Winter Decluttering: Less Stuff, More Peace

February 11, 2021 Updated: February 14, 2021

Wintertime is an especially opportune time to take stock of your belongings, separate what you use or love from everything else, and allow the latter to move on from its place in your home. It’s this time of year you’re likely spending more time inside. Come spring, you might find yourself flinging open the windows to begin some spring cleaning. Wouldn’t it be nice if you’ve already eliminated clutter from your home by then?

The idea of decluttering can sometimes feel overwhelming and come with emotional baggage. We often allow clutter to build when we’re avoiding something or feeling generally anxious.

The peace and clarity that result from decluttering, however, make the effort to overcome resistance and take action well worth it.

Here are five steps to get your winter decluttering underway.

Set Your Mind Right

Close your eyes for a moment and envision your ultimate decluttering success, in which your home is a spacious, tidy sanctuary that welcomes you in, reflects your greatest hopes and joys, and inspires you to be your best self. Ahhh, beautiful!

Now, open your eyes and take in the current state of your home. Allow yourself to feel the impact that the present level of clutter has on your mind and your body. Imagine how much worse it could get, and what that would do to your productivity, your stress levels, and your general mindset and experience at home. Brutal, right?

Now you’ve got a vision of what you don’t want and what you’re aiming for. That’s the stuff of motivation.

Focus on the Positive

As you begin to take concrete action, focus on keeping what you love or find truly useful, rather than focusing on the things you no longer value or need. When you approach decluttering with a focus on the positive, it will be a more joyful and purposeful experience.

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Start small: Choose an area that is small—tiny, even—and in need of only slight improvement. Perhaps it’s a drawer in the kitchen, a surface in your entryway, or a tabletop in the living room. (New Africa/Shutterstock)

Begin With an Easy Win

It may be tempting to dive into the most stress-inducing pile of clutter you’ve got, but you’ll be better off dipping a toe into the decluttering pool first. Choose an area that is small—tiny, even—and in need of only slight improvement. Perhaps it’s a drawer in the kitchen, a surface in your entryway, or a tabletop in the living room.

Clear and clean the space. Choose every item you truly love or use. Put each item neatly in its proper place. Then, bag up what’s left to sell, donate, recycle, or throw away. Finally, pat yourself on the back and reward yourself with a hot cup of tea, or a 10-minute break, or whatever simple pleasure you would enjoy, reveling in your success.

Aim for Consistency and Incremental Improvements

Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say, and neither was your clutter situation. Enthusiasm for your vision of success could lead you to try to declutter your entire home in one fell swoop.

Instead, I recommend many swoops. Make decluttering a part of your regular weekly—even daily—routine. Keep receptacles out in the open, ready to receive items that are classified as clutter. Celebrate each small win, regular progress, incremental improvements, and your ability to stick with it.

Make Decluttering Permanent

The thing about decluttering is that it’s not a one-and-done scenario. There’s always more where that came from. So settle into the idea that decluttering will always be a part of your routine. If you remain consistent, you’ll stay on top of it and enjoy a clutter-free home for all time.

Follow Barbara on Twitter: @barbaradanza