“Putting your house in order, should be done once and for all within a single period of time. By successfully completing this once in a lifetime task, you will achieve the lifestyle you aspire to and be able to enjoy a clean and uncluttered space of your choosing. I realise it’s hard to believe if you have never tried it, but once you’ve completed this dramatic clean up, you will have no difficulty whatsoever in putting things back where they belong or where to keep new things”.
This got me thinking. Can you declutter once? You know… a really big spring clean, and never have to do it again?
My take is no. Staying decluttered is hard work. I’ve written a blog especially about this. Doing one big purge is definitely recommended as you have a baseline to work with from there. Then, anything new coming in gets scrutinised before it gets a home.
But what this ideal doesn’t account for is the stuff we kept. Over time, our needs change. Our tastes change. Our collections change. The quality of the item changes. All of this requires us to then look back over things and decide if it’s still needed or wanted. So a big purge may not be needed, but each area does need to be assessed regularly to make sure they all still deserve a spot in our home. Having lived a decluttered life for many years, I know it’s a constant effort to stay on top of clutter.
When you do a big declutter, you will hopefully have created homes for items. This means stuff should now get put away where it belongs. But we’re human. We get lazy. Complacent. Some stuff doesn’t get put away and then we’re backsliding into clutterdom again. Or, we may start a new hobby, so we have stuff we’ve never owned before, so we don’t have a home for it yet. It isn’t evident to us at the time of entry that it will need a much bigger spot for it to live then it currently does. That’s only evident on reflection. This might create clutter until we give it our attention and get it sorted.
Doing this also doesn’t take into account things that end up with sentimental or emotions attachments to them. When we first let something take up residence in our home, it may not have any sentimental attachment. But as time passes, it gains some sort of emotional status in our hearts and makes it difficult to let it go. These things will take up your time again. Needing you to assess, reflect and decide on if it stays or goes.
Further to this, Marie Kondo says,
“Dramatically tidy the place in one hit as you’ll see the results and want to keep it that way”.
This is a great thing to be able to do. It is very unrealistic for most though. We don’t all have the luxury to do it in one hit. Or the energy. My experience is that most declutter slowly and leave large gaps between efforts. This means you don’t see your progress. So if you can, dedicate time to decluttering daily, or weekly so you can see the results. Keeping it that way however, takes a lot of awareness and effort. Her statement encourages perfection, but realistically, it rarely happens like she suggests. Our place stays that way [decluttered] with a lot of hard work. Awareness. Effort. If we aren’t always vigilant to what enters our home, we will be decluttering all over again in six months’ time.
So, can you declutter once and never have to think of it again? I personally don’t think so. There are ways to maintain your decluttered space though, so don’t despair! How can you make sure you don’t have to purge frequently?