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How often should you declutter?

Marie Kondo took the world by storm with her book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up."It's an international sensation, published in over 30 countries. The popularity of the book brought attention to a culturally common thread: clutter.

Everyone has clutter. It's not a problem that gets solved and you never have to deal with it again. No, clutter is more like laundry--it never really ends. This is because humans buy things. Even if you decluttered last year, guaranteed you've gone shopping since then. Clutter builds. Clutter grows. And if you have children, clutter multiplies.

So, how often should you declutter?

The answer to that question depends on a few factors. Do you live alone or with others? Do you shop frequently? Does clutter bother you?

Some people quite enjoy having physical items. Other people feel incredibly stressed by having too much stuff in a room. Therefore, the first step in determining how frequently to declutter is to establish a baseline preference for how you like your home. Once your personal threshold has been crossed, you will need to declutter.

From there, frequency is a matter of how much you shop. If you have a retail therapy habit, you will need to declutter more frequently. One approach is to give away one old item for every new item you buy. This approach makes sense if you are right at your clutter threshold. If you are below the threshold, you might not need to get rid of an item for each new item.

Decluttering frequency gets more complicated when you share a home with others. For example, children tend to be natural hoarders. They like accumulating things, and they generally don't like getting rid of things.

If you live with others, don't declutter their belongings without their consent. This may mean it's simpler to declutter less frequently, say once a season, than decluttering every time you shop. You will need to take the time to communicate.

But regardless of how many people you live with, decluttering should happen more than once per year. Letting things pile up for that long will create an overwhelming situation far beyond your preferred threshold. Spring cleaning may be a common phrase, but it shouldn't be thought of as the only time you deep clean and delcutter. A better frequency that fits most people is decluttering every one to four months.



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I'm Kat, the author of the healthy, happy blog. Using my background in science, personal training, and writing, I post about how to be successful in four main areas of your life: finances, body, mind, and home.

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