The past year has taught us that home is more than where you hang your hat. Your space affects your joy and mental health in more ways than you may have realized. Did you know that items you choose to fill your space can positively or negatively affect your mood and how you perceive the world? Psychologists like Carl Jung, Lindsay T. Graham, Christopher K. Travis, Samuel D. Gosling have studied this very thing. How you arrange your home says a lot about how you interact in the outside world and can dramatically increase your productivity and joy. Imagine your space as if it were your mind. If your brain space is full of things that do not bring you joy or offer functionality, you cannot process thoughts effectively. Through Hygge (hoo-gah), we will share our guide for decluttering and loving your home to promote joy in every aspect of your life.
Part of hygge is savouring simple pleasures and enjoying even quiet moments. This process should be invigorating. Start with just one room and move on from there as you are able. Remember that the point of decluttering is to reveal the potential and love of your space. Take it slow and immerse yourself in the healing of the decluttering process.
Separate Items by Function, Sentiment, and Beauty
Each item you choose to stay in your space must fit one of these key criteria: function, sentiment, or beauty. The intention of decluttering is not to reduce the functionality of your room. Functional design can be aesthetically pleasing, and when items work as they should, you will feel a sense of peace. My internal formula is order = calm.
Conversely, it is okay to have something with no reasonable functionality just because its beauty brings you joy. In fact, as long as it works with the goals for the room, we firmly advocate for it! The same is true of sentimental items. Items that remind you of a special someone or favourite time in your life should be given pride of place.
Remove Items that Serve No Purpose
For some, this can be the most challenging part of the decluttering process, while others love the rush that removing blockages from your space gives. As we mentioned in the beginning of this article, the things that remain in your space affect how you function as a person. When you remove things that serve no meaningful purpose in your life, you feel more productive and ready to handle everything the world demands of you. You are not weighted by the clutter of your past and are ready to move forward.
How do you know which items to let go? This is a very personal decision, but we have compiled a few questions to ask of each item:
When was the last time I used this item? For everyday use items, if it is longer than six-months, this is not an item you need to keep. For a seasonal or occasional use item, one-to-two years would be a consideration.
Does this item bring me joy? Do I still like this style? If the answer is no to either of these questions, it is time to remove this time from your home.
Does this item bring me negative feelings? If the answer is yes, protect your mental health and remove this item from your home. You do not need items in your space that do not make you happy.
Do I have space to store this item? Some items do not need to be displayed every day, but we keep them because they are wonderful personal artifacts of a life well-lived. If your storage is limited, be very choosy with which of these items make it into your space. Perhaps create groupings of common objects in shadow boxes or on a wall.
Is this item in disrepair and are you unable or unwilling to fix it? We all have those items that we have thought about fixing, but we never do. These items are adding to your mental to-do list every time you look at them and you could be doing so many better things with your time. It’s time to let them go.
Sell, Donate, or Discard Unnecessary Items
Another happy consequence of removing items that no longer bring you positive feelings is that they can bring someone else joy. There is an adage that goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. Just because the item no longer works for you, does not mean it will not work for someone else. Isn’t that a wonderful feeling to know that you can offer someone else the joy this item once gave you?
If selling the items is not your first choice, donating or offering items for free is a wonderful way to give back. Many charities take gently used items and you will be giving new life to your items to someone in need. Women in Need Society and Habitat for Humanity are two excellent options.
Some items are no longer usable and must be discarded. This can be difficult if the item once held a strong attachment. If the item can be repaired or repurposed, but is unusable in its current state, you may offer it for free. There are many individuals whose joy is to reimagine items in a new way. If this is not for you, there are many services which will remove your discarded items at a reasonable rate.
Final Step in Decluttering: Enjoy!
Now that you’ve removed items that don’t work, you are free to enjoy the beauty you have created for yourself. The best thing about this process is making new memories in your orderly and cozy space. That’s the real hygge magic in the decluttering process. It creates room for spectacular moments that were once filled with things.