Have you let your accumulated “stuff” get the better of you? Is all of this clutter starting to affect your quality of life and your productivity?
If you’re like many people, the thought of de-cluttering your home is overwhelming and constantly delayed only to add even more clutter. The thing is that if you do not get a handle on the clutter, you are asking to be the focus on an episode of “Hoarders: Buried Alive.”
In reality, you will have a life altering experience from de-cluttering once you are done. A sudden feeling of calm will take over and you will enjoy living in a home without so much stuff. But, to get there, you have to decide that it is time to do something and develop a plan to pare down the clutter in your home. Following is a plan to de-clutter that offers ways to make it easier and not quite as overwhelming.
Decide Where to Start
Rather than look at the entire home and decide that it can wait a few more days, decide where to start. Simply take a room, be it one that is fairly easy to complete or one that you avoid because it is so compacted with junk, and set your sights there as your starting point.
Set Time Limits
Rather than mentally telling yourself that you are going to spend the day de-cluttering, set time limits for yourself. You know how long you can focus on something so pick a part of a room and spend that set time limit there. Start with something fairly easy and quick to accomplish so as not to get frustrated. As you begin to make progress, you will suddenly realize that your time limits increase as does your focus.
Create Three Piles
This sounds strange but the piles represent three alternatives for everything. Label the piles “keep,” “donate,” and “trash.” As you make your way through a room, stop and think about in which pile everything goes. The rule of thumb is that if you have to stop and think about something, you get rid of it. When deciding between donating and tossing something, decide if it is really worth donating. If not, throw it away.
Take on Clothing
Clothing is a big clutter starter, especially for women. When de-cluttering drawers and closets, keep in mind that some things are simply out of style or do not fit anymore. There is no reason to hold on to these items. If you haven’t worn something in a year (the last time the season occurred), then donate it if it is clean and usable or throw it away. One trick for clothing in your closet is to turn all of your hangers in one direction. As you wear something, turn the hanger in the other direction. This shows you whether you wear something and gives you a clue as to what to give away.
Divide the Kitchen into Sections
Kitchens are probably the most overwhelming room when it comes to de-cluttering. To make it easier, divide your kitchen into sections (the junk drawer is a section all by itself). Complete one section before moving onto the next one. Before you know it, the kitchen is organized and easy to navigate.
Apply One In – Two Out
Most professional organizers say to apply the “one in – two out” rule to keep the clutter from piling up. Anytime you bring something new into your home, you must get rid of two things. You know full well that there are always a couple of things to throw away or donate. In addition to keeping the clutter under control, the goal here is to keep you from buying unnecessary stuff.
Ask for a Friend’s Help
One thing that keeps people from de-cluttering is the emotional attachment to items. By asking a friend for help, not only do you have a fun afternoon together catching up on all the latest gossip, you have an objective pair of eyes with you to keep you from holding on to unnecessary things and your day of de-cluttering is much more productive. Who knows, maybe some of the stuff with which you decide to part ends up going home with your friend!
There are so many ways and ideas to de-clutter. The best thing is to start small and move from there. One thing we can guarantee is that once you are done, a wonderful sense of calm will overtake you and you will have peace so that you can enjoy your home instead of feeling stressed out just being there. So get to it and start de-cluttering!!
Shannon Ryan is a writer and home décor enthusiast. She is the online community manager for the Nusite Group, a Toronto specialty trades group.