In fact, a study was done that found that the area of your brain that lights up when you get a papercut is the same area that lights up when you get rid of something. This basically means that your brain links the loss of an item with physical pain. Crazy! (source)
Obviously, it makes sense to try to make decluttering as easy and painless as possible.
A super simple (yet very effective) method of decluttering is “reducing multiples”.
The logic is, if you only have one of something, that item will be hard to part with. If you have 20 of something, it’s a little easier to cut back.
Example: Let’s say I only have one pair of silver earring. Even though I don’t often wear them, I still don’t want to get rid of them because they’re my only ones. However, I have five pairs of gold earrings. It would be easier to declutter a pair of gold earrings because I have multiples. (Don’t worry gold earrings, you’re safe. I love and wear you all.)
How to Make Decluttering Painless: Reducing Multiples
We have so many multiples in our homes! If you’re looking for a place to start paring down multiples, here are some possibilities:
- Coffee Mugs: The #1 offender! How often do you have 30 people over for coffee all at once?
- Bedding: Two sets of sheets and blankets per bed is probably plenty.
- Beauty Products
- Office Supplies: Never in my life will I go through 100 pens!
- Photos: I try to get rid of printed duplicates and delete digital pics that aren’t winners.
- Craft Supplies
- A Certain Kind of Toy: Maybe your kids have multiple Barbies, stuffed animals, block sets… (The Toy Detox is an awesome ecourse to help you with toy clutter 🙂 )
- Decks of Cards
- Seasonal Decorations: If I can’t put out all of my summer decor at the same time, I figure it’s too much.
I don’t think I’ll ever completely get rid of any of these things (especially the undergarments, amiright? 🙂 ) but it’s not hard to reduce some multiples in each category.
I find I enjoy our home and our stuff much more when I’m left with my favorites.
Let’s face it, even if there are 30 coffee mugs in the cupboard, I still look for my favorite one every morning. All those others are just getting in the way.
If you’re wanting to declutter but are really struggling with it (or have a resistant family member), reducing multiples can be a painless way to start. You’ll still have those things, just not as many.