7 Tips to Avoid Decluttering Burn Out

Have you decided it’s time to get serious about decluttering your home? Are you tired of the piles, not being able to find what you need, and just the stress of clutter? Today I wanted to share with you 7 things you can do to avoid decluttering burn out. Sometimes when we decide we are fed up with the clutter and want to do something to change it, we can quickly get burnt out! 

Often people try to do too much, too fast, causing this decluttering burn out. In light of that, my first suggestion is to do a little at a time. I know at first it can be easy to pull everything out of a space konMari style and want to tackle everything all at once, but I suggest you resist the urge to do this. It is better to do a little at a time so you don’t get easily overwhelmed. I would start very small – maybe a single drawer or cabinet. Usually starting small like this gives us motivation to choose another small space, and then another, until we have gone through every space in our homes! Another idea adjacent to this is to set a timer. It can feel less overwhelming to work on projects like decluttering when we know there is an endpoint.

My next tip is to have a decluttering plan. For anything in life, when we have a plan set in place it makes everything go more smoothly. When we have a plan, we also have that feeling of there being an endpoint. {{Although I will say, as long as items are still coming into your home – even as gifts, freebies, or things your kids bring in, decluttering is a constant process. You just eventually get to the point where it’s not as overwhelming.}} What I like to do is choose one room in my home per week to deep clean and declutter throughout that week. Going through spaces in this way breaks it down into more manageable tasks.

My third tip is to make a game out of it! Making a game out of any task that isn’t fun can make it fun! I like to play the Minimalism Game, however this may be overwhelming to some people. With this game, you choose one item to get rid of on day one, two items on day two, three items on day three and so on throughout a month. So you end up donating things for 30 days, equaling over 400 items! Another game you could play is have every family member take a trash bag or box and see who can find the most items to donate. I am sure there are so many great decluttering games out there which you could Google for more ideas!

My next tip is to take breaks. If you feel a burn out coming on, take a few weeks or months where you aren’t focusing on decluttering. Sometimes we just need to take a break from it to recharge and feel ready to go through things again.

Another thing you can do to avoid decluttering burn out is to not start with sentimental items. These items can be very difficult to declutter and slow your process down. By starting with a space with items that you don’t have sentimental attachment to, you get the momentum you need to be successful at decluttering.

My sixth tip is to celebrate your successes. Celebrating along the way can also help with the momentum. When you acknowledge the progress you have made it can inspire you to keep working at it. An idea that I have seen is to take before and after photos. Sometimes we forget how far we have come! Having those photos can remind you of how much progress you have made!

My last tip is to invite a friend or a professional to help you! Sometimes you just need someone there to help you talk through why you should keep or get rid of items. Having another pair of eyes and someone else’s input can be really helpful. Also, this can also make this process less painful and more fun!

Well, I hope this post was helpful to you and that you are inspired to start decluttering your spaces today!

The Real Secret of Tidy People

I think I have figured out the real secret to being a tidy person. I have a whole blog post sharing how to keep your house tidy. These habits are easier to develop if we adopt this secret of being a tidy person. In my other blog post I share several habits you can cultivate to become a tidier person. Dealing with things immediately instead of setting them down to deal with later, having a cleaning routine that makes sense so you can stick to it, enlisting the help of other family members, and having a place for everything are all great habits that can help you to stay on top of clutter accumulating. But the real secret is the final tip I shared in that post – DON’T OWN A LOT OF STUFF!

The real secret of being a tidy person is that they don’t have extra inventory in their homes. They don’t keep things just in case. They don’t want to manage a lot of inventory. I think I came to this conclusion as my kids got older. Now that all of our children are adults, even though currently they are all living with us, I realize that there is a lot less stuff I need to manage. When they were younger there were toys, school papers, and sports equipment. Now that they are older they manage their own things.

In addition to that, over the past 7-8 years I have been pursuing minimalism. It is definitely a slow process for me decluttering my home and learning new spending habits, but less inventory in my home equals less to put away, clean, and organize.

I have a friend who openly admits she is not tidy. I would consider her a maximalist. She loves ALL the things! And I think that is totally fine! We are all different, and that’s what makes the world a beautiful place! I can go over to her house and appreciate all of the things she has surrounded herself with, but I personally could not live this way. If you’re someone who loves all the things, that is okay. But just know that the more you own, the more difficult it will be to be a tidy person. It comes down to what you value and what you can handle.

I am very affected by my external environment. My guess is you are too since you are reading this blog post and wanting to learn the secret to being tidy. Clutter and extra stuff around me definitely affects my anxiety and my mood. When my external environment is chaotic, I feel a bit chaotic in my mind as well. Everything we own takes up our energy and time. The less we own, the less we have to manage, the easier it is to keep a tidy home.

The more I simplify our home, the more I really see the benefits of living with less! Easily being able to tidy your home is one of those many benefits. I hope this post was helpful for you today!

Quality Over Quantity

Today I wanted to share about quality over quantity. And I really think this could apply to almost anything in life. I’m sorry if you get tired of hearing about my journey towards minimalism, but it has helped me to realize that having quality items is more important than quantity. 

Quality doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money on something. I would much rather find one amazing vintage piece – that might not even cost much – over purchasing a cart full of items from the Target dollar spot. As I have been working on intentionally decluttering my home over the past several years, I have noticed that the things I declutter the most are things that are not high quality – whether it’s clothes, shoes, or home decor.

I have learned to really be cautious in the dollar section of stores, or in the clearance aisles. I used to be so tempted by the deal, but now I realize that oftentimes those things end up getting decluttered a few years later or even just months later, and it’s not really worth having to take care of those items – clean them, organize them, and store them. Not to mention that it is a waste of money!

But I’m not just talking about physical items. I think quality over quantity can translate to other things as well. 

I have learned that quality over quantity is valuable with relationships. Over the past couple of years, I have been more intentional with my time and energy with regards to relationships. I have started saying no to get togethers or other engagements because I find it much more meaningful to go deep with a few people than to have a bunch of relationships with people who only know me on the surface.

In addition to relationships, I have been learning to be intentional with where I spend my time and energy. I’m always evaluating if there is anything I need to do differently, as there is only so much time and energy to expend each day. I must be intentional with spending quality time in the areas of life that matter, rather than spreading myself thin in a lot of different areas. Finding out what is important and what brings you joy, and spending time doing more of that will bring so much meaning and purpose to life.

I’m certainly not perfect at any of this, and I’m still learning to constantly evaluate my investment into quality over quantity! I hope this post was inspiring!

Shopping Addiction

There is a topic I have been wanting to address, but I don’t like to talk about it. It’s embarrassing and tough to actually face when you have a problem area in life. Shopping addiction. I really dislike the word addiction, and honestly I want to back pedal and say it’s not really an addiction, it’s just a problem. But if I look at the definition of addiction, that is what it was. I say “was,” using past tense because I do feel like I’m recovering. I still struggle sometimes, but I am aware now and that’s half the battle. I’m taking the steps to break the habits that keep me in the cycle of shopping when I don’t need to.

So, the first step to dealing with any bad habit and creating healthier habits in life is to acknowledge that there is a problem. Sometimes we don’t even recognize that certain behaviors are problematic. We live in denial. Perhaps there is a small part of us that knows it’s a problem, but consciously we don’t want to acknowledge it because then we are admitting to a negative behavior pattern and then we have to deal with it.

Just acknowledging it doesn’t change anything though. In order to make changes, we need to come up with practical steps to address the issue. Once I realized I used shopping as a coping mechanism to deal with hardships in life, I came up with a plan to combat that. 

About 7 or 8 years ago I came across the concept of minimalism. This idea intrigued me as I have always felt overwhelmed by stuff, especially when things in my physical environment were out of order. I loved the idea of only living with what I loved or what was useful to me! This is when my intentional decluttering journey began. 

For several years I felt like I was working so hard at decluttering but I still had a lot of stuff! It was then that I realized in order to really make a difference in minimizing my things I couldn’t just declutter, I also had to curb the inflow! It was then that I decided to do no spend challenges. The first year I did a no spend month in January. I was specifically focused on not purchasing clothes, shoes, and accessories; and also home decor. These were the categories that I saw I had the most inflow. The next year I decided to push myself even further and did no spend January and February. That went fairly well and the following year I extended my no spend challenge through March! Realizing I could make it through a quarter of the year, in 2019 I decided to embark on a no spend year! I continued to specifically focus on clothes, shoes, accessories and home decor. I have this whole process documented here on my blog.

I did want to talk a little bit about the psychology behind shopping addiction. While I did mention that I didn’t really want to claim it as an addiction, but I believed it truly was – I recognize that some people may have much more severe problems with it than I did. As I read through information about shopping addiction, many people have financial problems which propel them into debt because of their shopping habits. Thankfully mine was controlled enough that we don’t have any sort of debt. In addition to this, oftentimes the resulting debt can cause anxiety or depression – causing a cycle of shopping as the person may try to alleviate the feelings with shopping, which causes even more debt. At its worst, it can also cause hoarding tendencies where the items are not even being used, but piling up in the person’s home. According to Donald Black from the University of Iowa, nearly two thirds of all shopaholics have mental health issues like anxiety or depression (source: psychguides.com) In order to really deal with the shopping issue, you must deal with the mental health issues – which are the deeper, root cause.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) does not officially recognize shopping addiction as a distinct disorder, and considerable debate surrounds the legitimacy of the disorder according to an article from healthline.com. It seems to fall under the category of compulsive behavior, which would be an anxiety disorder.  If you are wondering if you might have a shopping addiction, I did find some symptoms from that same article to determine if it is a problem for you.

  • obsess over making purchases on a daily or weekly basis
  • shop to cope with stress
  • max out credit cards or open new ones without paying off previous balances
  • feel intense euphoria or excitement after making purchases
  • buy unnecessary things or purchase items that go unused
  • steal or lie in order to continue shopping
  • feel regret or remorse over purchases, but continue to shop
  • be unable to pay off debt or manage money
  • fail in attempts to stop compulsive shopping

I’m learning that the best way for me personally to combat the negative spending behaviors is to replace those behaviors with positive behaviors which address my anxiety. For me, pursuing creative outlets has helped tremendously! I have enjoyed sharing creative content on YouTube, Instagram, and here on my blog. I have also been pursuing self growth through creating monthly challenges for myself (documented on my YouTube channel), learning new skills through taking Skillshare courses, and watching YouTube videos with self help and psychology content to learn more about why I do the things I do. Finding new behaviors to replace the old ones has helped me to be more intentional with the direction of my life.

Here is the video where I share the information from this blog.

I hope this post gave you some encouragement today if you are struggling with out of control shopping. I am by no means perfect yet, and still sometimes struggle with shopping for unhealthy reasons, but I’m aware and making changes!

Tips For An Organized Closet

I have a problem. Clothes. This is the one area where I really struggle to keep minimal. I actually wrote a blog post a while back about why I no longer strive to create a capsule wardrobe. Because of my love of fashion, and therefore my plethora of clothes, it’s imperative that I stay on top of keeping this space organized and tidy. Today I wanted to share with you 7 tips for keeping your closet organized.

Tip number one is to DECLUTTER! Are you surprised that this is my number one tip? If you know me well, then you are not surprised! I always encourage people who want to get a space organized to first declutter! Getting rid of anything that no longer fits you, or has stains or holes is a good place to start. Keep only the clothes that you feel amazing in!

Tip number two is to KEEP A DONATION BIN in your closet for any clothes you want to declutter. If you are bringing new items into your closet, throw the items you are decluttering directly into the bin. Also, when you put something on and you don’t feel amazing in it, and you take it back off… don’t hang it back up! Put it directly into the donation bin. When the bin gets full, you can drop it off at your local donation center.

Tip number three is to BUY UNIFORM HANGERS. Having uniform hangers automatically makes a closet look more tidy and organized. My favorite type of hanger for aesthetic reasons is wood hangers. I have never owned the thin velvet type hangers, but I have also heard that these work really well because they fit more clothes into a space because of their thin design. Having uniform hangers also gives us natural boundaries on how many clothes we own (unless of course you go out and purchase more!) I have a set number of hangers and this helps me to stick to the “one in, one out” rule where I need to declutter items if I bring new items in.

Tip number four is to LABEL BINS you have in your closet. This is not a must, as you may already know what is in each bin, however labeling the bins makes it easier to identify each bin when you need to get something out.

Tip number five is to CATEGORIZE CLOTHING BY TYPE. I know that it looks pretty to categorize clothing Home Edit style in rainbow order, however it is more practical to have different sections for different types of clothing. You can still organize each category in rainbow order, still making it look nice. In reality, we dress for activity or weather. It is easier to find what we need if all of our tank tops are together, all of the short sleeve shirts, all of the cardigans – you get the picture. It takes less time and brain space if we know what type of clothing item we need and then only look through that section to select something. I also like to keep my shoes organized by category and have each type of shoe grouped together. 

Tip number six is to HAVE A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING. This tip is helpful really for your entire home! If you have a place for everything, it is much easier to put things back away quickly. If it is quick and easy to put things away, we are more likely to actually put them away instead of creating a pile of clothes in the corner chair, on a workout machine, or on the floor. If everything has a place, we are also more likely to stay on top of decluttering as more things come into the closet.

Lastly, tip number seven is to ADD GOOD LIGHTING to your closet. It is surprising what good lighting can do for your closet! When we moved into our home, our closet had no real light fixture, just a single bulb. Although I did not add brighter lighting, it did level up my closet to add an actual light fixture. I am in the process of looking for additional lighting to add to our closet so we don’t always have to turn on the overhead light. There are so many options for battery powered lights to add to your closet space!

Well, I hope these tips were helpful for you. In my opinion, closets can be the most difficult space to keep organized as there seems to be items coming in and going out frequently! Although I did say I’m not interested in creating a capsule wardrobe, I have decided to challenge myself in the month of February 2022 to live 28 days with 28 articles of clothing (not including pajamas, workout clothes, or accessories.) I will update you in March to let you know how that goes! I thought maybe trying it out without totally decluttering most of my wardrobe would give me a good picture of how I feel with less clothing options!

This is the YouTube video I made in conjunction with this blog post if you want to check that out!

15 Things I No Longer Purchase

If you are new around here, you may not know that I have been on a long, slow journey towards minimalism. I’m learning the balance of making my home cozy, but also not owning an abundance of stuff! I’ve been learning what areas in my home it makes sense to own less, and then there are other spaces where I’ll be honest I like to have a variety – like clothes and shoes! One thing that I have found helps with keeping a minimal home is not just what goes out through decluttering, but also what comes in. I wanted to share with you 15 things I no longer purchase now! Not purchasing these items has helped to keep the inflow of items down. With that said, some of these items are consumable as well. All of these items are things that I used to purchase.

{{ONE}} First is dryer sheets. I used to use dryer sheets, however now I use wool dryer balls. I purchased the dryer balls a couple years ago and I really love them! Not only are they more environmentally friendly than dryer sheets, I actually like them better for making my clothes smell better! I just use a few drops of essential oil on the balls prior to adding them to my laundry in the dryer. In addition, dryer sheets often have chemicals in them.

{{TWO}} Next is plastic straws. I have been drinking protein shakes for my breakfast for a very long time and I used to use throw away plastic straws. Several years ago I bought some reusable metal straws and I have never bought plastic straws since!

{{THREE}} The next item I no longer purchase is plastic water bottles. Well, I no longer consistently buy these! After the crazy winter storm here in Austin in 2021 I decided maybe we should have a package of bottled water on hand in case of an emergency! On a day to day basis our family uses a reusable water bottle. We have a reverse osmosis system in our home, so our water is purified and tastes great! I think it tastes better than bottled water.

{{FOUR}} I also no longer purchase cans of soda. It was quite a while ago that I began learning about the importance of eating whole foods and avoiding unnecessary processed sugar. This ages me, but I recall really starting to get into whole foods when I was pregnant with my second who is now 20 years old! I used to drink a soda every afternoon for the caffeine and I would often drink soda on the weekends with pizza or take out. I have stopped purchasing cans of soda to have on hand. We do purchase sparkling water, which is somewhat of a substitute for soda. We also occasionally have soda when we get fast food, but I no longer regularly purchase it.

{{FIVE}} The next item I no longer purchase is pre-cut food. Pre-cut food is so much more expensive than purchasing it not pre-cut. It was definitely something that was very convenient when my kids were younger and I was busier with their schedules. Now that they are older, I find I have more margin in my life to devote to cooking – something I love to do! Cutting up fruits and vegetables is very cathartic for me and something I actually enjoy.

{{SIX}} Next up is magazines. I used to love magazines many moons ago before Pinterest and Instagram were a thing. I used to love home and home decor magazines for inspiration and even had a 3 ring binder that I would keep all of my magazine clippings in for home decor inspiration. Now I am inspired by photos on Instagram and finding ideas and inspiration on Pinterest. My in-laws do purchase Consumer Reports for us as a Christmas gift, but recently my husband and father-in-law had a conversation about how all of this information is easily accessible online, so it is silly to receive paper copies of this magazine, so we will no longer receive those after this year.

{{SEVEN}} Another item I no longer purchase is special events or holiday dishware. I used to have different dishes that were for specific holidays, only getting used once a year. Now I have all white dishes and serveware and can use napkins and table decor to make any holiday or event feel special!

{{EIGHT}} Along those lines, I no longer purchase special event clothes. I have several dresses in my closet to choose from and I use what I have on hand to make work for any special event or holiday.

{{NINE}} Next up is sale items. I used to be a sucker for the sale section in any store – clothes, shoes, accessories, and home decor! I would definitely get drawn in by the price and the “great deal.” Oftentimes these items didn’t last long and I would soon have a pile of things to declutter. Now I have different shopping habits where I am more intentional with what I bring into my home. Since I am not bringing as much into my home, I can spend a little more on fewer items that are more meaningful to me or I absolutely love. Don’t get me wrong – I will purchase something that is on sale if it is something that I love and would make a good addition to my home, but I do not shop sales just because there is a sale now.

 {{TEN}} I also no longer purchase souvenirs. To be fair, I will if it is something that is really meaningful, but I don’t purchase them just for the sake of having an item to remember a trip. I always take a lot of photos to remember trips!

{{ELEVEN}} Next, I no longer consistently purchase nail, brow, or lash services. I actually never did get lash extensions, so maybe I should not have included that, but it is in that same category! I used to consistently get my eyebrows waxed, but when COVID happened and a lot of those places shut down for a while I learned I could live without that! I didn’t ever consistently get my nails done, but I would get them done a few times a year and I have stopped going to get my nails done as well ever since COVID.

{{TWELVE}} Another item I no longer purchase is purses. I used to have a variety of purses and in different sizes and colors, but a while back I noticed that I really don’t like to take the time to switch my purse over to a different one and decided to only keep one. I use that purse basically until it breaks and then buy a new one. I tend to purchase a high quality purse so that it will last longer. I do have a smaller purse that can be a fanny pack, cross body, or clutch that I will use when we go out, but on the daily I only use one purse.

{{THIRTEEN}} I also do not buy the newest version of phone! I actually have never been one to purchase the newest available phone or electronics. I use my phone until it dies!

{{FOURTEEN}} Something else I no longer purchase is seasonal decor. I do have some seasonal decor that I have had for many years – some pumpkins, Christmas decor, and Easter decor, but over the last few years I have looked for decor that could be used year round. For instance, I have some brass deer which are great for Christmas or winter time, but would really work year round. I also like purchasing items that are a great color scheme for different seasons, but you could still use them year round. In general, I do not purchase new decor each year for every season.

{{FIFTEEN}} Lastly, I do not purchase things I cannot afford. Again, this is something we have always done as a couple and as a family. We have chosen to live debt free with the exception of our mortgage. Everything else we want to purchase we save up for. We don’t have any credit card debt.

Well, I hope this inspired you to think about items you could potentially quit purchasing, or at least made you think about why you purchase what you purchase. I would love to hear what things you no longer purchase. Do you have some of the same items on your list? Or do you have different items?

This is the YouTube video I made in conjunction with this blog post if you would like to check that out!