If you live in Vancouver, there is a good chance that you’ve come to accept that you might not be able to live on that spacious corner lot with a two car garage, and with a shed in the back and a whole basement that you can use for storage. Reality might look a little more like a two bedroom apartment with (hopefully!) a storage locker in the underground parkade.
Whatever your situation, in Vancouver or otherwise, we all know the feeling of trying to find space for all our stuff. One day, you take a look around and see your closets bursting at the seams, your junk drawer has somehow become your junk cupboard, and you don’t even dare to look under the bed.
How did it get this way? How did we end up with so much stuff cluttering up our lives? Well, there are plenty of reasons. One is that we are taught from a young age that the more stuff we have, the better off we are. But the tides are changing on this attitude, and people are starting to slough off the weight of too many things.
These days, decluttering and simplifying is becoming the way to go—partly out of necessity and partly because of changing attitudes regarding the value of things. The idea that less is more, especially when it comes to filling one’s living space, is gaining real traction.
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So, how do we get rid of stuff? It can be a difficult and daunting idea to see our possessions get tossed out the window. Many of us have the habit of attaching not only personal value to things, but sentimental value, too. But believe me, downsizing on stuff feels so, so good, and decluttering your apartment or home will do wonders for your life.
Ok. You’ve made the decision to declutter, perhaps you are moving or perhaps you just get that feeling that you want to. Great job! You are on your way. But what’s next? Where do you go from here?
The first thing to do is have a conversation with yourself. Remind yourself that you are not your things and your things are not you. And then…just start. Somewhere! Anywhere! Kitchen cupboards, bedroom closets, even the bathroom is probably cluttered with half empty product tubes that you will never use again. It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you start. Once you do, you will see how good it feels.
But before you start filling garbage bags like a madman, it’s a good idea to set some ground rules. You don’t have to throw or give away every single thing you own, so it’s a good idea to set some limits. Maybe you are holding on to every museum ticket stub and train ticket from your gap year trip to Europe. Give yourself a limit of a shoe box, for example, that you can fill with mementos from your travels, and stick to it.
Next, create three piles: things you want to keep, things you can donate, and things that go in the trash. While you might have outgrown or stopped using certain things, there are plenty of people in a city like Vancouver who could use your old sweaters, your seldom used kitchen tools and even the decor that you’ve been holding on to even though it will never see the light of day in your home again.
If you are having trouble deciding whether to keep something or let something go, set it aside for a while and come back to it later. You might find that once you are on a roll, the decision will be easier to make. And if there are things you have a sentimental attachment to, or it’s things that you don’t often use but you love anyways, it’s ok to keep. Now that you’ve started decluttering and downsizing, you will find that you have more appreciation for things that are truly valuable to you.
When it is all said and done, you will feel great. All of your underused things will have found a new home so they can again be appreciated, and you will feel amazing with all the extra space. There’s a saying: “clean home, clean mind.” And it’s true, your brain will be free from the distractions and burden of stuff, and you will have a new appreciation for your decluttered home. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
So, good luck and happy downsizing!