Decluttering can be a very overwhelming task to begin. We hear words like “Kon Mari method” and “purging”. You may even cringe when you hear the word “declutter”. You have so many piles and drawers and closets and cabinets to go through that you aren’t sure where to start. There are so many areas of your home that should be addressed first but you aren’t sure how to prioritize. It can become not only physically exhausting but mentally and emotionally as well.

We also tend to attach a lot of emotions to our material belongings. We place value on possessions because they are reminders of past events, people in our lives, and experiences. However, it does us no good to store all of these possessions somewhere out of sight. It’s not honoring the memory they represent or the function in which the item was meant to be used. Through the decluttering process, we need to be willing to let go so that we are free to move on to more productive and fulfilling action. Otherwise, the possessions will begin to possess you and will weigh you down and will prevent you from moving forward.

Decluttering can save you both time and money. When you have less possessions to keep track of, organize, and maintain, you save time by not having to search multiple locations and are able to locate what you want quickly. It relieves a lot of the mental load it takes to keep track of everything. Decluttering can also save you money and even earn you some extra cash.

During one of my moves, I decided to take the time to go through my storage unit and determine what I was going to keep and what needed to be donated or thrown out. It turns out that I got rid of 75% of what had been in the storage unit while the remaining 25% found a useful place in my home. By taking the time to go through the storage unit, I was able to save $1,000 a year in storage unit rental fees. It was definitely worth the time and effort! Another great way to make some extra cash is through online sites, such as Poshmark, eBay and ThredUp. I was able to sell some of my dresses through Poshmark and got some extra spending money in return!

So how do you get started with decluttering without getting overwhelmed? Here are some of my top tips:

Start with one small area. This sounds so simple and basic and yet it is often forgotten when we are roaming from room to room in our house. Start with one closet, one shelf or one drawer. Having this small decluttering win will give you the motivation to move on to other areas and the mental ability to attack some of the larger areas of your home.

Use the one-touch method. When you are decluttering an area, make it a rule that once you touch an item, you have to decide if you will keep it, throw it away or donate/sell. It forces you to make a decision before moving on and it will speed the decluttering process along because you won’t spend the time lingering on any one item.

Ask yourself if you have used the item within the last year. I know many of us – me included – are guilty of holding on to items to have on hand just in case we need them. The truth of the matter is that most of you reading this blog post have the access and ability to replace that item should you find that you need to use it in the future. A good rule of thumb is that you should get rid of multiples of an item that cost less than $20 to replace and you can readily purchase within a 20 minute ratio of your home.

Decluttering doesn’t have to be a huge burden; in fact, it’s an activity that can help you achieve personal freedom from your possession. The key to successfully decluttering your home is to focus on one area at a time and to pace yourself. The end product will result in less stress and more time to focus on the things you want to in your life.

What area of your home do you want to begin decluttering first? What are some easy first steps you can take to declutter that space?