Sam Holstein

How to Clear Out the Clutter in Your Life and Make Room to Transform

How to Clear Out the Clutter in Your Life and Make Room to Transform

The holidays and the new year are a time of year when many people want change. You want to drop old bad habits and finally pick up those good habits you’ve always wanted to have. In short, you want a transformation.

When you’re drowning in clutter, it’s hard to find room for anything else. You can’t make space for your transformation if you don’t even have enough space to fit yourself into your home.

The truth about clutter is that clutter is a burden. Clutter weighs you down and prevents you from moving forward in life. That’s why it has to go before anything else can happen for you — including any type of transformation.

You’re Stuck In Life Because of Clutter

Clutter makes it difficult to think and keeps you from making changes in your life. You can’t start a new chapter of your life if you’re not willing to let go of the old.

Once you start to declutter, not only will it become easier for you to enjoy the holidays, it’ll also give you the freedom you need to start improving other areas of your life that need attention. Because if you have clutter hanging around, chances are something else in your life is out of place too.

But how do you know what’s worth keeping and what you should throw away? How do you know what you should hold on to and what you should say goodbye to forever?

You Can’t Transform Without Doing This First

Before you can even think about changing your life, it’s essential you know what will help you transform into the person you’ve always wanted to be.

We’ve all seen before and after shots of people’s homes. The ‘before’ picture is almost always a reflection of somebody who feels overwhelmed in life. The ‘after’ picture is not only a picture of a cleaner home but a picture of the home of somebody who’s calm and knows what they want out of life.

The same principle applies to you and your home too. You need to find your ‘after’ shot first. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  1. What do you want to change about your life?
  2. What would your after-shot look like if you could wave a magic wand over it? What would be different from the before shot?
  3. It’s one year from now, and you love your life. What’s changed?
  4. What has kept you from making changes all these years?

Create a vision of what success looks like for you. You can’t transform anything until you’ve got a clear picture of what you want to become. That’s why this step is so important. It’s not just about clearing out clutter — it’s about creating space for you.

These 5 Questions Will Make Decluttering Easy

You’ll find that you can easily get rid of 90% of the things hanging around your house without a second thought. You think you need your closet full of clothes, but most minimalists — including myself — discover you only need four or five outfits to have enough clothes to wear. All the clothes I own can fit in a large suitcase, and I never wish I had more to wear.

As you work your way through each drawer and closet, challenge yourself to let go of anything you know you don’t need anymore. These are the questions I ask myself about items when I’m contemplating decluttering them:

  1. Does this item bring me joy?
  2. Have I used this item in the last 90 days?
  3. Is it left over from a past self? (For instance, I used to skateboard, but I don’t anymore. Skateboard repair tools are part of a past self for me.)
  4. If I declutter this, will I want it again later?

It’s never worth having something in your home if it’s going to hold you back from living a happy life. Nothing in clutter is ever going to make you happy — not now, and certainly not one year from now, when you’ll still be looking at those same piles of junk every single day.

If you’re afraid you’ll declutter too much, don’t worry about it. It’s doubtful you’ll ever miss anything you decluttered. I’ve decluttered more stuff than I own at this point, and I can list all the things I miss on one hand. The benefits of decluttering all that stuff far outweigh the cost.

You’ll know when you’re done decluttering by the feeling. When you’re done decluttering, your space will feel ten times emptier than it did before. Instead of feeling deprived, you’ll feel a sense of freedom and lightness.

Decluttering should never feel like a punishment — if it does, you’re doing something wrong. Sometimes people seem so into decluttering they almost want to punish themselves. Decluttering is about bringing order out of chaos and feeling good about yourself, not forcing yourself to live without things you want.

What to Do with Your Decluttered Items (That Won’t Hurt the Environment)

Most of what you’ve decided to declutter are probably still in excellent condition. In our consumerist culture, it’s easy to buy far more than we need. You don’t need to chuck these items into a landfill and worsen the globe’s environmental problem to have a home you love.

Start by asking friends and family if they might want anything you’re decluttering. Give away things you don’t need anymore to people who might make use of them. It’s a great way to clear out clutter and help other people at the same time — win-win. Make sure to ask any friends and family members who are poor and/or frugal. You’ll be surprised by what people might want. Many of the clothes in my closet right now I got for free from friends who wear the same size clothes. When my grandmother wanted to get rid of her air fryer, she gave it to my boyfriend, who joyfully makes himself buffalo wings in it all the time.

Any clothes your friends don’t want, you can take to a consignment shop to re-sell. You can also take appliances, furniture, and home goods to consignment shops as well. There is an entire market for people who choose only to buy secondhand goods because it’s cheaper and better for the environment.

When you’re done giving away things to friends, family, and consignment shops, then you can consider donating the rest. Donated goods often end up in landfills, but not if you pick your charity carefully. Local charities are usually much better about making sure donated goods get into the hands of people who can use them.

The nicest thing about decluttering is that you’ll notice you’re not losing anything. You’re gaining something better instead. You’re gaining back your space and your freedom. And once this happens, there’s no going back. You can wake up with a sense of purpose every single day once you’ve made enough room for the things that truly matter in life, like family, friends, and hobbies. Sometimes, we have to create space so we can see what we were missing all along.

Why Your Phone and Email Need Decluttered, Too

While most people think of decluttering physical clutter when they bring up the idea of getting organized, it’s also vital to declutter your digital life. Most people’s email inboxes are swamped with unread emails, and beeping apps on their phones suck up hours of their time every day.

Start by decluttering your email. Most people spend far too much time responding to emails that don’t even need a response. Create filters for social media notifications and other unimportant emails that you know will not help you become more productive. This way, it’s easy to go through them and delete them all at once instead of having to click “delete” one million times.The Last Guide to Inbox Zero You’ll Ever NeedA minimalist’s guide to keeping your email inbox

Turn off notifications on your phone and delete apps that don’t enhance your quality of life. It’s a good idea to delete any apps you don’t use, as they will only distract you from what you should be doing. If you want an in-depth guide on configuring your phone so it doesn’t drain your time, check out my free book on the topic, Break Your Phone Addiction in 7 Days.Break Your Phone Addiction in 7 DaysWaste hours every day on your phone? Can’t seem to break the habit? This free book will break your phone addiction in…

Decluttering your digital devices will make it easier to enjoy the things that truly matter in life. When this happens, your quality of life automatically increases. You’ll have more time for hobbies and friends and spend less time stressing out over distractions.

3 Mindset Shifts That Will Ensure Your House Stays Decluttered Forever

Once we’ve gotten rid of all the clutter, then we need to make sure we don’t bring any more chaos into our lives. It won’t do any good to declutter only to fill the house up again next year.

Learn to view shopping as a chore, not fun. Shopping shouldn’t be something you do for fun. You should consider it a task. If you’re the kind of person who shops for fun, find other hobbies. Pick hobbies that support your goals for yourself, like cooking or exercise.

Think of every dollar you spend as a fraction of your time. You spend time at work to earn every dollar in your possession. The more you have, the more time you have to work. So every dollar is a fraction of your total time on this earth.

Before buying something, ask yourself if it’s a good use of your time. Ask yourself what that item represents in terms of hours worked at a job or how many hours exercising or studying you’d have to do to earn money for it. This way, shopping becomes less exciting and more boring.

Repair and maintain possessions instead of buying new ones. When you become a minimalist and learn to view shopping as a chore, you begin to value your possessions and spend more time on repair and maintenance.

You’ll quickly find that many things in life are not worth buying new when you have to spend so much time earning them first. Before you know it, all those hours spent working will add up and force you to prioritize what is truly important in your life.

You can either work 40+ hours a week for material possessions or spend less time at work and have more free time to do exciting things instead. There aren’t any other options — no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves otherwise.

In Conclusion

If there’s one piece of advice I can give in this article, it’s this: Having more isn’t making you happier. It’s the other way around. The less stuff you have, the more quickly and easily good things come to you in life.

If you try to become a minimalist, then it is inevitable that your life will improve. Things will come to you with less effort, and everything in life becomes easier because you have fewer distractions. By reading this article, you are now on your way to making more time for the things you love — simply by decluttering your life.