The Power of Decluttering: Do You Need to Renovate or Just Declutter?

The power of decluttering is a topic that has been widely published in recent years. It’s no secret that clutter can have an adverse effect on your mental state, and it also makes it difficult to find the things you need when they’re buried under piles of clothing or stacks of papers.

Often people will live in this state of overwhelm until they have just had enough. Something major has to change. Time to renovate to solve the challenges and anger caused by the years of clutter. “If we could just redesign this space it would work so much better for us.”

Is that the only problem though? Or is it the years of accumulation that have made your current space unusable? So what should you do? Is there really any point in renovating if all your items are in their proper place? Try to declutter first.

Here are a few tips for decluttering your home:

- Ventilate! Take a deep breath of fresh air. It’s important to open windows and doors if possible in order to air out the space. A nice breeze will also help circulate the stagnant air. It’s time to push out the old and open up to a space that better serves you. Not the other way around.

- Be ruthless with what you keep and what you get rid of. Ask yourself an honest question: do you need this item in your life?

- Sort items into categories. Put similar things together like all the books, clothes or shoes for example. This is a good way to go about it if you’re unsure of what should stay and what should be thrown away.

- Make decisions on one category at a time by deciding which items are worth keeping and which ones will never see the light of day again.

- When decluttering, try not to work more than two hours per session because our brains can only focus for so long before we start overthinking everything that isn’t going well (stressful thoughts). Take breaks from each room as needed!

Where do you most feel overwhelmed? Start with that area of your house. Take one room at a time and work through the following steps:

- Get rid of anything that’s broken! If there’s an item that you have not used in a long time and can’t think of a time in the near future when you will, take a picture and throw it away or donate it. Simplify what you store in a space.

It’s really just this simple. Now warning. There are some people that will purge a space then later discover that they needed that item. Several years later think I should have kept it. But is it really necessary at this point or are you just going through a bit of remorse? Most often you are able to accomplish what you want without that thing. And just think you saved several years of storage.

Most importantly, don’t let your stuff stress you out. Either get rid of it or not. If the idea of getting rid of an item stresses you out, then don’t toss it. Keep it. You are allowed to keep things. Just make sure they are the right things, so they don’t take over your space and wreck your sanity.

Given all this newfound space and change created by decluttering, are you ready to renovate? You probably have a better understanding of the issue by this point.

I’m an Architect. My favorite thing to do is create stories through architectural design. Founder of Whitewash Studio architecture firm in Atlanta, GA.