Where did all this stuff come from?  If that’s what you say to yourself when you survey your surroundings, here’s some advice and tips to help get your mind in gear to simplify and declutter.

First, here’s a test to determine if you have too much stuff from the Globe and Mail’s, Rob Carrick. If you have a two car garage, that is so filled with stuff that you can’t park a car, then you have too much jumble.  Alternatively, maybe you have a basement filled with furniture or old books or closets stuffed to bursting.

Cleaning up, tidying up, decluttering and simplifying have been hot topics recently, especially with Marie Kondo leading the way in books and on Netflix with her approach to decluttering and finding joy in simplicity.

It can be a depressing as well as a liberating process when we try to pare down our existence, so if you are thinking about decluttering or downsizing, here are 5 tips to consider:

  1. If appropriate, create an inventory or list of everything you would like to remove from your life. Relatives, children and friends may love the old item you are thinking about discarding, so be sure to check first if anyone would like an item you are thinking of removing.
  2. Don’t try and do the entire clean up all at once. Set a timer for an hour or two and work away until the alarm rings, then go and do some other activity.  Stuff accumulates over time so removing it will take some time too.  You may also want to reminisce about some items and you don’t want to hurry the process and remove things you’ll regret later.
  3. If you clear some space, use the new “found” space as much as you can. Finding extra space will encourage you to keep going and clear more!
  4. Create a box or bin for things you want to donate, another for recycling, one for trash and one for things that need fixing or mending.  The experts say that when considering items use yes or no for each thing.  An item is either a yes to keeping it or a no and throwing it in one of your bins.  If there are too many maybes, things will not get cleared away.
  5. There is a positive side to downsizing and decluttering – it gives you a whole new simpler, easier to manage life.  Read how 91 year old zoologist Desmond Morris has decided to downsize after his wife’s death, both as a means of simplifying and of finding new beginnings.

Do you have tips to help others declutter and reorganize?  What has worked for you?  We’d love to hear your tips – just enter them in the comments section below.