No matter how hard you try, there is going to be some clutter laying around your home after a while. Sometimes, you might get carried away in shopping. On other days, you might find it very hard to part with some objects that have sentimental value.
Whatever the case, you will end up with stuff you don’t actually need, taking up space in your home yet not adding value to your life. In some extreme cases, clutter may become a hoarding problem, which is often connected with some other issues such as obesity and depression.
Not only that, clutter causes stress and may aggravate the symptoms of anxiety. Clutter drains your energy as well, as you will need more time to find things and organize your living space.
That is why it is very important to try and prevent the clutter from forming by introducing rules and routines that will be done by every member of your family.
Decluttering is a process that relieves stress and when you part with the things that you don’t actually need, you will feel relieved and energized.
As a matter of fact, you will most probably get the urge to socialize more after the mess has been cleared out or to simply enjoy quiet nights in your fresh-looking home.
Make a Plan
Even though you may just pick a day to start cleaning and dive into it, we advise that you make a plan for your activities before start the decluttering process.
This is due to the fact that this process will usually last longer than you might expect and, at some point, it may seem just to cause more mess instead of doing the opposite. All in all, you might even feel pretty much hopeless in the middle of all the work.
To prevent this from happening, set the goals you wish to achieve and a timeframe you are looking to follow through. Divide your decluttering into separate tasks, which you may organize in the form of a to-do list, for example.
Set aside small sessions of time for every task and use a timer to make sure you are working at the right pace you have planned. Don’t forget to take a break after each task and motivate yourself by checking the things you have already done.
Before you start, it is also very important to assess each room separately and give each space a grade based on its priority and severity of the clutter.
Before you decide to tackle the entire room, it is better to start with small and easy tasks and work your way up towards the more challenging decluttering activities.
Develop a System
As you make progress through the rooms, you will need a sorting system to make sure you assess the items you find in an objective and realistic way. Most commonly, people choose to have three bins that are labeled
“keep,” “toss” and “store.”
That way, you will get to think about each item and make sure you will not end up with a bigger mess from the one you were trying to tackle.
Items from your “keep” pile should find their place once the decluttering is done and kept on empty shelves, containers, and drawers. They should be neatly sorted and labeled to make sure you will use them and remember to put them back in their place once you are done.
You may also decide to track how often you use the things you have decided to keep. This can be done by designing a unique sorting system that will point out the clothes you haven’t worn in a while or single out books, CDs, and DVDs you are clearly no longer interested in.
Similarly, the “store” pile should be organized after the purging is complete. This means that all the things you have decided to store should be sorted, organized, placed in containers and labeled.
This is so that you can find what you are looking for any time without making an additional mess.
Get Rid of Things (Toss pile)
The general rule of thumb is this: if you haven’t used something during a one-year time period, accept that you are not likely to use it ever again and therefore, throw it into your “toss” pile.
In addition to that, you may also apply an 80/20 rule. This rule says that anything that isn’t used for 80% of your time should be eliminated from your home.
If an item is broken, try and fix it first. However, if it has been lying around for months, it is likely you will never have it repaired and you should just toss it right away. Similarly, if you own items that are useless, outdated and unusable, toss them out as well without thinking too hard.
The “toss” pile should be emptied after you finish decluttering each section. However, there are various ways you can get rid of things you don’t need anymore.
First of all, you may recycle all of the items made of glass, paper, and plastic by placing them into your recycling bin or driving to the nearest recycling plant or drop off locations. Not many people know this, but many electronics can actually be recycled as well.
Not only will you get rid of unnecessary things, but you will also have the opportunity to earn some money and save our planet along the way as well.
Other than traditional recycling, you can use some of these items in your crafting projects and make useful things that may be reintroduced in your home or will make a wonderful gift for your friends and family.
However, be careful not to make and keep items that will only sit and collect dust until another process of decluttering has started. You must focus on making items that will add a special flair to your home and help you organize the rest of your stuff better.
As we said earlier when it comes to items that have sentimental value, parting with them may be painful and really hard. However, you may feel better if you donate this thing.
Knowing that something you really no longer need will make someone else happy will help you cope with this parting and feel fulfilled and satisfied.
To make some more money from this pile, you can also organize a garage sale.
The most visitors you are likely to attract on is during a designated sale date your neighborhood or homeowner’s association has agreed on.
Therefore, you have to make sure you begin your decluttering process early enough to have everything prepared for that day.
Don’t Do It by Yourself
As you have realized by now, decluttering is a lot of work and it may take a lot of time to set everything in order. This also depends on the mess that has gathered around your home over the past years.
As every member of your household is somewhat responsible for the clutter, it is only fair that they share this job with you equally. That is why when you make a schedule and plan of activities, be sure to divide them between all of you.
Not only will you do the job more quickly and efficiently, but you will also be relieved of the stress this process inevitably brings.
Working together can be fun, as you can set up tasks to be a part of the family competition, with the winner getting a special gift after everything is nice and tidy.
On top of that, when everyone is involved in cleaning, it is more likely they will take better care of their stuff in the future and will feel more obliged to follow the rules of preventing mess and clutter as well.
Declutter a Room
Sometimes, you are able to ignore clutter as a result of clutter becoming a part of your home. That is why it is of utmost importance to assess each room of your home separately and take a good, hard look at items you own.
Ask yourself when the last time you used each item was and if it is likely you will use it in the near future. Also, be objective and see if you really like the item in the first place.
If the answers to these questions are negative, you may proceed to declutter, following the plan you have set up earlier.
When deciding on where to start and which part of your house needs decluttering, it is very important not to overlook places such as junk drawers, computers, toiletries, cupboards, crafts and toy boxes. This is because these might contain the majority of items you no longer need.
In addition, asses your kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedrooms, basement, and garage separately; identify your priorities and get on to business.
The same way you dust, wipe and vacuum your house from top to bottom, start decluttering from the top levels of your home such as the attic and bedrooms. Then, work your way down, all the way to the garage and basement.
If you have a lot of clutter in one room and you are not sure where to start exactly, there’s no need to despair. Simply grab a small stack of clutter from a random space and start working.
This way, you will avoid anxiety caused by massive piles of mess and have a contained small amount of clutter that you can manage efficiently.
Once you are done with it, your confidence will rise and you will get more and more inspired to sort through things you haven’t really thought about in the past years. As a matter of fact, the process will become much easier.
On the other hand, when it comes to decluttering a room, you may choose an entirely different approach as well. You may want to start from its center and work your way to the perimeter or walls.
This method will help you move around easier and allow you to go in and out of the room as many times as you need without having to slow the pace down.
By working your way from inside-out of the room, you will be able to see progress much faster. Doing this will keep yourself motivated to do more and achieve your decluttering goals.
You may also decide to declutter items in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion, moving from the area nearest the door and then from center to the walls.
Flat surfaces such as countertops and shelves tend to attract a lot of clutter, so they need to be given special attention. Make it a goal to clear out these surfaces and keep only a few items there.
That way, it will be easier for you to maintain the cleanliness of the room, see the way and frequency these objects are used and create a much-needed breathing space in the room as well.
To declutter your home for good, you need to fight the urge to fill the empty spaces after the purging has been completed. Set up a system of simple rules you and your family will follow and reassess the situation every now and then.
Set up a decluttering routine of up to 30 minutes a day for every family member to follow. This routine means each member of the household folds away their own clothes, puts back items in their place and gets rid of common clutter such as newspapers, boxes, bags and others.
Before you purchase certain items, ask yourself if you really need it, where you will keep it, how often you will use it and if you will love it in your home. If you can’t answer these questions, put the item back on the shelf.
If you decide to purchase an item, you should donate something else.
This will keep the balance in check and allow you to stay on top of the decluttering process as well.
If there are some things that you need but the occasion to use them arises only once or twice a year, consider renting or borrowing them, instead of making them a standard part of your inventory.
Clutter in your home can cause a lot more stress than you realize - it can even aggravate your anxiety and depression symptoms. That is why it is very important to get rid of unnecessary items and give yourself space to breathe and do the things you love - without having to worry about the mess.
Make sure every member of your household is on board and set up the rules all of you should follow once the purging is complete. Once done, take a look at the best recliners for a truly well deserved time to relax