Purge Like Your Sanity Depends on It
The first and most important step for tackling clutter is to ruthlessly purge. In A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools For Intentional Living by Emily Ley, Emily reminds us that the lack of organisational tools isn't the problem; the over-abundance of stuff is. She suggests beginning the process by making a list of every space in your home — all rooms, wardrobes, cupboards, bathrooms, storage spaces, and so forth. Start with the most overwhelming area first to give yourself the confidence boost and gratification to slay the rest. Remove everything so you can see what you have and only keep what you absolutely love and really need. Keep a bin bag and recycling bags handy for everything you're dumping and boxes or bags for everything you're donating.
"Imagine the lightness I felt when our home held only absolute necessities and cherished treasures. Picture how much easier cooking dinner became when, instead of rifling through a cluttered utensil drawer and overflowing cupboard, I only had my best spatula and favourite dishes to choose from. Imagine how easy it became to dress three children every morning when the clothes in their drawers were neatly folded and fit perfectly (I can't tell you how many hours I've wasted digging through outgrown toddler clothes). Life suddenly became a lot easier. I breathed a little easier and had fewer chores to do, less junk to pick up every day, and less visual distraction. I underestimated how much physical, mental, and emotional effort I was giving to maintaining all our stuff. But when the clutter was gone? Everything in me quieted in a noticeable way," Emily writes. After going through this process in our home, I can't emphasise enough how empowering and motivating this practice is.