We all have different sized homes, and we all feel like that determines our decluttering success (or not).
I am no stranger to decluttering in a small home. Our family has lived in a 27X8 foot RV with 3 kids and a Saint Bernard. It wasn’t ideal, and I actually didn’t enjoy it at all (it was not one of those luxury renovated RVs).
I have also lived in homes ranging from 900-3,000 square feet and currently as a family of 7 we are in 2,000 square feet.
The reason I share this is so you know that I practice what I teach, and I get it. So when I give the following recommendations I know they work. And I know that they’re often not what people want, but it is what they need.
When decluttering in a small home, the key to your success is acceptance.
You might want a bigger home, or a full home library, a craft room or something for everything in your kitchen. But the reality might be you just don’t have the space for it (right now). And continuing to live in an ideal world with things that fit into the ideal world, prevents you from having a home that works for you right now.
Not only does it not work, but it is causing you stress, anxiety, frustration and making you spend your time just trying to make it all fit when it doesn’t.
And that’s hard. Because a lot of our stuff reminds us of our potential lives. The potential we want to live out. That just isn’t in the cards for the season of life we are in right now, and that’s okay.
Distinguish between your wants, needs and non-negotiables.
This is one simple tip I can offer and will give some examples of what this looks like.
A non-negotiable is something that you MUST have. There is no way to not have it.
For example, clothing, dishes, beds and bedding. These are non-negotiables of course.
Needs are where you have the most creativity and flexibility when decluttering in a small home.
You might wonder how needs are flexible? Here’s one good example. At one point while living in the RV I was homeschooling my children. Their education at home was a need.
It is easy to think that means we also have a need for a large, comprehensive curriculum. But that really is a want.
In order to meet out need I was able to utilize online resources, libraries and local meet up groups.
A curriculum to store in our RV that would not have fit, was not a non-negotiable and so I found ways to get our need met without filling up our space with things.
Think of needs your family has and all the ways you can get them met without holding onto an amount of stuff that doesn’t fit into your home.
Wants are self explanatory.
I want an edible garden in my home. And right now I have space for it. So, we have a standing hydro-garden to use inside. It is not a need, and I would be sad if I had to let it go (right now).
Wants serve a purpose for us, too and they matter. The key is to compromise on what things we get to fill that desire for us. Before I had space for a hydro-garden I compromised by having potted herbs in the kitchen. Both bring me joy and allowed me to indulge in my wants. I just need to make sure it fits within my actual home and life.