Our Comprehensive Guide to Decluttering
Welcome to spring! In our effort to help everyone get their homes in tip top shape for the new season, we’d like to give you a few tips for decluttering and achieving that clean, organized, calming home you’ve always wanted!
The most important thing to remember about organizing, decluttering or any other type of ritual chore? Take. It. Slow. There’s nothing worse than starting a process like this, getting overwhelmed because of the incredibly high expectations you’ve put on yourself, and quitting part-way through. Let’s avoid that – you’ll feel much better if you take it step by step and by a few month’s time your house looks and feels completely different.
These are a collection of our favorite tips and strategies for decluttering. Use what you will, leave what you won’t. It’s all about what works for you.
Sound good? Let’s begin.
- Move room by room. Different rooms have different needs, and so it’s best to take them on one at a time and tailor your strategy for each one. We’ll give advice for different rooms later on, but just remember – if you look at your entire house and try to tackle it all in one day, you’re going to lose that battle.
- Three Essential Questions Ask yourself these three questions every time you pick an object up. That’s right, every time!
- Have I used this in the past 12 months?
- Will I use it again?
- Is it worth a space in my home, and potentially sacrificing my peace of mind?
- Triple D Rule. For each of these objects – follow the triple D rule: ditch, divide, designate. If you haven’t used an item in over 12 months, don’t need it and don’t know why you’ve kept it – ditch it. Just do it. Trust us, it’ll feel good. Once you’ve thrown away everything, divide things into categories – immediate use or storage for sentimental reasons. We understand, just because you don’t use something each day doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. Lastly, designate everything a spot. Every item you own should have one spot where it belongs – simple as that. We’ll dive into this a little deeper.
- Someone Else’s Stuff. Whether it’s your deceased relative’s plate set that doesn’t bring you joy or your ex boyfriend’s sweatshirt – it’s time to return that stuff or throw it out. You have enough stuff already – it’s not your responsibility to take care of anyone else’s belongings.
- It’s the little things. Adding tiny tune ups to your space can really help make and keep things organized all year round. For example, a plastic cart in the laundry room that fits exactly what you need can help wrangle in all of the mostly-empty bottles of detergent you’ve got lying around. Consolidate them into one plastic cart that can be stored between the two machines and easily cleaned up in the case of a spill.
- Grab some trash bags. In just 10 minutes a day, your home can start to look very different. Grab two trash bags – the first one is for actual trash. The second one is for things you can donate to charity or give away – old books, knick knacks, school or office supplies, etc. Going through your home and gathering things for 10 minutes a day every day over a few weeks or even months will make a huge difference in your surroundings. Try it out!
- Manage your paper. One of the biggest sources of our clutter is paper. It makes sense – we’re surrounded by it daily! Now’s the time to manage it. When you start going through the mail – finish going through the mail! Bills are the first to get opened, then time-sensitive invitations, throw away any ads or pamphlets you don’t need or want, and a new catalog or newspaper replaces the old one. Simple as that.
- It’s time to leave that unnecessary memory clutter behind. A lot of the extra stuff lying around our houses belongs to deceased relatives or is nostalgia from a time gone by. The question now is – do you really need it anymore? You might feel like it’s valuable and is therefore wrong to sell, donate or get rid of. The truth of the matter is – it’s not! You’ll always have the memory, but it may be time to part with the item itself. Think of it this way – you’re making room for new memories and experiences!
- Keep what you actually use. Got a ton of clothes you don’t wear? Figure out which ones by turning all your hangers around, and when you wear something returning it with the hanger facing the right direction. After a while, the thing you haven’t worn will still be turned around, and you’ll know what it may be time to part with. The same can be done with silverware, school supplies, or anything else by putting it in a big cardboard box! What’s left in the box after a few weeks is probably unnecessary and can be donated.
- Visualize, visualize, visualize. Spend a bit of time visualizing how a room is supposed to look. How did you picture it looking when you first set it up? Where should everything go? Are there any elements you’d like to add to the room? Most of the time, the way you pictured a room involves less clutter- so get rid of it! Fulfill your dream and return to what the room was truly meant for. Your past self will thank you.
Ready to move? Let’s do this! This spring it’s out with the old, in with the new and onward towards simplicity, organization and calm.