Clutterfree Inspiration: Two Beautiful Transformations

Post written by Leo Babauta.

Today I’m going to share the stories (and photos) of two people who tackled their clutter and lived to tell the tale.

Not only did they survive, they can serve as inspiration for anyone else who feels hopeless and helpless in the face of mountains of clutter. It’s possible, and we have the proof.

What follows are stories from Sarah and Rick, two amazing students in the Clutterfree Course. Read about two more transformations on Be More With Less by Courtney Carver, my partner in the Clutterfree Course.


Sarah’s Clutterfree Transformation


In Sarah’s words:
De-cluttering has taught me a lot about myself:

Decluttering is tightly linked to reduced shopping and saving money: I actually started with decluttering because I thought that this is the most fun way of saving money and I was very right. The more I declutter, the more I diminish my desire to buy stuff and realise that it is very satisfying and freeing to own less.

Decluttering makes you more creative — I chose so many gifts for friends from my de-cluttered items that made people very happy. I like this. So rather than going shopping I look into my shelves I have reserved for de-cluttered items that are nice presents to give away. Similarly, if I feel that I need something I first look around my flat if I can repurpose something I already have to serve the need I have. I was quite surprised with what I came up with.

De-cluttering makes cleaning so much easier and fun and I feel so much more in control now and do not have this underlying feeling of the weighing down of stuff and I spent less and less time with household chores! I did not believe before that visual clutter is such a stressor.

I declutter every day for 8 minutes as an established habit according to Leo’s simple method for habit creation – but I sometimes mix it up and do a number goal decluttering. For example if I focus on the bathroom — each time I go to the bathroom I will choose three items that will leave the bathroom with me.

It’s good to have an idea of what to do with the won space — so my motivation to get rid of the chest of drawer was to be able to put a nice reading chair there instead. Or for the shed — I want to put the bikes there. That helps so much to get rid of a lot of things and knowing why I am doing it.

Colour code your wardrobe — I heard this tip from Peter Walsh and arranged my wardrobe that way. Also have same type of hangers now and it looks so neat indeed.

Remaining issues:

Clutterfat challenge – what worked best?

Clutterfat challenge – how does it feel?
If someone would have told me a couple of months ago that I would enjoy decluttering and that it is a life changing habit, I would not have believed it. But it is true for me. Decluttering is fun and feels very liberating. It brings order into my physical world but I also learn so much about myself and feel more in control – definetly a habit to keep for life. So I will continue to free myself of my clutterfat!


Rick Before
Rick After

In Rick’s words:

Thoughts on the Process

What Worked Best

The course materials Courtney & Leo provided each week were great! I particularly enjoyed the audio interviews, video lessons, and the weekly webinars & live chats.

The ideas that worked best for me:

How it Feels

How does it feel? It feels great!

Being in these rooms is so much nicer now. They feel much more calm, much more inviting. They are now places I actually want to spend my time.

I find that I am much more content to spend time at home. One night we were sitting in the living room and Amy turned to me and said, “Just look at this place! It looks like grown-ups live here.” We shared a good laugh at that!

Not that we are “done” – or that we will ever be “done.”

We still have lots to do as we work to finish this first big de-clutter.

It is also a challenge to keep the rooms we have cleared from backsliding. It is easy to let things accumulate. Especially as we move everything out of a new area to de-clutter that.

But we are making progress. We’ve started saying things like, “I know this thing doesn’t live here. But I just need to leave it here until ___.”

We’re not perfect. (Whatever that means.) But we are making more conscious decisions about our stuff and about how we live.

From Leo: Thanks for the inspiration, Sarah and Rick! Courtney and I wrote the Clutterfree book to help you understand the emotion behind holding onto clutter and to give you the motivation and momentum to let it go and live without it forever. Read the book and share your challenges and success in the Clutterfree Forum.