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declutter your home

A Thorough Guide to Decluttering Your Home

We all have something extra that we don’t need lying around the house. But, there comes a point when the extra things we don’t need become a problem. The things that we may not need pile up, and soon enough our living space becomes a mess.

Living in a mess is not considered healthy. It can lead to stress, which can lead to all sorts of different problems. Moreover, your mess can grow and become a perfect breeding ground for cockroaches and other insects. Clutter can also become a fire hazard, so bear that in mind while you ponder whether you should sell your old magazine collection.

Fortunately, you are here because you want to avoid the worst outcome. We will teach you the best ways to declutter your home, why you should do it, and what to avoid.

Why You Should Declutter

Before we can explain why you need to declutter your home, we need to explain what clutter is. Clutter is everything you keep in your house that has no intrinsic value. Clutter is everything that doesn’t matter.

Take a look at your bookshelf now. Notice all of the books that you have read 10 years ago and haven’t picked up since. Do those books have any value? Unless they are a sentimental gift from your husband or wife, you can agree that they hold no value.

Better yet, take a look at your clothes. Do you see that dress that you’ve worn on one date five years ago? Why do you still keep it? Wouldn’t it be better if you could do away with everything you haven’t worn for ages? We will help you find the answers to those questions, and many others you might have.

Basically, clutter is junk that slowly eats up your living space. It is everything that you should get rid of to make space for things that matter.

So, why should you declutter your home? The first feeling you are going to experience is one of accomplishment. Nothing feels better than finishing a task you’ve been putting off for a long time. You will also feel like a ton of pressure has disappeared out of your life. Finally, you will make space for the things that matter. You will make your home more open to new things that are going to make you happy.

Decluttering makes you take back control over your living space. It allows you to welcome new things into your life. It gives you a chance to start life anew. If you’ve been feeling down for a while, clutter might be the main cause. So, do yourself a favor and start working on decluttering now!

Make a Schedule & Set Decluttering Goals

Just like with any time-consuming task, it is important to make a plan. Your plan should focus on what you are trying to accomplish. It doesn’t matter how much clutter there is in your home. Every big task starts with the first step. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!

You know the best how much free time you have during the day. Reserve an hour or two every day for decluttering. Don’t let anything distract you. Turn off your electronics and focus only on the goal in front of you.

If you live a busy life, it would be best if you could do decluttering during the weekend. It is not a problem if you can’t start doing it now, but be sure to start doing it!

Once you start, it might seem like it will take you forever to make any progress, but take baby steps, don’t lose focus. Always keep that one important thought in your mind; you are doing this to make your life better.

You need to set realistic goals that you can attain. You don’t want to set unrealistic goals which, upon failing to attain them, will make you feel worse. You can make your goals into a game. Reward points to yourself for every goal you complete. After you gain a certain amount of points, treat yourself, indulge in a hobby, or simply rest.

So, if you have a big kitchen filled with clutter, but you don’t have enough time to finish decluttering in one day, start small. Open up a drawer, and declutter it. Do you only have time for one drawer? No problem! Finish working on it, and do the second drawer tomorrow. After a few days, you will finish decluttering your kitchen. Then you will understand the power of small steps, which will push you to work on the rest of your rooms.

Create a Sorting System

There are plenty of sorting systems out there; you might even have a system of your own. But, if you don’t know of a sorting system, you could try out the “Three Box Method”. It is a simple organizational system that will force you to make a decision item by item.

Basically, you should grab three boxes or storage bins and put three labels on them: keep, store, get rid off.

  • Keep: This box should hold the items that you plan to keep. It should hold the items that are useful and make you happy. After decluttering, you should store the items from this box neatly. This box will probably hold video games that you are playing, books that you read, vinyl that you listen to, clothes that you wear, etc.
  • Store: This box will hold the items that you don’t use often but want to keep. Label the boxes with the items you want to store. Make sure that you protect the items you want to store. You will probably keep items that hold sentimental value in this box. Grandma’s old earrings, your first boyfriend’s love letter, a favorite childhood toy, etc.
  • Get rid off: This box is reserved for the items you don’t use. It is a box that should be filled with items you want to throw out or give away. Don’t make the mistake of storing this box for too long. Remember that the things in this box aren’t a part of your life anymore, so don’t keep them for too long.

You don’t have to be strict. If there are some items that you are not sure about, put them in a fourth “maybe” box. Store that box, and come back to it after some time has passed. If you remember the box after a few months of not realizing it exists, the things in it probably don’t hold any value.

What do I do With Clutter?

After you have sorted everything in its designated box or a container, you need to do something with the things you don’t need.

  • Donate: The best thing you can do with old toys, books, clothes, and other useful items is to donate them. Something that has made you happy in the past can make someone else happy. Think altruistically, donate to a charity. But, remember, only donate things that are in good condition. Don’t use a charity as your trash disposal facility.
  • Sell: If you need money, sending the items you want to get rid off is a good idea. It might take you a while to sell certain items, and you will probably have to lower the selling price. Remember, things that hold sentimental value to you don’t hold the same value to others. So, don’t get offended if someone doesn’t think that the Harry Potter book your father gifted you is worth a lot. You can have a lot of fun with a garage sale. You will have a chance to talk to interesting people, declutter your home, and earn a bit of cash.
  • Recycle: Everything you can recycle you should recycle. Don’t be a person that pollutes mother Earth. Recycle old magazines and glass. Recycle plastics containers you have no use of. Your old broken computer should be recycled, not thrown into the garbage. The same goes for all of the electronics you want to throw out. If you don’t care about altruism, you should recycle because you can get paid when you do it.

How to Declutter

Now that you know how to prepare for decluttering, how to sort items, and what to do with the clutter, you can learn how to declutter.

Make a List of the Rooms in Your House

The reason why you should make a list of the rooms in your house is that not all of them have the same amount of clutter. Some of the rooms will take you longer to declutter than the other rooms.

Walk through every room and take notice of the clutter. Think about how long it will take you to clean each of the rooms. You should start with a room that will take you the least time. Once you have cleared one room of clutter, you will realize how easy it can be. You will receive a boost of confidence and a sense of accomplishment.

It is very easy to get sidetracked into doing something unrelated to decluttering. So, if you notice an old coloring book you loved as a child, don’t sit down to reminisce about it. Keep your focus, and do your best to not waste any time.

Take Everything Out

If you are serious about decluttering your home, you will do it the right way. The right way entails taking everything out of the space you are trying to declutter. Once you have taken everything out, take some time to do a thorough cleaning. Clean the bookshelves, dust the video game collection, vacuum the dirt and get rid of cobwebs.

Take a look at everything you have taken out, and sort it in the three boxes we have mentioned. Put back the things you want to keep, but remember to come back to them after some time. You might realize that you could do more decluttering.

Remember to break your space into smaller sections. If you are decluttering your living room, start with one shelf, and focus only on it. After you have taken care of the shelf, you can move on to other parts.

Be Honest With Yourself

When you declutter, most of the time you do it alone. There is nobody who can make you feel ashamed, so be honest with yourself.

You don’t really need that old broken vase. You don’t need that torn t-shirt you got as a gift from your ex. You don’t need that collection of old plushies.

Always ask yourself whether something adds value to your life. Relax and be honest with yourself. Try not to let emotions get in the way of rational thinking. Focus on what lies ahead, leave the past behind. The past is the reason why you have to declutter now. Think about the future when you will have a peaceful living environment. A future in which you don’t waste time searching for something you need. Think about how you will be surrounded only by the items that you need and love.

It is hard to let go, but it is an important part of the whole process. Give yourself a chance, believe in yourself, and know that you can do it!

Optimize Your New Space – Make Items Easy to Access

Once you have taken everything out and sorted it into the three boxes, you need to think about the items you want to keep.

The first thing you need to know is how often you use the item. If it is something that you use every day, keep it in front of other items. Make sure that it is clearly visible. Items that you use less frequently can go in the back of a shelf or a cupboard.

Take a look at the space you are trying to organize. Is it a small room without plenty of space? If it is, try to think vertically. Get additional shelves and stack them vertically. Be as creative as you can be, think outside the box. We are sure that you will come up with a solution that is not only functional but also looks great.

You should also remember to keep things simple. Don’t stack storage boxes on top of each other because it will take you a long time to find something you need. Always think about how much time it will take you to find something. If it will take you a long time to grab something basic, you should further optimize your new space.

Organization Products and Labels

Organization bins and baskets are useful. They keep everything tidy and clean, but people tend to buy those products before they declutter their home.

Wait until you are finished with the decluttering process, and then think about purchasing organization products. The purpose of those products is to take your item organization to a new level. Their purpose is not to be stacked on top of each other.

Labels are the best way to keep everything organized, especially the stored items. It feels awful to have to pull out random storage bins only to check whether something you need is inside. To avoid problems, label everything. Let your creative juices flow, and think of neat ways to decorate the labels. If you have children, they can help you. Make the organization process a game, and your kids will be glad to lend a helping hand.

Take a Second Look at the Decluttered Space

If you want to make sure that you have done a thorough job, you will need to take a second look at your living space once everything has been finished.

Does it still look cluttered? Are items hard to reach? Do you still feel as if there is more work to do? If you have answered yes to all or a few of the above questions, then you need to do some tweaking.

Take a look at the items that are in front of other items. Try to evaluate their location. Think about the items you have problems reaching. Try to find a way to make them easy to reach.

You mustn’t give up. Congratulate yourself on a job well done, but be aware that there is a little bit of work left to do. Don’t let yourself get demoralized. Sometimes we all feel as if nothing is going the way we want it to. So, whenever your morale gets low, think of how much you have accomplished, and understand that you will accomplish more.

Extra Decluttering Tips

Getting rid of expensive items is hard. It is even harder to get rid of the items that hold sentimental value. You should know that the feelings some items cause are valid. You shouldn’t feel any shame. But, you are here to optimize your living space. You are here because you can conquer yourself and come out a better person.

We know that parting with certain items can be painful. We understand the struggle you feel inside. It is hard to part with sentimental items, but parting with an item doesn’t mean that you part with the memory.

  • Get over the cost: You shouldn’t think about the cost of an item you are trying to get rid off. You have already paid for it, the money is gone. You might get some of it back if you sell the item, and, on rare occasions, you might even make some extra money. Ignore the previous cost of the item and think whether the item adds value to your life.
  • Check if it works: If you find an old Game Boy and realize it doesn’t work, throw it out. If you want to fix it, do it, but don’t keep an item that doesn’t work. Once you start throwing out the things that don’t work, you will see how much space they’ve been taking up.
  • When did you use it last time: If you find an item and realize that you forgot you even have it, you don’t need it. Most people like to keep old books, yet they never read them. Give your old books to someone who needs them. The same goes for every other item. If you haven’t used it in a long time, get rid of it!
  • 80/20 rule: People wear around 20% of the clothes they own 80% of the time. The same rule can be applied to many other things. Look at your DVD collection and you will realize that you haven’t watched most of them in ages. Your goal is to remove the items you don’t use 80% of the time.
  • Categorize items: Similar items should be kept together. That way you will have easy access to them, and you will figure out which ones aren’t used often. Keep cosmetic products for legs separate from the products for the face. Think about the way you use the items and what you use them for, and think of the categories to put them into. Once you have categorized the items, keep similar items together.
  • Do you love it: Plenty of shopping is done out of an impulse, which makes us gather things we don’t love. No reason to be ashamed of that fact. Ask yourself whether you love something. If you don’t, and you don’t have any use of it, then get rid of it.

It can be hard to get rid of certain things. So, if you are unsure, sleep on it. Think about it at a later time with a clear head. You might realize that you actually need something, or you might figure out that you really don’t need it.

What NOT to do

Now that you know everything you need to do, you should be aware of the things you shouldn’t do.

Don’t exert yourself too much. Don’t try to do something you know isn’t doable. We have mentioned the power of small steps, so keep that in mind. Trying to do a lot and then failing will only frustrate you. It will make you lose focus, and you might give up on decluttering.

Don’t put things off. If you can do it in a day, be sure to finish what you started. You have done a lot of work, so don’t let it all go to waste. Take the “get rid off” box outside. Recycle the recyclable items. Don’t wait for work to pile up.

Don’t set unrealistic goals. You have probably seen photos of closets online that look like they are out of this world. Don’t try to imitate what you see online. Good enough is enough. If perfection is your goal, then you will end up disappointed. Work on setting up a space that works well for you. Ignore those who brag online. You don’t have a team of paid stylists to do your work for you. So, avoid setting goals that you can’t achieve.

Don’t think that you will declutter your home only once. Decluttering is a process that should be repeated often. If you want to keep living in a harmonious environment, you will have to keep working at it. Explore your home every few weeks and figure out whether you feel comfortable. Think about how your living space makes you feel, and you will know whether to repeat the decluttering process.

Final Words

Congratulations! You have completed the first step towards decluttering your home. You have managed to stick until the end of this article, and you are armed with knowledge.

You have proven yourself that you can complete a goal, so feel free to reward yourself. Don’t relax yet, the real work starts soon. So, don’t let all the reading go to waste, make a plan and start working on making your home an enjoyable place to live in. We know that you can do it.