I thought it might be nice to write down a few things I say to myself as I'm going through a cupboard, drawer or closet and letting things go. As you gain momentum and a habit for letting go of things that no longer add value, the process becomes a little easier.
First, where to start? If there is a space that stresses me out every time I look at it/open it- I know there is work to be done. First you need to take everything out. As you're removing do the initial purge of things that are clearly good to toss. Expired food or stained clothes. A random piece to a toy you no longer own, etc. it may or may not be garbage, but these things are pretty obvious and easy to get rid of. Next when you have that pile go through it again without putting anything back yet. Ask yourself these questions as you go "when was the last time I used this?" "When was the last time I even thought about this?" "Have my children outgrown it and is it worth storing?" "Why am I keeping this?" "Would I buy this again right now?" "Is it useful?" "Do I really need _(insert number here)_ of these? "Does this go somewhere else?" Etc
At this point if there is a lot of stuff you can start making piles. Make a mess before making everything clean and organized. Make the following piles:
• for sure to keep
• goes somewhere else in the house
• can't decide
I usually give myself just a few seconds with each item. What is your gut telling you? If you go to toss something don't second guess yourself or put it in the "can't decide" pile. Just get rid of it. I have come to trust my subconscious and instinct and it makes the process go by much quicker. I NEVER go back through my get rid of pile. If you give yourself long enough you can talk yourself into keeping almost anything.
It's time to put things back. The goal is to organize as you go. Do you have an extra plastic tote lying around that would work well here? Go get it. Need to refold all those towels to fit better? Now is the time to do that. If you find yourself over-stuffing the space- get brutally honest and either find a new home for things or get rid of them. Remember, fear or greed are the two things keeping us from letting go. Be honest and give yourself permission to lighten your load. You will NEVER regret it.
At this point your space should feel light and stress free. You should be able to open and close the door without having to adjust everything. Everything should have a place. Remember our family's needs change and so can your storage places. If you're kids are growing up you can switch things from down low to a little higher now that they can reach, etc.
Address the other piles. Go put things away in their actual home. Don't just shove them somewhere for now. Put the garbage in the dumpster and your donate stuff in the trunk! You shouldn't put your donate pile/bag/box in a place you can see. Get it out of your line of sight and out of mind until you can drop it off.
This whole process can take 2 minutes if you're re-addressing a small kitchen cabinet or 2 hours if you're going through your closet. Even after purging my home I find myself adjusting and making changes whenever I feel the "flow" is off somehow. Again, if you feel any kind of stress or discontent when you open a drawer/door/cabinet it's time to make a change.
Hopefully this process will help you! What space comes to your mind as you read this? Let me know how it goes as you simplify and minimize :)