or stains should be disposed of. Even if it’s your all-time-full-of-memories-favorite, at least take it out of wearable rotation and replace it if you must.
Consign or donate books you will not read. Books can be tricky, especially if you committed time to read them and if you gained value from the text, but it’s okay to be critical. Will you really reference it again or have you learned and implemented what you needed to? Could it be downloaded into a tablet or kindle to save space?
Do you really use all the totes and canvas bags that have collected over the years? Yes, they might be reusable, but do you really reuse them all? Keep what you actually use and get rid of the rest.
Empty boxes. We see so many empty boxes that take up valuable storage space. If you actually store an item in its box, that’s one thing. Are you keeping the box for a valuable item you’re thinking of reselling in the future? You might be able to get away with it - but there is such a high cost for storing bulky boxes that if the box only adds a few extra dollars to the price tag...your peace of mind is worth so much more. Toss!
For anything you are attached to and not ready to get rid of, place in a bin or box and mark with a note on the outside or set a reminder on your calendar with a date 6 months from now. If you haven't needed or looked for these items at that time, donate it without even looking inside. Why tempt yourself!
The biggest piece of advice we can offer, is to welcome help from someone else if necessary. It can be overwhelming to dispose of clutter and it can be easy to get off task while going through your home. Having someone else involved in the process will help you stay on task and can make the project more manageable... Dare we say fun! So grab someone you trust, give them their mission, and get to editing! You will feel physically lighter if you use our tips to be open and honest during this transformative and necessary process.
If you have more questions or need specific tips regarding your space, let us know! We’re here to help you live a better, more organized life. Happy sorting!