Yes. Well, maybe. Ok, probably not EVERYTHING.
You can at the very least get rid of enough things so you can take your life back and start fresh. “Everything” has a very specific meaning. It is not meant to be completely literal and that you will purge and get rid of everything from your life. It means that you will rid yourself of all things that are not useful to you on a daily basis. You will eliminate all duplicates and extras of items or products. You must release yourself from holding onto things that are useless to you, but you hold a personal memory to. In short, what will be left are things that bring you complete happiness because you will be living amongst only useful items.
If you are thinking about becoming a minimalist, or at least thinking to yourself “Why do I want to get rid of everything?” then you are most likely at your wits end with all the junk and clutter that has been accumulated in your life. While you are ready to trash it get rid of everything and start with a clean fresh slate, you don’t know how to start.
Maybe you don’t want to go to the extreme of becoming a minimalist, but you know something has to change. You may feel suffocated and want to get rid of everything because you can’t even perform simple tasks any longer without feeling overwhelmed. It’s the “stuff” in life that makes us crazy. As a rule, the decisions, expenses and responsibilities that come with owning all that stuff are overwhelming.
There is help and there is hope. Recognizing that you want to get rid of everything is the first step.
How to get rid of everything can is a manageable task.
You are going to go through a personal journey of your home, life and work in order to get rid of everything.
You want to have the goal in mind of “owning less”. Getting rid of everything means you will own with intent. Everything you have must have a very specific purpose in your life. As a rule you should be using almost everything you own every day or at minimum once per week. Certain seasonal items for summer won’t be used in winter. Likewise, winter items not in summer. A person should use their items every day or week within the season they are living.
When you own less things you have less to do.
There is less to organize, less to fix, less to maintain. Alternatively, when you own so much you are constantly fixing this, or moving that or organizing something else. This takes to much time from one’s day. It takes you away from relationships and things you love to do. Your life is yours so take it back and stop allowing your stuff to control your days!
A huge bonus when you get rid of everything is you will have fewer decisions to make each day because there isn’t so much to choose from. This will allow you to feel so free and so good. You won’t spend hours each day deciding what to wear, what to cook, etc. Not only will you feel good but also you will be able to slow down. Life will no longer feel so hectic because you won’t be spending every day sorting through all the clutter in your life. People spend hours a day on their beauty routine. Sorting through which mascara to use between the 12 you own can be daunting in itself…. and that’s just one decision! How do you get rid of everything and move forward to a simpler life? Follow the steps below and you will be well on your way to a simpler life.
Perform a walk through of your home or work and life.
During this task, you will learn how to get rid of everything by walking through each area/room of your home and mentally de-clutter and get rid of everything unnecessary. Do not throw anything away yet! This is a visual and mental process at this point. During the walk through, constantly ask yourself “Why do I want to get rid of everything?” so you are reminded why this part of the process is so important.
Step 1: Home walk through: a mental discovery.
First walk through each room or area of your home or workplace one room at a time.
During this process, mentally note all the things in the area. Start by simply observing the room in general and items that are on the counters, walls, bookcases, tables, couches, beds and things you can visually see. During the walkthrough ask yourself: Are they necessary items? Do you have an emotional attachment to them? Are they useful? Do they make you happy?
You may notice a picture of you and a friend that is so old you don’t even remember where you were at the time. Or a stack of bills so old you don’t remember if you paid them or not. Or some old earrings from high school that you just can’t bear to give up because you had your first kiss wearing them. You are simply observing things and taking notes.
Next you will delve deeper into each room.
Look inside drawers, closets, under beds, in cabinets, storage containers and anything that a “door” has to be opened to look into. Notice how much “stuff” you will need to purge as you go. But again, do NOT throw anything away yet. Get detailed in each space.
For example, in your bathroom, don’t just open a drawer and close it again. Open the drawer and take a good long look of all the make-up products you have accumulated. How many bottles of foundation do you own (probably way too many!). How many make-up brushes, sets of eye shadows, mascaras, eye lash curlers and tweezers have you accumulated?. And that make up drawer is probably a disgusting mess! I am sure you have no real idea what is in there, or how messy it has become. It should be noted that those items are not just messy….but filthy dirty as well.
It doesn’t stop there. Your entire beauty routine needs some thought. How many bottles of shampoo and hair products do you use each day? You have brushes, combs, curling irons, tools, clips, hair bands, barrettes, and the list goes on and on and on. Most definitely you have multiples of every product. Even more likely, you use only small percentage of each of them and the rest are unnecessary and useless to you.
I call it the “frosting” complex. We have so many great and useful things, yet we continue to buy more and more and cover up perfectly good things with other good things until we don’t even realize all the great things we had to begin with! It’s overwhelming and exhausting and has led you to where you are today. Sure what we see on the top layer looks pretty and nice, but there are such great things just underneath that have been forgotten. In spite of all the “stuff” you have, you are still unhappy.
Lastly before leaving each room take notice of what the room makes you feel like and take a mental picture of what you would prefer the room to look like.
Do you feel overwhelmed, grouchy, sad or upset? Why do you feel such disgust in that area? Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Open your eyes and do one final task. Mentally note what you would like the room to look like and make you feel like.
At this time you will continue to move through your home room-by-room, area-by-area. Even though it isn’t a designated room, and entry way can be an area of dysfunction and extreme messiness. Be sure to mentally tackle every single area before moving on to the next and do not skip any nook or cranny in your entire home. Once you have completes all the rooms, it is time to move to the step 2.
If there is a room in your home that you feel great about, make that mental note as well. Why do you feel so good in that space? Is it because it is mostly clutter and stress free?
Step 2: Life walk through: a mental discovery
Going through your home or work and mentally taking notes and reflecting are important steps in the process to get rid of everything. In addition you must purge your personal life because there is most likely a lot of clutter in there as well. You have definitely accumulated physical “stuff” in your life. Equally, your personal life and the extra “stuff” in it need attention as well.
Do you ever feel like you have so much “to do”? Set aside things to do like clean house, mow lawn, make dinner and go grocery shopping. Think along the lines of “people” you need to see. You aren’t going to spend too much time on this part of the process, but it definitely needs to be given a bit of thought.
How many people do you need to have in your life to be happy? Do you need 100? 50? 10? 2? Make a list of the people in your life, and then rank them from most important to least important. Now think of the last 3 people you spent time with. Were they at the top of your list or bottom? If they were at the bottom, ask yourself why you chose to spend precious time with someone that is not a priority to you.
Some people find it difficult to say no. You say yes when invited to a party of an old work friend you haven’t seen in years. As a result missed a birthday party of an important friend who ranked higher on your list.
Take a bit of time to reflect on your personal life and what things in that area may also be causing you stress. You probably need to get rid of everything in your personal life as well. Now don’t go writing your mom and dad from your life, but learn to prioritize what relationships you want to focus on and make meaningful in your life. If you spread yourself too thin you aren’t giving anyone the best of what you can offer.
Step 3: How to get rid of everything
Its finally time! You have done the mental work and taken a good long look at all the things that have accumulates in your life. Now it’s time to start to get rid if everything!
In this step, you will actually start to physically de-clutter, purge and toss everything in your home or work. When I say “toss” I do not mean throw away. I want to be sure I am very clear about what “toss” means.
It means to donate or sell. There is no good reason that things you no longer need in your life should not be turned over to another person who may need it very much. You can help two people in this process and that will make you feel even better! Whenever you just throw things away in the garbage, there is always a sense of guilt that creeps in because you took the easy way out. Just go that extra mile and run it over to the donation shop or even better, just make one phone call and they will come to your home and pick it up.
Donate your things
There are so many great ways to donate your stuff. Salvation Army, Libraries, Habitat for Humanity, Good Will and Savers are a few to mention. Look up what is available in your city and give them a call.
Sell your things
Consignment shops in your local area are one option. Then there are oodles and oodles of on line marketplaces to sell things. Not only can you sell on line or bring things to a shop, but also you can always hold you own garage sale! Some people don’t like garage sales because they take time and are messy and smelly. But sometimes it’s nice to know where your old stuff is going and that’s why a garage sale can be nice.
Here are some of the supplies you will need: Hefty Strong garbage bags. Wait, that’s just 1 thing, don’t I need anything else? Nope. Let’s not overcomplicate this and go out and buy MORE things to get rid of your current things. All you need are garbage bags. But store goes because you’ll be throwing out a lot of stuff! This is also an opportunity to go through useless bags or boxes or bins you have accumulated as well. You should check the pantry, garage, closets or anywhere you might have brown bags or plastic bags from stores. There are most likely a lot throughout your home. Gather them up and take them with you from room to room.
Next follow the same process and go from room to room. Set the bags down and start to go through every drawer, closet, cabinet and shelf. Make piles of things that do not make you happy, things you have multiples of or you do not need.
Make 3 piles in each room: throw away, donate or sell.
Example: Get rid of everything in your laundry room
Get rid of everything in through your laundry room. Take everything out of the cabinets or lying on shelves and compile them into one area. Toss anything that is a duplicate. Do you have 8 bottles of detergent? Toss 7 of them. Most likely you have bought 8 over the years but found you like the last one best and didn’t take the time to throw the others away (remember when I say “toss” I mean donate….there are people in need of your detergent).
Your goal is to have 1 of everything left; detergent, bleach, stain spray and dryer sheets. 1 iron and 1 ironing board. If you use clips to hang things, keep a few of those around but not many. The only things you have left should be things you use every single time you do laundry. They are your “useful” items. This is all you need to do laundry and no more. Those other entire extra bottles and sprays are of no use to you.
Now use the things you have left until they run out and do not buy more before that. Often people buy “extras” of what they have before they need them or run out. Make sure you don’t buy anything else until you need it. DO NOT STOCK UP.
Example: Get rid of everything in your living room
This is another example we are using because a living room could come with more “personal attachments” than a laundry room. Likely you didn’t have too much trouble purging your laundry room. A living room however, holds things like picture frames, movies, blankets. You may own snuggly, cuddly personal things that make you happy. On the other hand, too many of these things will make you unhappy.
Start by making your pile. Once the pile is complete divide things by toss, donate or sell. The process to get rid of everything comes more difficult when the items have a personal attachment to them.
You may have an old frame with a picture of a favorite friend (keep the friend, toss the frame). An artifact from somewhere you traveled adorns your coffee table. A snuggly blanket from childhood still lays crumbled in a ball in the corner of your couch. These are items that have sentiment and may prove more difficult to toss. Likely you have way to many of these items or you would not be feeling overwhelmed. You have to make some decisions. Ask yourself: “does this make me happy”. Just because you answered you yes down not mean you keep it. You will likely need to toss many things that have sentimental value.
You need to reflect on that item, remember the good times or the memories it holds or what it meant to you. But then you must let it go. It will still be in your memory if it was so important. Take a picture if you must.
Once you go through the process you will start to realize if you truly want to get rid of everything, or if you just need to minimize some things. No matter what you decide remember it is your process and you must be happy with the end result.
If you are truly looking for a less cluttered and less stressful life with more time that is your own, then the more you toss the better.
Your health and happiness depend on it.