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The Best Ways To Declutter Your Life For A Fresh Start

There are both mental and financial benefits to decluttering – and some of them might shock you! Keep reading to learn how it can improve your health, and then learn how to declutter your life so you can get that fresh start that you want.

Maybe you’ve heard of Marie Kondo and how decluttering on a regular basis is a great way to improve your mental health. I can tell you that I’ve felt and lived that in my life. 

Since embracing minimalism almost a decade ago, I’ve learned there are many ways that decluttering improves your life

Less stuff leads to less stress, and there is no doubt that I have more time, money and energy than ever before. My home is a blissful retreat, and I love walking through my front door. Instead of feeling constantly overwhelmed with housework, I’m able to relax and truly enjoy my living space. 

I’m grateful for all the gifts that decluttering has brought into my life … but to be honest, the greatest joy was completely unexpected. Keep reading to hear more about the most surprising way that decluttering has improved my life. Then, I’ll share the best way to start your decluttering journey. 

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Why We Have Clutter

In order to fully explain this surprising benefit of decluttering, we need to start by understanding why we have clutter in the first place. 

Of course, this is a complex question, and the exact answer will vary from person to person. Still, after many long conversations with family, friends and readers, I’ve noticed a common theme. 

A lack of clarity … we’re not sure what we want or need in our lives. 

This can manifest as confusion about our personal style. You see it in our closets and in how we decorate our homes. When we’re not confident about what we like, we’re easily swayed by magazine articles and shop displays. 

The result? A lot of stuff but minimal satisfaction. When the things we own don’t represent who we really are inside, there’s a disconnect, and it leaves us searching for something more. It’s a never-ending cycle … and this is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Look deeper, and you’ll often find confusion about personal values—who are you, and what do you believe in? 

If your life is cluttered, then there’s a good chance that you’re not sure how to answer this question, and it shows. Without a deep sense of purpose and belonging, you feel adrift and restless. You’re pulled in all directions, chasing every shiny object that catches your attention in search of something that will make you feel whole and satisfied. 

A new dress, a new car, a vacation or a career change

There’s always something on the horizon, but it doesn’t matter. There’s still a missing piece to the puzzle.

Think about it. When was the last time you made a decision quickly without second-guessing yourself or asking someone for their input? A lot of time a cluttered space means you have a cluttered mind, and little things (like what you want for your birthday) can send you into a tailspin. 

What Happens When We Declutter?

But what happens when we start clearing clutter from our lives? 

As I’ve mentioned, there are immediate benefits. Less stuff means less time cleaning, less tripping over toys, and less stress overall. 

But then what? 

As you continue to declutter, the going gets harder. You’ve cleared the “easy” stuff—old t-shirts and extra coffee mugs—and now it’s time to challenge yourself. The expensive designer handbag you never use, a dusty sewing machine, an unread book collection

It can feel almost painful to let go of some items … but why? 

Why Decluttering Is Hard

Again, it’s not an easy question to answer, but I do believe that often, there’s a fear of being vulnerable. Owning certain things can be a way of protecting ourselves from the world. It feels “safe” to hide behind clutter, using it as a mask to avoid the risk of exposure. 

That expensive designer handbag shows you’re successful, even if you don’t feel that way inside. A sewing machine might prove you’re a “good” homemaker, and your book collection is evidence that you’re well-read and educated. These items signal to the world confidence that you might not feel on the inside. 

This unspoken relationship with your clutter makes it hard to let go, but when you do, something surprising starts to happen.

A table with a stack of books, a plant, and a lamp on top.

The Surprising Impact of Decluttering

At first, a decluttered life can actually be uncomfortable. You might feel bored or uneasy with your new space and be tempted to fill it with something else. Maybe letting go of things makes you want to buy more. 

But sit with your discomfort for a bit and notice what happens …

I’m a firm believer that when you do the inner work, you won’t have a hard time plowing through your decluttering checklist. 

Let’s look at a wardrobe, for example. 

Higher Self-Esteem

When you have a decluttered closet, and you start dressing with a simple wardrobe, what do you see when you look in the mirror? 

For me, it was an entirely new experience. I used to get dressed while thinking about the persona that I was creating, almost like an actress getting ready to go on stage. 

I was “professional Jen”, “easy-going Jen”, or “confident Jen”, and I chose my outfits based on the person I wanted to present to the world. 

It felt safe, but after I decluttered my closet, my costumes were gone. Suddenly, I had less to hide behind, and I was forced to look at MYSELF in the mirror. Raw and unfiltered … I didn’t recognise my reflection, and honestly, it was painful at first. 

Still, I resisted the urge to buy more “stuff”, and in time, I was rewarded with the gift of self-worth. 

I started to wear less makeup, I stopped coloring my grey hair, and I learned to genuinely love the woman staring back at me. I began to feel comfortable in my own skin and confident too, in a way that had eluded me for decades. 

I noticed similar ripples of change in all aspects of my life. 

In the past, I had purchased a home that I didn’t really want in order to signal that I was a  “successful adult”. After decluttering, I realised my self-worth is not defined by my place of residence. I chose to downsize to a tiny studio, and this enabled me to become debt-free for the first time in my adult life.

Freedom To Live Your Best Life

My increased self-worth also empowered me to declutter my schedule. After a lifetime as a workaholic, I found the courage to step back from a career that didn’t make me happy. 

I stopped worrying about what other people would think and decided to take control of my schedule. I started working less and writing more … and this eventually led to a completely new career path

It may not be immediately obvious, but all of these changes were made possible because of decluttering. I was no longer defined by my possessions, and this gave me courage that I never knew I had. 

I don’t need “stuff” to protect me because I’m confident in my own self-worth. I know who I am and what I believe in, and this is the greatest gift of decluttering.

Related Post: The Link Between My Minimalist Wardrobe and Self-Acceptance [Episode 11]

Less Time Worrying

The other surprising benefit of decluttering is that you won’t have to worry about how to find more storage space. When you own less stuff, spring cleaning is a breeze! This lack of worrying about where to put things is one of the best things about letting go of stuff. 

You’ll have more time to put your energy into the important things in life. Plan date nights, read a new book from the library, embrace natural beauty instead of fretting about which new beauty products to try. It’s one more step towards a stress-free life. 

Decluttering Continues to Improve Your Life

The good news is this is a gift that just keeps giving. 

Decluttering creates a positive feedback loop. The more you declutter, the more you learn about who you are, which in turn, makes it easier to let go. You’re no longer pulled in a million directions because you know what matters to you. 

It doesn’t happen overnight. You probably won’t feel different right away but keep going and see what happens. 

Every time you make a decluttering decision, you’re not just deciding to let go. You’re also making a decision about the type of person you want to be. It won’t be easy— you’ll get stuck, feel confused and probably want to give up on the whole idea of clutter-free living. 

Trust me, it took me several years to make any progress with my own clutter, and I wanted to throw in the towel many, MANY times! I know it doesn’t feel “magical” when you’re in the messy middle … but then one day, you look in the mirror and you catch yourself smiling at your reflection. 

And you’ll wonder why you ever needed so much stuff in the first place.

How to Start Decluttering Your Life

It sounds a bit overwhelming, so let’s break this down into small steps. Follow these simple tips and you’ll create a home environment that will give you room to make good memories (and even improve your physical health). 

Make A List 

The first thing you need to do is to make a list of the most important places to start. Where do you spend the most time? Which areas of your home or life are stressing you out the most?

After you know where you’ll start, write down how you will declutter. Make this a part of your daily routine so that you know you have time to do it. It can be as simple as putting a trash bag in your closet and adding one piece of clothing to it to donate every time you get dressed. 

Your values are another great place to start. Write down who or what is most important to you right now. Make a list of things that matter to you and then prioritize decluttering so that those things or people are kept at the highest priority. 

If you’re new here, I invite you to download a copy of Mindful Decluttering, my FREE decluttering guide and workbook. You’ll learn the exact step-by-step process I used to declutter my home and life. There are also troubleshooting tips to help you overcome your biggest decluttering challenges. 

To get your copy, simply subscribe below, and as an added bonus, you’ll get my regular newsletter with tips, resources and inspiration for simple, intentional living.

In addition, you might enjoy one of these popular blog posts:

Declutter Your Physical Space 

Now you’re ready to start decluttering small areas of your house. I have a lot of articles that help you learn more about physical decluttering. But to start, just spend a little time and sort items in a small area – like your closet – into the keep, throw away, or donate piles. Set a timer and just spend 20 minutes a day. It will make a difference! 

Remember to keep important documents in a fireproof box. Store your favorite things in a tote with a lid so that it protects them. And only keep material things that improve your mental state. If something makes you feel stressed, worried, not good enough, or brings up bad memories, let it go. 

In addition, you might enjoy one of these popular blog posts:

Declutter Social Media 

One of the most effective ways to improve your mental health is to declutter your social media accounts. Think about it. How much time do you spend on social media? 

It’s probably more than you think! All that time depletes our energy and robs us of joy. 

Prioritize your social life – even your online social life – so that you keep the people that help you grow and let go of the people that don’t. And don’t spend your precious time comparing yourself to others or seeking outside approval. Set ground rules for social media use (maybe only so much of it each day or set limits on how much personal information you share) so that you keep your life private. 

Let Go Of Toxic Relationships 

From online relationships to real life, it’s also important to only invest time in family members and friends that support and encourage you. If someone takes more than they give, let them go. 

Trust me, this is easier said than done, I get it. The main reason so many people stay in toxic relationships is because it’s painful to stand up for yourself and often hard work to establish and maintain boundaries. But both of these things are good things and you need to do it so you can thrive. 

When you let go of unhealthy relationships, you’ll have more mental space to give to people that matter (including yourself). Your stress levels will go down, and a number of things will improve around you! In fact, this emotional exercise is just as important as decluttering your physical environment. 

Get Support 

Finally, if you want more support, then check out my online decluttering course, Clear Your Clutter. I teach a heart-centred, compassionate approach to decluttering—you’ll learn how to think like a minimalist so you can own less stuff, be less busy and stop wasting money.

This course has absolutely been a game-changer for me. I love Jennifer’s personal stories and simple approach. I had so many “aha” moments when taking this course, and I have finally been able to make progress, decluttering my stickiest clutter and making purchases that I don’t regret later. I would highly recommend this course to anyone who has encountered stumbling blocks on their minimalism journey. Thanks to Jennifer, I can now say, “I AM a minimalist!” – Lynne B, Clear Your Clutter student

How has decluttering improved your life? Have you noticed a link between less stuff and increased self-worth? Let us know in the comments! x

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5 thoughts on “The Best Ways To Declutter Your Life For A Fresh Start”

  1. I found your blog this morning through Becoming Minimalist and I am in a good place of finally getting rid of the rest of my unwanted items. I had been saving many thing to sell, but even if I made $1000 it wouldn’t be worth the effort and the immediate sense of relief I would get if I just donated it. I found a very worthy organization that helps woman and children and I’m in the process of boxing it up. I have read about 10 of your articles this morning and feel more intent than ever on creating this life that I want. I already feel more in tune with myself and what matters most to me from what I’ve already accomplished, but reading through your blog has given me the desire and drive to dig even deeper where there will be true magic. I can already feel it!! I relate to so much of what you have shared and said and I love your style of writing. It’s been a true blessing!! Thank you!! Now back to reading more of your inspiring posts!!

  2. Hello! I realized that this is exactly what is needed for my life. I really buy a lot of things that I see from my friends and on fashion blogs, but then I don’t understand if I really like it. I completely agree with your article. It is very important to find yourself and a way like decluttered can help a lot. I want to follow your advice and do the same in order to understand myself. Thanks for the tips!

  3. I absolutely love this post. I wonder if many of us underestimate how decluttering can help to improve our lives? I decluttered my whole home a few months back and since then, I feel like I can think infinitely clearer & I feel far more relaxed and centred. Thank you for spreading the word! I think SO many people would notice an improvement in their lives if they had less stuff lying around their homes!


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