How can you have a home free of clutter, with just the things that make you smile?
Obviously there are a few things that are good to own even if they don’t make you happy to look at them (the toilet plunger, for instance). This exercise is more for things that are optional – the keepsakes, personal belongings, and decorative objects.
As you go through your stuff, ask yourself this question:
What is the very first thing you feel when you look at it?
- Does it make you happy to see it?
- Do you feel indifferent?
- Or does it make you think of something you don’t want to be reminded of?
Yes, it’s too simple.
The way to have a home with the stuff that you really like is to only keep the stuff that you really like.
Be sure to pay attention to your first gut reaction, which tells you how you truly feel about something. Next come the reminders and rationalizations of how much it cost, where it came from, and what you “should” feel about it.
Just because you used to like something does not mean you have to still like it. Seasons change. Kids outgrow clothes. It’s ok for grownups to change too.
Focus on your own stuff. Don’t clean out your spouse’s stuff without his permission. If the two of you have different perspectives on what is lovely, make a corner of your home that can just be yours.
I did this as we were getting ready to move, and everything I gave away felt like a relief. (It also made it possible for us to have everything unpacked in our new apartment in just two days.)