If you’ve been anywhere around the internet, I’m sure you’ve heard about Marie Kondo and how “Tidying Up” is the new black. I love that she’s inspiring folks to get rid of the clutter that doesn’t serve them. Because, truly, excess clutter gets in the way of living your best life. But, the thing is, for some folks, shedding everything that doesn’t “spark joy” feels minimalistic. Where’s the middle ground? Let’s talk about how to declutter without going minimalist.

Let me be clear: I do agree that if you have too much stuff in your home, it can effect your ability to love your life. And going with a mantra like “does this item spark joy” as a path to getting rid of things that are truly clutter can be helpful. Because clutter distracts you from your goals.

But know that you can declutter without being a minimalist.

For some of us, a home that has been decluttered of everything can feel sterile. I’m reminded of how, in the movie The Quiet Man, Maureen O’Hara grieved when her brother withheld her belongings after her wedding to John Wayne.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of having my own things about me. My spinnet over there, and a table here, and my own chairs to rest upon. And a dresser over there in that corner, and my own china and pewter shinin’ about me.”

There can be great sentimental attachments to being surrounded by items that we love. And that’s the goal I want to share with you. Of how you can shed the excess, but still keep your sense of style. And have a home that feels loving and warm to you.

Here’s some things to consider if you want to know how to declutter without going minimalist.

The first action to take is to get rid of things that are basically trash. You know what I mean. Piles of newspapers and magazines. Things you’ve been meaning to recycle. Stuff you’ve saved because maybe you’ll do that craft project. Be honest with yourself about what is really trash.

Now, walk around your home and snag anything that feels out of place to you. Part of learning how to declutter without going minimalist? Knowing that your home will feel less cluttered when everything has a place.  You don’t have to discard these items. Rather, gather them all in one location (a table, the counter) so that you can later put each one in its permanent home.

Identify the hot spots in your home. Those places where you toss your purse or keys. Where the kids discard their backpacks. Any flat surface where stuff gathers can feel tidier when you clear the hot spots. And then designate place for what typically gathers here.

Look at the big stuff in your house: furniture. Is there furniture that you really don’t like? Or needs repair? What about the furniture you bought just to fill a space? When you declutter by discarding furniture that doesn’t serve a purpose,  you open up space in your home. Space doesn’t equal minimalism.

Next up: identify decorative items you truly love. Those knick knacks that may have no monetary value, but great sentimental value. And the art pieces that just make you feel happy or joyful. It’s possible some of these items are in your pile of items without a spot of their own.

Now that you’ve gotten rid of trash, shed excess furniture, and identified some things that are important to you, it’s time to shed useless items. Any item in your home that isn’t used on a regular basis. The dishes you never use. The clothes you never really wear. Or are saving for when you lose weight.

That’s is the beginning of how to declutter without going minimalist. Now for how to breathe life into your home.

  • Rearrange any furniture if you need to fill some “holes” in your design.
  • Ask yourself if the rooms in your home need a fresh coat of paint. Or simply a good scrubbing and dusting. When a space is fresh and welcoming, it is less likely to feel cluttered.
  • Return to the gathering of items that felt out of place. Begin to place them in spots that can be permanent.
  • Arrange items in clusters. When you gather like items together in an artful manner, it comes across as a design choice rather than clutter. Recently, i pulled out two place settings of my grandmother’s china and put them on display in my dining room.
  • Add true decorative touches. Items like flowers, candles, and throw pillows bring warmth and personality.
You can have a home that “sparks joy” without it feeling sterile. Just like you can have decorate items about your home without it feeling cluttered.

I have struggled with clutter and messiness my entire life, yet I can trace much of my personal growth back to shedding clutter of some sort. This approach has saved me time and again.

The trick of how to declutter without going minimalist is to be discerning. Shed things that don’t serve you. Regularly tidy up and clean up so your home feels neat, yet welcoming. Don’t keep stuff simply because you’d feel guilty if you ditched it. You deserve a home that supports your life and your dreams. And you can have that without living in a sterile environment.

Decluttering will always be a path to creating a life you love. Just know you can do that without ditching it all.


Now that you have some ideas on how to declutter without going minimalist, are you ready to get to decluttering?

how to declutter without going minimalist - and keep a tidy homeGetting clear in your life by dealing with your physical clutter (big clutter and small clutter) will allow you to direct your precious energy towards creating the clear path to living your best possible life.

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