Don’t Keep Repeat Decluttering | Declutter With Purpose

We don’t just want to declutter for the sake of decluttering, and we should never get rid of anything just for the sake of being a minimalist.
Most of us know we need to change.
We might think, okay, yep, we for sure, need to declutter. And we probably need better habits.
So let’s do this!
And, most of us don’t intend to be a minimalist.
I didn’t when I started.

I just knew I needed less stuff.

So I set out to declutter just to declutter.
There is a period of time where that needs to be our focus.
Well, the garage is overwhelming, so I need to declutter the garage.
And yes, we do need to declutter the garage.
But what are we going to put into place so we don’t have to declutter the garage again next year, and the year after that, and the year after that?

Just decluttering doesn’t solve our problem because our problem is too much stuff.

We need to do something to change what’s going on in our life so that our stuff isn’t requiring so much maintenance.
If we just declutter, we have to do it again later.
It’s just like following the yo-yo diets, where we diet or exercise, we lose a bunch of weight and then we stop doing what we’re doing and we gain it all back again.
Only this is with our stuff.
So we bring in all this stuff and we have too much.
Then we get rid of a bunch and then we bring in some more and we have to do it again.
Minimalism is a lifestyle change for our stuff.
When you see people that decide to get healthy, they change their diet, they change their exercise habits, they change their lifestyle to be that of an active, healthy person.
That’s what minimalism is for our stuff.
We don’t want to just get rid of it and then replace it again.
Instead, we want a lifestyle change so that we stop having to take care of, declutter, acquire, declutter again, stuff.

Yes, we are going to have to declutter.

That’s going to have to be a focus for a certain period of time, but we want to have a reason for our decluttering.
And my reason was best summed up in minimalism.
Minimalism helps me do everything that I wanted to do: I wanted to be present with my family. I wanted to spend more time in God’s word with him, praying, studying. I wanted to spend more time with people.
I wanted to be able to invite people over without being stressed out, overwhelmed, or ending up with a bedroom that was completely cluttered while everything else in the house looked great.

Those are the things that I wanted to occupy my time.

So in order to do that and not spend time decluttering, acquiring, decluttering, acquiring, decluttering, acquiring, I needed to change the whole lifestyle.
That’s what minimalism did for me.
I don’t want minimalism to define me as in “Look at me, I’m a minimalist. That’s why I don’t have this, and this, and this and this.”
Instead, embracing minimalism helped me define how I want to live my life.

If I embrace minimalism, my house would help me do those things that I say are a priority.

Now there’s going to be a cost to this.
And I think it was Dawn, The Minimal Mom, who talked about that in one of her videos…
Yes, we get rid of our just in case things. And then one day, we’re in need of it. This is the sacrifice that I’m willing to make because minimalism makes my entire life easier, even if just in this one little area, it was kind of an inconvenience.
Not having to declutter that garage every single year means I can spend more time doing other things.
Most of us would never purposely choose material possessions over relationships.
We don’t see it unless we watch a hoarder show where they show the extreme version of it.
But if we only stay in that state of decluttering and acquiring and we never change our lifestyle, how do we spend our time? Oh, I’ve got to declutter again. This time I’m going to declutter the dining room.

Minimalism helps me keep things in balance.

It means that I have time to spend with people to do things instead of just being overwhelmed by my home.
But one of the reasons that you don’t find minimalists with lists of this is exactly what you need in your home is because we all live completely different lives.
We all have different needs, we all cook different foods, we all have different activity levels, we all have different hobbies.
So no one person can tell you exactly what you need in your home.

You’re the only person that can do that.

As I was going through my decluttering journey, I had to challenge myself, do the Christmas dishes really enhance my life? Do they help me? Do they serve me? Do I love them? Do I use them? What about the serving dishes? What about the sundresses? What about my five-inch heels?
And I had to evaluate which ones were the most important, which ones serve me, which ones made my life easier.
Please don’t ever get rid of anything for the sake of being a minimalist.
Minimalism is a tool.
It’s not meant to be an identity.
If you need to pinpoint why you want to embrace minimalism and what that needs to look like for you, I created the Minimalist Mindset Journaling Course.  A 21-day course with journaling prompts to help you figure out why you want to do this.

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey after I'd been doing a yearly decluttering challenge for 4 years and started to see a change in my home. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, please join our FREE Facebook Group: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group


  1. Gillian Dale on 08/10/2021 at 8:33 pm

    I love that list of questions you asked about your Christmas things. Very helpful. I plan to use it the ideas, tweak it for myself. Thank you.

  2. Heather Lawlor on 04/12/2022 at 11:40 pm

    Please help with a thought process to evaluate things your kids give you. I see time, effort and love put into things – I just have so much! Give me a ‘Christmas dishes’ process for that, please!

  3. Anne Noordzy on 05/07/2022 at 3:11 pm

    I have been stuck in the decluttering-acquiring cycle for so very long, almost 30 years. I started decluttering purposefully in the early months of the covid pandemic. I am almost where i want to be and it feels good. Yesterday I made some very deliberate and well thought through online purchases. I no longer enjoy shopping as an outing or even to purchase necessities so online availability of goods works well for me when I need it. I have also taken your advice about one-touch and always know where to find my phone, keys and wallet. The biggest change is my living room where I tidy up everything each night and put away anything I have used. I have not “lost” a remote control in months! Thank you.

    • Rachel Jones on 05/09/2022 at 10:19 am

      That’s wonderful Anne!! ❤️

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