If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I often share my minimalism journey….and also that I haven’t posted about it in a little while. That’s not to say that I’ve stopped decluttering…I just took a break after a really big purge of my outdoor garage. I think I felt so relieved to get that task completed, that I rested on my laurels for a while. Simply content that the task was finally done, the decluttering was put on hold as plans were forged on what to do with all the extra lovely space.

This week, I’ve resumed my decluttering and started thinking about when my decluttering journey will end. Will it ever end? Will I ever get where I want to be? Does that happen? I can see from images, like those that Fumio Sasaki shared (book review here) that it’s possible. But such an extreme minimalist lifestyle isn’t really me….I do love some things around me, so instead, I’m probably going to aim for the middle ground. This is what I’ve been thinking about this week…

Decluttering happens in waves – Some closets or drawers or cupboards I’m going to need to declutter more than once. Some things might escape the first or second purge, but not the third. In other words, it’s going to take a while (and that’s okay).

Similarly… some things will linger – maybe that means I need to keep them. Put them on display, cherish them. Frame that photograph that always brings back memories, wear those earrings that cost a small fortune and buy some ink cartridges for that favourite ink pen that writes so beautifully.

Some places just need to be organised over and over – we all have a junk drawer, don’t we? Well, I have a lift up coffee table with a hidden compartment underneath. That is our “junk drawer”. I revisited it again this week – and just to let you know you’re not alone if you’re struggling with your journey – I had to hoover it. Yep. It contained not only books and junk mail, but excess pens and pencils, two more rolls of sellotape (I swear this stuff multiplies in our home) and crumbs. The remnants of a take away, on a night when we were tired, and I tasked the kids with clearing up afterwards. It was soon cleaned….and it’ll probably be the same next week. But if it’s one place then I’m sure I can handle that.

Motivation is important  – if I visualise what I’ll do with that extra space..and that extra time (when I don’t need to organise/clean) then it gets a whole lot easier. If I think of the new things I want to learn and how when I don’t need to do chores on a Sunday I can just enjoy chilling out with a book instead, then I realise that I don’t really need to hang on to those games we never play/those clothes we never wear or those shoes the kids have outgrown. Thinking about that just makes it a whole lot simpler.

Some rooms will constantly evolve – here I’m thinking kids rooms. They’ll keep changing with their needs as they grow. If I’m lucky, they should be able (with a bit of encouragement) to take care of this themselves as they grow up. My daughter is great at this, my son less so. I’m accepting of that.

The wonderful thing about decluttering is it spreads…..that cupboard and those shelves are tidy? Great, now there’s a place to keep the laptop. No more books on the floor? Great, hoovering will be a breeze. Guests coming over? It’ll take half an hour to tidy instead of being thrown into a state of panic! Enjoy the calming atmosphere in your home as it grows with you.

Decluttering is the beginning – then the clutter needs to leave the house. I had nice piles of things – those I wanted to keep, trash, recycle, donate. give to friends/family or sell. The last one was the toughest….it takes so much time. Too much time. In the end, to speed things up, I donated almost everything to the charity store/ school collections etc. I knew if I held on to things, it would just take too long and really hold me back. Make sure to do whatever works for you.

So to answer the question – when decluttering ends – the answer is probably that it won’t. Not for me – or at least not yet. And that’s ok. How about you? Are you at a similar life stage or does independence allow you to create your home exactly how you want it to be? I’d love to hear your tips, motivations and stories in the comments section below.

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25 comments on “Decluttering – when does it end?”

  1. I like to revisit areas or items (like a dresser) that I’ve previously decluttered. I often see sentimental things I wanted to keep before, but that have served their purpose because I have now moved on. (It’s a real sign when I can’t even remember the names of the people in the photo!) I don’t think decluttering will ever end for me, but I do think there will come a time when I don’t have any more overwhelming areas hanging over my head.

  2. I have a love/hate relationship with decluttering. I love it when it’s done but the mid-point is really frustrating! Good to know decluttering should come in waves, I have countless drawers that need sorting!

    • I can so relate, Donna 🙂 Sometimes decluttering can be so tough and frustrating, but it’s nice when it’s all done!

  3. I feel like I’m always decluttering too! We moved to Manchester, UK (from Windermere, US) in April this year and I had my first big declutter just deciding what to bring with me! Then I said “I’m good, this is a fresh start” and I’ve found myself decluttering my closet and drawers at least twice already. I can definitely relate to the ‘decluttering waves’. We’ll get there 🙂

    • Wow, that’s quite a move, Michelle. I hope you’re enjoying your new life in the UK. That must have been quite a declutter for you, a great head start for a calmer lifestyle x

  4. I too am on a decluttering journey at the moment and find it comes in waves and personally it feels never ending, I’m certainly not at the happy place yet but will carry on

    Laura x

  5. I’ve done some decluttering in the past and I always think ‘Oh, it should only take about 3 hours’, but in reality it consumes my whole weekend! I love how it looks afterwards though and mentally my mind feels less cluttered. I need to do some decluttering again, things seem to have built up again.

  6. I think that decluttering is endless (which can sometimes be an enjoyable part of the process, but other times not because you just want that ‘fresh slate’ feeling). I’m the same when it comes to wanting stuff out asap once it’s been sorted into piles and ready to donate/sell/bin/recycle etc. I’m on my 101st decluttering round this year so far this weekend so I enjoyed reading this, at least I know I’m not alone in my endeavours! 🙂
    Caz x

    • Hi Jenny, if you’re stuck, I would recommend starting with something small – be it a cupboard, a drawer or something like that. What I tend to do, is empty everything out, clean it, then only put back those items that I really love or need. It’s amazing when you empty everything out, to see how much clutter you have accumulated and how much stuff you don’t want to put back x

  7. Me either. I seem to declutter only for more clutter (not of my making) to appear. I feel so much better when the flat is relatively (we have a four year old who has stuff) clutter free. #MMBC

  8. I come from a family of nesting, saving everthing until I need it kind of people. I’ve spent my whole life decluttering and collecting and decluttering again. It’s a never ending story. At least I don’t get all the paper mail I used to get. That was a huge chore going thru mail for gems amidst the junk. I’m not really a minimalist – I like feeling cozy with things I love, but I don’t want to be a crazy old lady with too much junk either.

  9. I think decluttering is a constant thing. Once the first lot is done you have to make sure no more builds up. I think I am like you in that I am aiming for a middle ground. I don’t like clutter but total minimalism is too far the other way for me. Good luck! #mmbc

  10. I generally get a bee in my bonnet and work my way through the house on an intensive mission! Only problem is, when I’ve finished I feel I need to start all over again!! #MMBC

  11. Hi Rachel, I had a declutter in my kitchen drawers this week and my! it felt good. I go through phases of decluttering, but you’re right I need the motivation to get me going. I’d really like to make an effort to get rid of something a couple of times a week, but know I won’t. Maybe next year!

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.


  12. I don’t think that it can ever end, unless you live a truly minimalist life. I’m a complere clutter magnet, so I’m always saying I need to declutter. Actually doing it, however, is another thing… #MMBC

  13. I love the idea of living a more minimalist lifestyle as we have too much stuff we’re not using, I have no idea where to begin though! Sounds like you’re making a great start and that you are doing really well with the decluttering – good luck for achieving your goal of no chores Sundays!xx #blogcrush

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