Declutter Your Home To Create A Less Stressful Space
- Do you ever feel like you can’t escape all of the stuff in your home? Like no matter how often you pick things up and tidy the living room, there is just always so much stuff everywhere?
- Do you ever walk into a friend or family member’s house and feel instantly jealous at their lack of junk lying around? Find yourself wondering how their kitchen table is actually clear before it’s even close to a meal time? Surely they must have some secret to keeping the piles of stuff off of the table and counter tops and virtually every other spot in the household!
- Do you ever consider what life could be like if you reclaimed your space, making it clean and organized? How refreshing it would be to set the dinner table without having to clear mountains of mail and homework from it.
- Fortunately, there is no magic trick being kept from you. We are all completely capable of having clean, organized, clutter-free homes but it does take the ability to let things go. This is where so many of us struggle in this process.
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The 6 things you must know to declutter
When it comes to organization, one of the most important places to start is decluttering the space. However, the very idea of getting rid of their belongings can be terrifying for many people. As with anything else we tackle, it helps to set some rules and guidelines for our process. Consider these rules of decluttering to help you take steps toward living a clutter-free life without the panic.
1. Vow to Stop Collecting More Stuff
The most important rule to set before you even begin to purge items is regarding how you will make this clutter-free lifestyle stick. The more you bring into the home, the more there will always be.
There’s no point in putting forth the effort to declutter if you will go thrift shopping the next day and bring home another carload of clutter. Set yourself up with the “less is more” mindset in order to be successful at keeping clutter out.
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2. Bring your nostalgia into the digital world
We have all experienced those moments when we are trying to clean the basement and suddenly find ourselves hours deep in boxes of old photos. Many of us have boxes and boxes of photos so old that they are hardly holding together. We save these things because nostalgia is a powerful emotion that brings a rush of memories into our lives.
The best way to keep your memories and hold onto that nostalgia is to find a more effective way of storing these items. By digitizing things like photos, certificates, test papers, and even report cards, you can keep all of your memories and important moments without having boxes stacked ceiling high. You can get a negative and photo scanner fairly cheap and it has endless uses!
3. Start Small and Easy
A solid way to get your momentum going in the decluttering process is by starting with the easiest things. For some of you this might be clothing that has sat untouched in a closet or drawer for years. You simply need to box or bag this up and place it in a donation pile. For others, it might be something like baby toys or supplies that you haven’t used in 10 years, since your youngest is now 12 (hey, no judgement here, we all do it)!
Begin boxing up these items that are easy for you to part with. Once you’ve got a solid area filled with things to get out of the house, the task at hand starts to feel much less overwhelming! Try using a hardware/craft cabinet to organize the random odds and ends that you find. This will lead to a sense of accomplishment and provide you with more motivation to keep going when the decision-making becomes tougher.
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4. Declutter the doubles
It isn’t all that uncommon for us to collect random things over the years, be it Christmas gifts or impulse buys. One thing you may find is that you have multiples of some items within the home. For instance, do you have 2 of the same movie because one was a gift and one you bought? Get rid of one!
Do you have way too many mixing bowls, even in the same sizes? Let them go. Check your bookshelves or your kids’ bookshelves for 2 copies of the same book. We don’t always remember each and every single thing we own so acquiring a double of something like a book or certain toy isn’t that rare!
5. Get rid of the Guilt
One major reason for a lot of the clutter we hold onto through the years is the guilt we feel to keep it. Have you ever bought yourself something really amazing that you wanted and worked so hard for? Maybe you haven’t touched that thing in 3 years now, though. Even though we wanted something so badly, finally got it, and are now essentially done with it, we tend to hold onto these things because we feel as though we can’t possibly let them go.
Gifts are another thing that this happens with all of the time. Just because you got that hideous tablecloth as a birthday gift from your great Aunt Ida doesn’t mean you have to keep it stored in the dusty attic for eternity. Let go of these items and you’ll quickly realize you don’t miss them and likely won’t even remember them soon.
6. Give everything a place
Another reason we tend to find things looking “cluttered” is because we simply just don’t have a designated place for everything we own. It’s hard to pick up and tidy the house when you have to create a spot to put each thing you pick up. If everything has a spot that it belongs, it makes it much easier for everyone in the home to put things back where they go. Have makeup scattered all over the dresser/sink? A makeup organizer is a lifesaver for this! Does a cluttered fridge stress you out? It is so much easier to find things when you have a fridge organization system in place.
These rules aren’t the definitive last word on clearing out the clutter. There are so many different methods and processes you can use to get your life back to a manageable state with as little junk around as possible. Hopefully, though, these tips will serve as guidelines to help you begin your own decluttering journey.
When The Clutter Is Too Overwhelming
- Do you panic if someone states they are going to stop by in a few, providing you virtually no notice? Do you immediately jump up and start rushing to clean the house as fast as possible, determined not to let anyone see how terribly cluttered it is? Are you ashamed of how awful it seems to look, on a nearly constant basis?
- When something comes up, and you need to find a child’s birth certificate or that court document from 2 years ago, do you know exactly where to look or do you find your heart rate starts to increase as you realize it could be anywhere? Do you race home to tear through all of the possible junk bins and drawers to find it?
- Do you often feel envious of family and friends spending their evenings lounging around watching tv or reading a book? All the while you feel guilty if you sit down because your house is absolutely filthy and needs to be in better repair before you can take time for yourself?
I highly suggest checking out The Organized Home Course from Hilary at Pulling Curls. This woman is an absolute genius when it comes to getting on top of clutter without the extreme overwhelm. She breaks it down in ways that are so incredibly simple. Following her methods has been a completely life changing experience for me and allowed me to love my home again!
10 Steps to Kick-start the De-cluttering
Now that you have read through the 6 most important rules of de-cluttering, why wait? I know, today doesn’t feel like the right time. You’re tired from a long day with the kids. It is way too pretty outside to spend time indoors cleaning. You can’t even stomach the thought of digging into this yet. I get it.
Most of us don’t wake up excited to take on a huge cleaning project. That’s why I am giving you 10 small, straightforward things that you absolutely can accomplish today, with very little effort! Procrastinating is so much easier than getting started but the longer you put it off, the more overwhelming it is going to feel.
One of the hardest parts of any project is the getting started piece. When we are told exactly what steps to take in order to accomplish something, it suddenly becomes much easier! Take these simple steps as soon as possible and you’ll see for yourself how easy it can be to declutter when you have a definitive guideline for what to do!
1. Clear Just One Surface
Clear your kitchen table. If that’s too overwhelming, choose a segment of your counter top. Make it a surface you see daily, and be sure to keep it spotless.
2. Empty a Shelf
Now that you have a surface cleared that you will see every day to provide you motivation, you can move on to another small task. Empty just one shelf. Remember to continue to keep it neat. Instead of just tossing things into a drawer, try keeping the drawer organized too using something like these!
3. Designate a Paper Zone
Nothing accumulates and gets out of control like papers. Designate an area as a catchall for your paperwork, and always place new papers in that tray or box.
4. Find Homes for 5 Things
We all have a few items that never seem to get put away. Carefully choose your five most commonly left-out items, and find special places to store them.
5. Donate Three Pieces of Clothing
Clothes are often the worst to declutter. Choose just three pieces to give away each day while getting ready. Soon you’ll have a bag full.
6. Dump One Drawer
Pick just one drawer in your home to declutter. Then dump it out. This lets you see everything at a glance and makes the sorting process easier. Drawer organizers make life a hundred times less chaotic.
7. Organize Your Medicines
Medicine, bandages and other health supplies should be kept together. Tackle just your medicine cabinet, creating a neat and tidy place to keep the up-to-date items you use most regularly.
8. Create a Simple File System
Remember that paper zone? Soon it will overflow. Designate just a few file folders to hold your most common categories of paperwork. Then sort through the documents in your tray to file them quickly in their place.
9. Take The Donations to the Car
Once you have a few tiny tasks underway, you’ll likely end up with a sizeable amount of stuff to donate. Take the bag or box out to your car to deliver to the thrift shop. See how easy it is to get rid of stuff?
10. Picture Your Finished Room
These small decluttering tasks are adding up. Take a look around and picture how your room might look when completely pared down and organized. Visualization is a powerful motivator.
Taking small decluttering steps is so much easier than trying to tackle everything at once. Take this process step by step and remember that any progress is better than none at all! Soon you’ll be on your way to big life changes.
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Do you have any special hacks for decluttering your home? Let us know in the comments!
As a busy mom, Raz knows firsthand the challenges of balancing parenting and household management. Raz is constantly searching for ways to simplify her life and loves sharing her experiences and tips with others. Whether it's finding creative meal solutions for picky eaters or discovering the latest time-saving home organization hack, she is always on the lookout for ways to make life easier for her family and herself.