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How to declutter your car in five simple steps

declutter your car
Photo by Oli Woodman on Unsplash

We talk a lot about home organization and decluttering our living spaces. But have you ignored the mess inside your vehicle and the need to declutter your car?

If you Marie Kondo your home but drive around with donation bags in your trunk for weeks, is that success?

If you Marie Kondo your home but drive around with donation bags in your trunk for weeks, is that success? Click To Tweet

I’m guilty of using my car as a storage facility. Before I learned how to declutter my car properly I had all sorts of things in there I neither needed nor used.

So do yourself a favor and declutter your car at the same time as you organize your home. Here are five steps to help you through.

1. Clear out the garbage

Toss all the wrappers, take-out bags, and anything else that belongs in a garbage can rather than the inside of your car.

Remember to check the trunk, glove compartment, door pockets, and under seats. My kids used to be experts at hiding gum wrappers in the slots inside the rear door armrests.

2. Take house items inside

Now that you’ve tossed the garbage, it’s time to take what belongs in the house inside the house. Remember, the first rule of car decluttering is that your vehicle is not a storage facility.

3. Organize

Now that everything in the car belongs there, it’s time to organize the items in a way that makes sense to you.

There should be few if any items not secured in the glove compartment or trunk. This reserves space for passengers. And ensures those items don’t endanger you when they fly through the air during an accident.

There should be few if any items not secured in the glove compartment or trunk. This reserves space for passengers. And ensures those items don't endanger you when they fly through the air during an accident. Click To Tweet

You may keep jumper cables and a first aid kit in the trunk. You’d keep a pen and notepad in the glove compartment.

4. Clean

Now that your car is organized with only necessary items, it’s time to give it a good clean.

Most gas stations have a coin or card-operated vacuum and it will take you only five minute or so. After that, wipe down the interior surfaces.

5. Maintain

Much like when you clean out your closet, maintenance is key when you declutter your car. Avoid letting clutter accumulate by toting your items inside after every trip.

Rather than drive around with donation bags that take up space in your car and your mind, drop them off right away.

Pick a day of the week to wipe down your car interior and make sure everything is where it belongs.

Never again feel embarrassed and apologetic when someone enters your vehicle. Enjoy the pride and confidence that comes with driving a clean and orderly vehicle.

Your money: 3 important ways to lose the scarcity mentality

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Like many families, mine never taught me how to make money, how to save money, or how to budget money.

When I first moved out on my own, I went into credit card debt to pay for clothes I couldn’t afford. I lacked the self-discipline to spend responsibly.

Paying off that debt came as a hard lesson in spending less than what you earn.

Maybe you can relate to the feeling of never having enough to do the things you want to do. You rarely eat out at restaurants or go on vacation.

Your mantra seems to be “I can’t afford it,” even while you earn a reasonable income.

Psychology of money scarcity

There is a psychology behind this feeling of financial scarcity. When you grow up in a family that struggled financially, you see money as a finite resource, something that can run out.

When you grow up in a family that struggled financially, you see money as a finite resource. Click To Tweet

Women who grow up in wealthy families, however, trust that money will always be there for them, there is lots of it, and many ways to get it.

Maybe you find ways to sabotage yourself when it comes to money. Like the lottery winners who end up broke after a year, you can’t seem to get rid of money fast enough.

Maybe you find it difficult to talk about money or even think about it. For this reason, you have little knowledge of your true financial situation.

Rather than follow a budget, you spend until the money runs out. There is always more month than money at your house.

This was my situation, too, until I made some changes that improved my financial outlook immeasurably.

You don’t need a huge increase in income to gain financial freedom. Or live like a pauper until retirement.

Here are three changes that led to more peace and security around my finances. Even without a big change in income.

1. Trust God with your money

Give without expecting anything in return. And watch the law of sowing and reaping in action.

Instead of holding tightly to the money you have, give more generously. This will lead to a feeling of abundance that translates into an improved financial outlook.

Trust God as your provider rather than your employer. Your job has you on a fixed income but God can pay you in ways you neither predict nor imagine.

Open yourself up to the opportunities He puts in front of you and watch your financial mindset start to change. You’ll find more creative ways to make money and increase your streams of income.

2. Learn how to invest

I attended a free conference that taught women financial independence through real estate investing.

Rather than pay for expensive seminars, I educated myself by reading library books on the topic.

I attended free or low cost meetup groups and learned from others’ mistakes and successes. Then applied this new knowledge to make an investment that ended up paying off.

Becoming a landlord was an amazing learning opportunity and increased my confidence.

The experience changed my mindset to one more comfortable taking risks and thinking outside the box. It helped minimize my fear around my finances.

3. Adopt a minimalist mindset

When you decide to downsize your life, you reduce the cost of living in tangible ways. Less square footage translates into lower rent or mortgage payments.

When you decide to downsize, you reduce the cost of living in tangible ways. Click To Tweet

Driving a fuel efficient car or choosing to use transit if you live in a city also saves money.

When you declutter your home, you can earn money by selling those quality items you no longer need or use. You save money by shopping less because you no longer want to bring things into your home that will clutter it up.

If you do a good declutter of your clothes closet you earn money selling items online or on consignment.

Streamlining your closet transforms your life by taking all the stress out of choosing outfits. It will save you incredible amounts of money as you become more mindful about shopping.

4 benefits of decluttering your home including reduced stress

benefits of decluttering
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

I discovered the benefits of decluttering when I moved from a house to a condo in 2013.

As a divorced mom, the upkeep of a three-story dwelling had taken its toll on me both physically and financially.

I loved the idea of pushing garbage down a chute rather than lugging huge bins to the curb every week.

And no more snow shoveling in winter sounded too good to be true.

Only problem, we would have to downsize our possessions to fit comfortably into the new space.

The more we purged, the easier it became to say goodbye to things that had outlived their usefulness.

The more we purged, the easier it became to say goodbye to things that had outlived their usefulness. Click To Tweet

The truth that downsizing and decluttering only improved our lives came as a big surprise. There was no down side.

4 benefits of decluttering

Many people acknowledge that the clutter in their homes causes undue stress. But they have no time to do anything about it.

I believe if more people knew the life-changing benefits of decluttering they would find the time, and experience balance in all areas of their lives.

Here are just four of the many benefits of decluttering your home.

1. Reduced stress

It’s hard to relax in a cluttered room. Trying to decompress after a hard day in a space strewn with stuff is all but impossible.

You spend your down time reorganizing junk or putting things away, rather than putting your feet up. And that builds frustration, the opposite of what you want when your goal is to unwind.

Every day you experience the tension of time spent looking for items. Kids are late for school because they can’t find their shoes or books.

That pressure trickles down to your loved ones who bear the brunt of your annoyance. Not to mention the effect on your own peace of mind.

Clutter in your surroundings hurts your ability to focus. The extraneous items in your field of vision take you away from the task at hand.

Clutter in your surroundings hurts your ability to focus. Click To Tweet

Whether you have to physically clear the items, or simply take note of them in your mind, clutter divides your attention.

In this way it can negatively impact your productivity as well. Clearing the clutter for good alleviates all these stressors.

2. Improved confidence

Successful decluttering of your space feels like a major achievement, because it is! You’ve done something most people lack the self-discipline to carry out.

You’re facing an issue head on and refusing to settle for less than you deserve. You’ve made tough decisions about what stays or what goes.

As you decide what to keep or donate, you get more clear on your values. You get to know yourself better as you discover your likes and dislikes.

As you decide what to keep or donate, you get more clear on your values. Click To Tweet

When you look around and see a space you feel proud to call your own, your confidence increases. You feel in control of your space and your life.

3. Financial rewards

When you take the time to declutter your home, you reap financial rewards. You can sell quality brand name items on Craigslist or Kijiji.

When you clean out your closet, those designer clothes you no longer wear will fetch you a good price online or at the consignment store.

You’ll find bills inside pockets of clothes you haven’t worn in months or years.

When you clean up your files, you find credit balances on card statements or bank accounts you forgot about.

Hosting a garage sale will net you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Your newly organized life could inspire you to create a budget each month (or download an app). Now you’ll see long-term financial benefits of decluttering.

4. Improved family time

When you live in a cluttered house, you and your family spend too much time clearing up messes and not enough time enjoying one another.

Rather than spending time outdoors together, you waste Saturday afternoons cleaning out the garage. And because of clutter creep, it needs doing over and over.

Your frustration over a messy environment means you yell at your kids to tidy up. Then you feel guilty or angry at them for having to be told the same thing again and again.

When you get serious about decluttering and stop merely managing the mess, peace ensues.

How to declutter your closet (and keep it that way) in 5 simple steps

declutter your closet, minimalism, simplicity, simple living, self care

When you declutter your closet you create a calmer start to your day. By simplifying decisions around what to wear you’ve got one less thing to worry about.

When you declutter your closet you create a calmer start to your day. Click To Tweet

Besides the reduced stress over deciding what to wear, there’s increased joy over loving every item in your closet. Improved confidence because everything fits.

No more longing for a former size to fit into a garment that’s hanging there unused.

Once you declutter your closet, you’ll wonder why you ever settled for an overstuffed, disorganized wardrobe. Here are 5 steps to declutter your closet for good.

When Less Is More | thebellissimofiles

1. Try everything on

The first step is to try on everything you own. Make sure you set aside time for this task which is the foundation for the other steps.

It sounds tiresome, but won’t take as long as you think. As you try on each item, place them in one of three piles. See step 2 below.

2. Make three piles: Keep, Donate, and Alter

If something fits and looks good on you, keep it.

If it needs alteration in order to fit today, send it to the seamstress. Alterations are an investment, so decide if the item is worth it to you.

(In case you’ve never used a seamstress, try your local dry cleaner, or there’s one in most shopping malls.)

If something neither fits, looks good, nor can be altered, place it in the donation pile.

If it hasn’t been worn in a year or more, it probably won’t be, so donate it, too. There are exceptions to this rule (such as a special occasion dress) so use your judgment.

You can make money selling rather than donating good quality items online or on consignment. Another fantastic bonus when you declutter your closet.

This step is simple, but not easy. It challenges you to let go of some things you’ve been holding on to for a long time. And we’re not only talking about clothes.

It requires you to accept yourself as you are today. Not as you were before you had two kids. Or as you imagine you might be in three months. Today.

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3. Organize the clothes that made the cut

After you’ve tried on all your clothes and determined which ones will stay, you may be amazed to see your closet reduced by half or more.

Organize the remaining items in a way that pleases your eye. I like to sort by shade, from light to dark. Choose a system that works for you.

Replace your wire and plastic hangers with good quality ones that match. The uniformity will inspire peace and pleasure when you look at your closet. And the quality is better for your clothes and makes you feel better about them.

Your edited closet should replace chaos with calm, so you’ll feel happy when you look at it rather than stressed. And rewarded for all your hard work.

declutter your closet

4. Practice one in/one out

The key to retaining a low clutter closet is to keep no extra hangers. So when something new comes in, something old must go out.

You’ll become more mindful about your clothes buying practices. No more fast fashion.

You’ll no longer indulge in shopping as a mindless activity or, heaven forbid, as therapy. If you buy something new to wear, you must decide what will go out to make room for the new item.

You'll no longer indulge in shopping as a mindless activity or, heaven forbid, as therapy. Click To Tweet

This helps keep clutter from reappearing and has the added benefit of saving you tons of money.

5. Enjoy extra money and peace of mind

Now that you are the proud owner of an expertly decluttered closet, you’ll feel calmer as you face fewer decisions in the morning about what to wear.

Your self image increases when everything you own fits well and flatters you.

In addition, you’ll see a difference in your bank balance when you stop buying clothes so often. What will you do with all that extra money now that you’ve stopped shopping incessantly?

Start a retirement fund? Do something fun with your family? Save up to buy a house?

It might sound extravagant now. But wait and see how much you save when you stop clothes shopping and enjoy what you already own.

If you’d like a printable pdf of this 5-step process (complete with pretty pictures), simply enter your email below and I’ll send it to you.

How clutter raises stress levels and how to clear it out of your life

clutter

Clutter impacts families in a multitude of unhealthy ways. That’s the topic of an insightful documentary called “A Cluttered Life: Middle Class Abundance” .

In the 20-minute video, a team of anthropologists went into the homes of 32 dual-income American families to record their findings.

They found the families had accumulated so much stuff it put a marked strain on their mental health. Here are 3 ways clutter affected the families featured in the short film.

1. High stress levels

An overabundance of food, toys, and clothing created stress in the mothers, in particular.

The women who noticed and commented on the clutter showed increased cortisol (stress hormone) levels, proving it’s difficult to enjoy peace in a cluttered house.

Women who noticed and commented on clutter showed increased cortisol levels. Click To Tweet

Men didn’t remark on the clutter or seem to notice it as much because they were not the ones responsible for cleaning it up.

Although unspoken, women felt responsible for organizing and cleaning up even though they worked outside the home, too.

Clutter in the house made women feel guilty over all the stuff their families had accumulated. It compromised their sense of self-worth, in addition to the burden of tidying up.

2. Poor health

Families stockpiled food not only in the over-sized fridge in the kitchen but often in another refrigerator in the garage.

Due to both parents working, they shopped less often. As a result, they built up a store of convenience foods that could be prepared quickly but which lacked nutritional value.

Ironically, these convenience foods only saved an average of 12 minutes preparation time per day.

We consume far fewer home-cooked meals than we did a few decades ago. As a result our collective health has suffered.

The size of our refrigerators and our infrequent shopping trips push us to buy and eat pre-packaged and frozen foods that are terrible for our health.

3. Lack of control over clutter

The filmmakers noted that cheaper ways to produce more stuff has compelled us to buy many things we don’t need, especially toys for children.

The U.S. has 3% of the world’s children but consumes 40% of the world’s toys. They found toys spilled into all areas of the house and were never confined to the children’s bedrooms.

The U.S. has 3% of the world's children but consumes 40% of the world's toys. Click To Tweet

They saw toys in living rooms, kitchens, and even master bedrooms. This gave the house a child-centered culture and a sense the parents had given over their space to the children.

Mothers also commented on things coming in from all sides such as objects from school and gifts from extended family.

They remarked on these encroachments on their space with a proverbial shrug of the shoulders. The underlying sentiment being a lack of control over what came into the house.

How to say no to clutter

clutter

The truth is, you have the power to say no to things before these things cross the threshold of your front door.

You may have to engage in a dreaded “difficult conversation”. If you’re like me and hate conflict, that can be hard.

You will meet resistance. It’s hard to get grandparents on board at Christmas time when they want to lavish the children with gifts.

But reducing clutter means confronting what’s not working. You deal with deeper issues when you begin to get control of your living space.

That means setting appropriate boundaries. And putting your need for a clutter-free home ahead of others’ desire to bring more into it.

This is how decluttering a room leads to life-changing transformation.

Reducing clutter requires a mind shift

Most of us have been socialized to equate success with financial abundance. That’s reflected in the things we buy, whether it’s a larger home or a more luxurious car.

We feel we have to keep up with our neighbors. Even when the little voice inside tells us that’s not what we value.

There is another way to live and it requires a mind shift. Living uncluttered means letting go of what people think at the same time as you release possessions.

Living uncluttered means letting go of what people think at the same time as you release possessions. Click To Tweet

It means going against the grain and living counter to the culture. It requires courage at times and sacrifice at others.

You become driven by the desire to live according to what you believe in. To take control of your surroundings and align your life with your values.

That’s the dual purpose of decluttering: to help you revision your environment and discover more about yourself in the process.