How to Declutter Your Home in 7 Days
Too Much Clutter
Organizing Your House
So you want to have a clean sparkling house, but can't get through all the junk in the way. You can't find that special shirt because your closet is overstuffed. You can't even see the counter-tops that need to be cleaned. Toys, books, and magazines are pouring out the windows.
Before you can even think about a deep house cleaning or a weekly cleaning schedule, you will need to declutter your house. It is possible to tackle this feat in one long spring cleaning weekend, or to spread it out little by little. If you do not have the time or energy to commit an entire weekend to this project, follow my 7 day plan to declutter your home. You will be glad you did!
Organize My Closet!
Day 1: Organize Your Closets
The general rule for clothes is that if you have not worn it in the last year, pitch it. There are exceptions, though, like the suit you wear to weddings or that special pair of shoes. I will add another rule - if it doesn't fit, throw it out. And if you have never worn it because it doesn't really look good - goodbye. Go through every article of clothing in your closet and drawers and sort them into groups. These are the categories:
- Keep the clothes that fit, looks good, and you will wear within the next year.
- Consign quality clothes that you no longer need.
- Donate all other clothes that are in good shape.
- Throw out the rest or use the material in another way.
Each family member will need to go through this process, so younger children may need help.
Decluttering Your Kitchen Counters
Day 2: Organize Your Kitchen
Some kitchen clutter is hiding in the cabinets, but you can also see it right in front of you on the counter-tops. Tackle the cabinets first. Here are some tips:
- pots and pans - Separate pots from pans. Stack pots and store tops separately.
- Tupperware - Match all tops to bottoms and throw out any extras. Get rid of any stained containers. Kids love this sorting job.
- utensils - Keep everyday utensils in a plastic or wooden divider. Store sharp knives separately. Go through the rest of your kitchen tools to see if anything needs to be tossed.
Now that you have made some room, you can store small appliances in cabinets instead of on the counter-tops. The only things that should be on your counters are items you use every day, like the coffee maker. If you do not use the toaster, toaster oven, or blender every day, then they should be stored out of sight. Try to keep all food in the pantry or in cabinets. I even keep the flour, rice and sugar canisters in my pantry. The less that is on your counters, the easier it is to keep clean.
Organizing Your Beauty Supplies
Shower Head Caddy
Day 3: Organize Your Bathrooms
Just like the kitchen, your bathroom probably has clutter in the cabinets and on the sink counter. Pull up a stool and start with the cabinets, drawers and closet. Here are some tips on cleaning out these areas:
- Go through all of your medicine and check expiration dates. Sunscreen and other items may have expiration dates as well. Throw out all expired products.
- Go through all your makeup, hair care products, and personal care items. Throw out all items that have gone bad or you won't use.
- Keep similar items together, for example extra shampoo, conditioner and hair spray.
- If you do have a linen closet, go through those and pull out anything too dingy to use.
- Store extra toilet paper and tissue out of the way, for example, on the top shelf of the linen closet.
Once you have weeded out the bathroom cabinets, look at what is on your sink counter. The only things on your counters should be items you use every day such as toothpaste and deodorant. Consider keeping makeup and hair products in a drawer or in small bins that you can store under the sink. If you take a lot of medication, store the bottles in a box under the sink or in the closet, or invest in a weekly pill dispenser.
Day 4: Organize Your Books, Magazines and Toys
This is the day you go through all of your miscellaneous STUFF. Do you have piles of magazines and boxes of old books that no one reads? Is the toy box overflowing with toys your kids outgrew three years ago? One of the best Berenstain Bear Books I read my children was the one about the bear family sorting through all their excess and giving to the needy. Here are some tips on organizing these items:
- Toys - Sit down with your children and go through all the toys. Create three piles - to keep, to donate, and to throw out. (read the Berenstein Bear book aloud before you get started.)
- Magazines - If you have a huge pile, the first thing is to take note that you do not need to renew all the subscriptions. Next, make a small stack of ones you will actually read soon and another stack for ones that need to be recycled. Check with a retirement home to see if the residents would like the extra magazines.
- Books - You should not have any boxes of books laying around. Go through the books and shelve the ones you want to keep. Consider donating the rest to a school or library.
- Miscellaneous items - Take a good look at all your knickknacks, collections, and other "dust-collectors" to see what you should keep, what you should store, and what needs to be tossed.
Day 5: Organize Your Bedrooms
After Day 4, your bedrooms should not have much clutter to deal with. Take a little break on this day of light decluttering. Here are some tips:
- Ideally, there should not be anything under your bed to gather dust bunnies.
- Pay special attention to the tops of your dressers and bed-side tables. Keep out only items that you need daily access to and special items, such as framed pictures and vases.
- Stow a large laundry basket in a hidden corner to keep dirty clothes tucked away until laundry day.
Decluttering Your Attic
Day 6: Organize Your Attic and Basement
It is time to tackle the junk havens - the storage areas of many things you probably don't use or need. Tips:
- Broken furniture - Schedule a time for it to be fixed or get rid of it.
- Clothing - If you store seasonal clothing, go through it all to weed out what does not fit or look good. Hang up coats and other clothes on a portable hanging rack to save space.
- Holiday decorations - Store in large plastic bins and stack them together.
- Luggage - Keep only the suitcases and bags that you honestly will use. Donate the rest.
- Sports gear - Make sure tents, sleeping bags and other equipment are packed tightly and consolidated in one area.
Organizing Your Yard Tools
Day 7: Organize Your Garage
You house is almost completely decluttered, and the only area left is the garage. For some, this may be an all day job. Here are some tips for getting your garage organized:
- Peg boards are good for hanging tools on the wall.
- Use large hooks to suspend bicycles or other large items.
- Hang garden or yard tools (shovel, rake, hoe) on the wall.
- Shelves are a great way to organize the garage. Consider installing shelves along the walls or purchase plastic shelves from a super center or home improvement store. You also may find some sturdy wooden shelves at second hand stores.
No More Clutter
Once you have cleared all the clutter from your home, you will find it much easier to find things you need. You also will want to give your house a good cleaning and then keep it sparkling with regular cleanings. Don't backtrack. Life is much easier without all the clutter!