5 Practical Tips to Help You Declutter Your Home
The Need to Declutter
It is easy to accumulate many things over many months and years, from clothing we buy on a whim and never wear, to things other people give us. From time to time, we all need to take stock of the things we want to keep and those we do not.
It can appear daunting to embark on the decluttering journey, but it need not be. Approach the job with enthusiasm and a positive attitude, and you will be surprised how rewarding the experience can be.
Tip 1: Pick Your Time and Place
Much has been written on the topic of decluttering. When you start out, start with something easy, something you will be able to complete. Once you have made a start, the feeling of success will spur you on to keep going.
Remember that old saying that Rome was not built in a day? It is good to remember when you start your decluttering project. If you are a list-making person, you may want to start with making a list of areas to declutter. Put the smallest and easiest areas first—and those requiring more time (and energy) last.
Next to each area on your list, write when you are going to tackle them. You can be general and simply nominate a time, like morning, afternoon, or evening, or you can be more specific, like Tuesday afternoon.
My list usually starts with drawers: kitchen drawers and laundry drawers. They do not take too long to go through and are surprisingly easy to tackle once I put my mind to it.
When you start with smaller areas, you will have success—and success spells a sense of achievement. It will motivate you to keep going and move onto other, larger areas in your home.
Tip 2: Make It Fun
For your bigger areas, like clothes, knick-knacks, and things we put away in wardrobes, chest of drawers, or other places, try a different approach. You can use the method of getting four containers. Label them as follows:
- To keep.
- To sell.
- To give to charity.
- To throw in the trash bin.
Now you will have a place for each item. Not sure which container to put something into? As you look at each item, ask yourself the following questions:
- When was the last time you used it?
- Will you use it in the future?
- Do you really need it, or is it just taking up space?
Sometimes we tend to hold onto things for no apparent reason, and getting rid of those things can feel invigorating.
You can also use numbers to help you minimize your things. Remember it is your decluttering process.
You can play a game called 10-10-10. You will put 10 things in each bin in each area you clean up (you can change this number to whatever you want it to be). Get the rest of the family involved, maybe even the kids. If you are competitive, you will enjoy doing this with family members.
With clothing, there are lots of different ways to declutter. There is the coat hanger method, or the minimize method, or one you invent. Bottom line is, don’t hang onto clothing you might wear one day. Be decisive and brave and clear out what you are not wearing and what you don’t want to wear. Try owning fewer clothes altogether, get rid of synthetics, and stick with natural fibers.
Tip 3: Be Inventive
You don’t have to be all clinical when you declutter. Be inventive. Be creative. You could set yourself the task of giving something away every day, once a week, or once a month, depending on how determined you are.
Visit your local preschool/primary school and see if they are interested in some of those toys your kids had when they were little. Don’t stop there. Women's shelters may need things like clothing and kitchen items (pots and pans and all that Tupperware you bought at all those Tupperware parties you went to).
Attend one of those trash and treasure markets and make some money out of the things you no longer need. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Tip 4: Declutter With Someone
If your spouse won’t be involved, invite a friend over to help you with the job. Sometimes it can be a good thing to have the opinion of an independent third party when working out which pile or bucket an item should go into.
Nothing beats the clearheaded, non-emotionally attached, unbiased truthful opinion offered by a true friend. Remember how Donkey says to Shrek, "Wow only a true friend could be that cruelly honest?" Just think of those words if you feel slightly hurt when your friend tells you that you do not really need the chipped mug even if someone you once dated gave it to you. And you may be able to reciprocate the favor.
Tip 5: Just Do It
Just like you take out the garbage regularly, take the buckets/bags you have filled for the op shop, second-hand store, or some other charity to their destination. Don’t let those bags become more clutter in what should now be a harmonious, clutter-free home.
Take what needs to be thrown out to the bin (or the tip, depending on the size of your rubbish pile), and sit back and relax. Enjoy your achievement.
Don’t forget your computer, tablet, and phone, as well. No doubt those devices are also due for a declutter. I know mine is.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.