Do This Before You Declutter

Does creating a space you love that brings you energy and peace feel impossible? The problem might lie in how you start your decluttering process. Creating an ideal space is such a personal, ever evolving thing that requires time, emotional discipline, and a vision of what you are ultimately striving for. The act of recreating a space itself can be an overwhelming feat, especially if this is your hundredth attempt at clearing out your home. In order to help create lasting results and finally come to building a space that works for you, here are some things you should do before you start on your next home re-organization/redesign project.

1. Find Your “Why”

You hear this a lot in business, but the most important thing to do in the beginning of any project is to figure your Why. Why do you want to change your space? Why is the current space not serving you and what about it makes you want to change? This serves as your North Star and your compass when you run into obstacles and start to go off track. In the journey of decluttering and space recreation, you’re bound to run into a few items that no longer serve you. Things that are sentimental to you, or even sentimental to others. Having a clear Why sets your intention for the project and will help you navigate through those obstacles to achieve the results you desire.

2. Visualize

How you plan to use the space, whether it be a kitchen, home office, etc., will determine the parameters of how you can recreate it. This is important to consider ahead of time before any reorganization/declutter project because it will not only determine what you keep but also where you’re going to put it. Think about what you want to surround yourself with that will not only bring you joy, keep your mind clear and less distracted, but will also serve the function of the room. For example, if you frequently use your printer and scanner, you may want to place it in a location close to your work station so that you won’t have to constantly waste time and mental energy walking back and forth to retrieve your documents. It may not seem like a big deal, but true functionality and productivity comes down to the seconds. The less you have to think about anything else besides the core part of your work, the clearer and better your decision making will be because you won’t have anything to distract you and break your focus.

3. What About Essentials?

Essential items that are neutral (it neither brings joy nor stress) should be kept up to a practical level. My mother likes to buy packs of pens to the point where they dry out years before anyone ever uses them. Most of the time they’re not quality pens that fits the preferred needs of the individual users in the household, so other pens get purchased anyways - further putting what we already have to waste. I suggest taking stock of essential items you currently have, and be honest with yourself. Do you really need this much, and does it provide any real value to you?

4. Prep For Obstacles

This could be a whole post in itself because getting rids of anything is hard. There is attachment, there is the what-if’s, or the fear of disregarding, even disrespecting, someone’s memory by letting go of material items linked to that person. And if you’ve experienced a lot of loss, lack of control in your life, or experienced regret over a relationship that had gone sour, collecting and keeping material items could be your way of making up for those things. In order to ensure that you get your dream space and succeed in your mission to create a more beautiful life for yourself, explore WHY you’ve held on to certain items for so long and explore why it’s so hard to let go. Ask yourself the hard questions and answer honestly. Know that the act possessing does not heal but deepens your wounds. Allowing yourself to forgive and let go will help you to heal that wound, appreciate the good you’ve once had, and enjoy the good you currently have in your life.

5. Get to Work

Now it’s time to declutter. There are many methods you can choose from: the famous Kon Mari Method, the Minimalist Game, Packing Party, or decluttering one room at a time to name a few. Choose a method that works with you the best or play around with all these different methods. If you are particularly sentimental but want to reduce your clutter down, I would go with the Kon Mari Method where you only keep what serves you and brings you joy.

6. BONUS: Keep A Journal

This step is completely optional, but if you find you’re having an incredibly hard time decluttering, I’d suggest starting a journal. Write down your experience, how good it feels to let go of certain items, your struggle in getting rid of others. Document your doubts, your fears, and constantly ask why, then answer your own question the best you can. This will help you deeply reflect on some old truths that have been collecting dust in your mind, like that box of McDonalds Kid’s Meal Beanie Babies you used to collect cause everyone thought they were going to be of value of some day.

Decluttering and creating the space you want is more than just redecorating and getting rid of old stuff. It’s about creating and having mastery over your world. The best environment is a space that works for your needs and brings you clarity and peace. By decluttering, you not only remove the unnecessary items in your life, but also remove unnecessary baggage that you carry in your emotional body. These two work together to help you heal old wounds and create the space you’ve always wanted.

I would love to hear from you! Please, share with me your thoughts and any tips and tricks you have to declutter your space and any decorating tips.

Claire Ngoon is a Spiritual Home Organizer and Private Yoga Instructor. For more information, contact her at

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