The Joy Of Less Clutter

Click to learn about great ways to declutter.

by Anne Middleton, on June 1st, 2016

When we think about decluttering, we usually imagine a pristine closet with hangers all facing the same way, clothes organized by function and color, and pairs of shoes that are easy to identify.  The reality is that many of us have overstuffed drawers and closets full of items that would be better donated to a thrift store or sold at a yard sale.  Consider for just a moment how your life would look different if you owned fewer clothes and had a minimalist wardrobe.

As the cliché states, “less is more!” Creating a life without clutter can be liberating for the mind, body and soul. Scientists have published research studies that demonstrate physical clutter negatively affects your ability to focus, process information.

Garments and Accessories

If we are honest, we all have just a few favorite garments that we wear most often. At the same time, it is likely you also possess several accessories that have never seen the outside of your closet.

If this sounds like you, consider the concept of a minimalist wardrobe.

A minimalist wardrobe is a wardrobe that’s as functional as possible and clutter-free. It consists only of those pieces that suit your fashion and lifestyle. A minimalist wardrobe has only those items that can easily be mixed and matched for maximum efficiency.

Depending on the size of your existing wardrobe, an initial paring down won’t take long. Make a few piles – donate, sell, or recycle. Start with the clothes that you no longer wear. You’ll be surprised how much stuff you can remove from your home and prepare to sell at a yard sell or donate to a thrift store.

Living life with a minimalist wardrobe could simplify so many things:

• Mornings would feature less stress

• Closets would be well-organized and uncluttered

• Packing for business trips and vacations would take less time

• Fewer clothes in fewer colors require fewer accessories (shoes, belts, jewelry, handbags, etc.)

• You would likely spend less money knowing exactly what you have in your closet to wear and not re-purchasing an item just because you cannot find it in that avalanche of clothing at the bottom of your closet

If a minimalist wardrobe sounds appealing, try this:

• Focus on quality instead of quantity

• Concentrate on classic, not trendy fashion

• Be brave and rid your wardrobe of clothing that may be sentimental, but is no longer practical

• Streamline your wardrobe to only the clothes you'll actually wear

• Think about your life and work…if you don’t work in a corporate setting, why buy a suit?

• Pick colors and fabrics you feel comfortable wearing

• Select items you can wear for more than one season

• Only purchase pieces that can be paired together to create at least three outfits

Sell It

As you begin to declutter, you will probably find attire and products that have barely been worn (or never been worn at all!)  By selling these fashion items at a yard sale, you become a double winner:

1. You rid yourself of a messy closet and overstuffed drawers

2. You earn money to spend on something special (but not more clothes!)

A yard sale that is combined with neighbors and friends is even better because it offers more merchandise and is likely to attract more potential customers.  A yard sale that is advertised as “multiple parties selling together” will attract a larger number of potential buyers.

Donate More than Clothes

Removing the clothes, toys and other items you no longer need from your home is not always easy.

It is important to remember that by donating your excess garments, gadgets, small appliances and more, you transform all your gentle worn and reusable goods into support for others.  This is especially true when you donate your items to thrift stores that are run for nonprofit organizations such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill.

The impact of bringing your goods that you no longer enjoy to a thrift store creates benefits greater than you realize. Thrift store donations touch lives in the community and benefit worthwhile causes for people who are less fortunate.  You’ll likely be surprised at how much joy you feel when you drop off your goods at a thrift store. 

Most thrift stores, whether local or nationwide, provide a receipt of your donation that can be used to receive a tax write-off. Generous American taxpayers give away billions of dollars annually in used apparel, housewares, toys, jewelry and other goods. In 2010, according to the IRS, clothing donations alone were valued at $8.3 billion and housewares at $3.3 billion. 

However, beware when you donate to a thrift store. Although dropping off a bag of used clothes at a thrift shop can be a great way to support local cause, experts always suggest you ask these four questions:

1. Is the thrift store for-profit or non-profit?

2. Which charity will the thrift store benefit?

3. What percentage of the donation to the thrift store will the charity receive?

Live with Less

In her bestselling book, organizational guru Marie Kondo offers insight into the Japanese art of tidying, or releasing ourselves from the clutter that threatens chaos. The driving force behind Kondo’s method is simple: Keep the items that “spark joy,” and toss the ones that have no meaning. Kondo believes that “It’s typical to feel a sense of serenity after (completion of) the (organizational) process.”

So hop on board this organizational train and you may be surprised at the mental and physical benefits you receive from living an uncluttered life. Start now. Declutter your crammed closet, unload that overflowing toy chest and tidy up those jam-packed kitchen cabinets.  It’s time to consider a minimalist wardrobe and sharing your unneeded items by selling them at a yard sale or donating them to your favorite thrift store.  We guarantee you’ll be astonished at how good it feels to live with less.