Decluttering Your Life

January 23rd, 2008  |  Published in Habits  |  2 Comments

Welcome to Above Yourself, a blog about self-improvement and faith. If you're new here, you may want to subscribe in a reader or subscribe by email. Many of the topics here are related to my faith in Jesus Christ and Mormonism, but all are welcome to share their own beliefs. Thanks for visiting!

ClutterOne of the most rewarding activities we’ve done so far this year is to remove clutter from around our house. After our Christmas vacation, some of the stacks of mail, coupon clippings, and extra “stuff” intruded into our daily life, making it difficult to remember which bills were still due and generally preventing us from getting things done. We took advantage of our extra-long weekend to finish packing up those Christmas decorations which were still left out, organize the piles of stuff, and make things much better. It wasn’t an intensive cleaning or anything like that, just an organization of sorts. Now that everything is where it should be, we see a lot of benefits of giving everything a place:

  • Things are easy to find. If I need to go out, I have to grab my keys and my wallet. If they’re not in their usual location (I put all the things I take with me daily in one spot), there are only a few more places I might have left them.
  • It’s easy to keep track of things. Not only is it easy to find something I know I have, but when things are organized it’s easy to know what you don’t have. We have two locations for food: the pantry or other kitchen cabinets or in our food storage area. That makes it easy to see when it’s time to buy more of something.
  • Your things don’t impede your daily life. When things are put away it becomes easier to focus on specific tasks or even just relax.

Decluttering a home isn’t just a one-time weekend project, it’s something that evolves over time. As our stuff has grown, we’ve had to make decisions about where things go and how things are stored. We’ve had to come up with creative ways to store our daughter’s toys and live with temporary fixes until we can get things just how we want them, but this progress gives us a sense of accomplishment that we can build on until things are just the way we like them. This doesn’t mean that our house isn’t lived in, it just means that we try to use it so that we can fully enjoy it.

If you’d like some creative ideas on this subject, I recommend visiting or the excellent post at Zen Habits. For those trying to get the whole family involved, take a look at this Family Home Evening Lesson, Making Work Fun


  1. Beth says:

    January 23rd, 2008 at 11:16 am (#)

    I wholeheartedly agree about decluttering making life better. It’s funny how just doing the dishes (a relatively easy decluttering task, since I don’t need to solve the “where does this go?” question over and over again) can improve my mood.

    I’m checking out the “Making Work Fun” FHE link. (Mostly for myself. My kid already thinks work is fun. Ah, to be three again!) :-D

  2. Alex says:

    January 23rd, 2008 at 4:28 pm (#)

    The dishes are probably our number one item that requires routine decluttering work. In the first two apartments we lived in after Julia and I were married the kitchen was relatively small (in one case tiny), and I remember standing at the sink and thinking to myself that we really, really needed a dishwasher. Even now that we have one it’s still a bottleneck - if only the dishwasher could empty itself, then we’d really be on to something.

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