Decluttering: The First Step

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Decluttering: The First Step

This post is really only for the person who finds themselves being swallowed by their possessions and who sincerely want to change their situation. If you’re happy just the way you are, by all means, carry on.

The first step to decluttering is to stop buying new stuff.

If we really want to get a handle on the stuff we have, we first have to stop adding to it. We have to commit for a month, a week, a day, that before purchasing anything new we will make sure that 1. we don’t already have one, that 2. we don’t have something else that can get the job done just as well, that 3. we can’t wait and make the purchase later, or that 4. we maybe, just maybe, can get by without the item.

Not buying stuff is challenging. Not running to the store to get that thing-we-are-convinced-will-make-our-lives-oh-so-much-better is a difficult habit to break. Making due is not always fun. Not distracting ourselves from the grind of our lives with a trip to the mall to look at pretty stuff and letting go of the high we get from the purchase isn’t easy. None of this is easy. I know first hand.

So, why should we stop buying new stuff?

We stop for the peace and clarity of mind that comes from knowing how much stuff we have and being able to find it when we need it. We stop because having less stuff means we have more money and more time to invest in the people and things in which we truly care. We stop because we want to live lives that are focused on people and experiences, not things.

Easier said than done? Always. A constant practice? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.


  1. A year ago August I went on a clothing “diet” and tried not to buy any new clothes for a year. I didn’t stick to it perfectly (like any diet we sometimes fall off the wagon!), but I did a pretty darn good job. AND, when I did bring home a new sports bra or order a couple new shirts online, I actually made myself get RID of at least one thing like it, so I was replacing instead of adding. I’m still much better at not shopping than I was before I started, and I’ve been surprised by how little I really need to buy in the way of clothing. Now art supplies… that’s a different story!

    • Great minds and all that…for the past year, I’ve only purchased clothing items to replace things that I can’t live without and I’ve worked diligently to let go of things I no longer wear. As a person who can’t pass up a good sale, it’s been challenging from time to time and seeing the empty space in my closet get bigger and bigger does make me uncomfortable. I’m adjusting slowly and feeling good that day by day more of what I have is what I use and love to wear.

  2. Shoot. Should have read this BEFORE going to the PB Outlet!! I’d like to say much of what I bought was for giving away… but WHO AM I KIDDING!?!?! Much of it was for us…
    The challenge is to liquidate the stuff I don’t want or use and make room for the new.
    If you like pillar candles, though… the ones from PBO can’t be beat. They’re cheap{ish} and burn even, don’t drip and the wick doesn’t get drowned mid-way through the burn and get rendered USELESS. And their flameless candles are the best on the market.
    Uhhhhhh. Gee. I’m negating your whole buy-less-stuff post.
    Sorry. I do appreciate your reminder though to downsize purchasing and spend more being in community. That’s invaluable stuff right there. Thanks for making time last week to be in community and catch up. That was WAY better than PBO {and that, friend, is saying A LOT}.

    • If you’re happy with the amount of stuff you have, then your idea of getting rid of stuff you no longer want and use to make room for the new is perfect. It’s ok to be happy exactly where you are and with exactly what you have.

      In my line of work, I see a lot of people invest time and money in de-cluttering only to go out and buy new stuff, sometimes before we’re even done de-cluttering. If you truly want to de-clutter and have less, I think it’s key to become very aware of what you are bringing into your space and why.

      Enjoy your candles. It’s the perfect season for them.

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