Decluttering your home is a simple way to improve your life by only allocating space to the things you need the most. It can give you more free time, reduce anxiety, help you solve problems more effectively, and so much more. Getting started is the most challenging part. Use our five top tips to help ensure your future home decluttering projects are successful:
Commit to working on one space at a time in short time spans. Don’t try to declutter your whole house in one day. You’re more likely to burn out and not finish. Allocate a few hours per day to the process. It’s your choice whether to begin with the most challenging or easiest space. Experts disagree on which is the better plan. We suggest you decide based on your personality. If you become distracted easily and lose motivation quickly, consider beginning with the easiest spaces. This will give you quick wins and build up momentum you can use to work through the harder projects later. If maintaining focus and self-motivation comes easy for you, try starting with the room giving you the most grief. Once it’s done, you will feel an enormous sense of accomplishment, and everything else will be much less challenging.
Continue working on a room until you complete it. Don’t move on to the next project, because you may not return to finish the first. To make committing easier, divide the more complex rooms into sub-projects. For example, you can divide your bedroom into the primary bedroom area, closet(s), and drawers and nightstands. Depending on the work involved, you may need several days to complete the entire room. And that’s okay; the most important piece of advice is that you finish.
Assign everything a home. There should be no homeless items in your house. Take a few days to conduct a walk-through and mentally process exactly what you own. Categorize and contemplate which items have an existing home and which will need one created (or purchased). When everything has a proper place, decluttering becomes much easier. For example, books shouldn’t clutter your bedroom dresser when you have bookshelves in the den.
Get rid of items you don’t use. This is usually one of the hardest parts of decluttering. You become attached to your belongings, and it can be emotionally difficult to part with them. Marie Kondo, organizing consultant with her very own Netflix show, gives some wonderful advice on what to do with gifts you don’t use. Dealing with the emotional aspects requires you to change your perspective. If you have an outfit in your closet that hasn’t been worn in over six months, you should get rid of it. It’s not adding to your life but rather taking up space. As you find other things in your house like this, put them in a box/bag to be thrown away, recycled, or donated.
Declutter your living room regularly. Some parts of the house require less routine maintenance than others. For instance, once you declutter and organize your bathrooms, you probably won’t have to do much to maintain it aside from cleaning. Other areas, like the living room, are used more frequently and can become cluttered within a matter of hours. You leave some paperwork you were reviewing this morning on the living room table. Your child comes home from school and leaves his backpack on the couch. Your spouse has a business meeting and leaves one of the two outfits he was asking you about in the chair. See how quickly this adds up? Implement a 5-minute clean-up session each evening before bedtime. You can quickly put away anything that doesn’t belong.
Keep in mind that decluttering is not a one-time task. Consider reassessing your house at least once a quarter to prevent any clutter catastrophes. And to be proactive, be mindful of what you bring into your home. If you avoid giving space to things you don’t really want or need, you won’t have to go through the process of removing later.