Does your home look like a storage locker or a pack rat’s dream? If so, it’s time to purge, declutter and refresh. It may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some quick, effective ways to declutter your home without feeling overwhelmed:
1. Set time aside.
If you don’t plan for decluttering, you’ll probably keep putting it off. So, make yourself do it, whether you spend the entire weekend, one evening a week or just a few minutes or a few hours a day. If you’re not sure how or where to start, a home organizer can help you create a game plan.
2. Make a list.
A list will help you get organized, whether it’s your entire living space that needs work or just one particular area. Creating a list of what needs decluttering will also help keep you motivated from start to finish.
3. Start in one spot.
Never attempt to declutter all areas at once. Start in one room – or a specific area of one room – and work your way out from there, understanding that it may take a few hours to get it done. Some areas commonly in need of a good declutter include:
- Counters: Get rid of any old appliances, decorative pieces and utensils you don’t need or use.
- Shelving: Remove old books, trinkets and toys — anything that’s just sitting there gathering dust.
- Closets: Gather the clothes, shoes and accessories you never wear. Donate the items that are in good shape and toss or make rags out of the rest. Invest in closet organizers for what’s left in your closet to ensure everything stays in its proper place.
- Cabinets: Go through your kitchen or bathroom cabinets and remove everything that’s been “stuck in the back” or is otherwise cluttering the space. Old dishes, dishtowels and other items can go to secondhand stores or the trash.
- Drawers: If you have a junk drawer, dump it out on your bed. Then go through it and remove everything but the essentials. When you go to put the drawer back, organize what’s left for easier access and retrieval.
4. Take it one trash bag at a time.
You don’t have to keep a box of trash bags on hand when you start decluttering. Just start with one and see how long it takes you to fill the bag. You might be surprised at how much trash and clothing you’ll come up with. If you can’t fit all of the secondhand store bags in your car, call one of the many donation groups that will pick the bags up from your home.
5. Give away slowly.
If you feel that decluttering your space and giving things away will emotionally drain you, space out the process. Once you’ve rid the house of the absolute non-essentials – trash, junk, waste, broken toys and shoes, etc. – then it’s down to those items you hold onto for personal, emotional reasons. Work your way up to it one piece at a time. You might be surprised at how good it feels to give!
6. Designate a routine moving forward.
Put a process in place to keep future clutter at bay, and include everyone in the house in that process. Kids should know where their clothes and toys go, and everyone may need to have a dedicated place for shoes and other items near the entryway. Developing a habit for where items go will help you keep your home better organized.