Home is where the heart is. But sometimes the heart has company — an accumulation of items that build up over months and years.
Our homes are meant to be our refuge, where we can close the door to the outside world, let our guard down, and relax. To truly unwind, however, we need to reduce clutter and work to create a peaceful sanctuary where we can be our best selves.
If you have made the decision to begin decluttering your home, you have likely heard of Marie Kondo and her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, as well as her Netflix series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. The Kondo method is a system of organizing your home by eliminating physical items that do not bring joy into your life. The KonMari method requires you to ask one simple question when you go about ridding your home of clutter. Of each item in your home ask, does it spark joy?
While the KonMari method is right for some people, it is not the best fit for everyone, as it requires a significant time commitment, as well as ruthless and quick decision-making. A slower, gentler approach — one that involves decluttering gradually — is probably a better fit for most. Stephanie Bennett Vogt’s book Your Spacious Self provides a moderate approach to decluttering. She suggests that decluttering is a process where you view your home as a collection of memories, feelings, and values, and you slowly remove items that no longer serve you or fit this vision.
Before you begin the process, consider making a list of reasons why you would like to declutter your home. Does your living space make you feel anxious, tired, or overwhelmed? Then try to visualize how a clutter-free space would make you feel: Relaxed? Peaceful? Energized?
When you choose a room to begin the process, keep your goals in mind, and ask yourself the important question when looking at each physical item: Does this bring me joy? Are you keeping the physical item because it triggers joy, or is it out of obligation? You might want to keep an item because it sparks pride or a feeling of nostalgia — those feelings are equally as important as joy. However, the item has to bring you a good feeling now — the memory of that good feeling is not the same thing, and it probably is not a good enough reason to keep the item.
Whether you decide to tackle this process alone or hire a professional to help you, remember to be gentle and compassionate with yourself while working through some of the difficult feelings that can come to the surface while decluttering. However, don’t lose sight of the goal: a house devoid of unnecessary items; a house that exudes a peaceful, blissful energy; a home where your heart can flourish.