I’ve been getting rid of some clutter- anything that doesn’t serve a positive purpose in my life- and making room for things that feel happy to me. Because I get to make my life whatever I want it to be. I get to make the room feel however I want it to feel. I get to make the closet as full or as spacious as I want it. And, if I have more clutter to get rid of after Christmas, I’m not going to wait a year, or two, or three to do it.
1. Start Off with One Area at a Time.
When you look around, it may be a bit overwhelming to think about clearing out your clutter. I know it has been for me. However, if you start out with ONE area at a time, designating it a “no clutter” zone, you will find yourself making progress quickly. Once you’ve chosen a place to start, keep it that way and take steps to expand it until your whole home is clutter free.
Ultimately, you want all flat spaces in your home clutter free. Sure, the kitchen can have appliances that you use regularly left out, but those that are rarely used need to be put away. Kitchen counters often catch junk mail and other papers. Sort the papers and throw out what is not essential. Once you’ve done the kitchen counters, start with the shelves in your home.
When you’re walking through a room, grab five things that don’t belong there and put them where they go. If they don’t have a designated spot, choose one. Then, when you’ve chosen that spot, always return them when you’re finished with them.
If you’re just starting out, chances are that you’re probably not interested in doing a huge de-cluttering session just yet. However, you can schedule it for later in the month. Putting it on the schedule will give you time to make sure you’re free and to get friends and family to assist you. The more help you have, the quicker it will go.
When you’re working on decluttering a room, stand back and think about exactly how you want that room to look. Consider the furniture that is necessary and what doesn’t really belong, but for some reason ended up there. Once you’ve decided this, get rid of anything that doesn’t belong- whether you move it to another room or get rid of it all together.
Get some totes/bags and start sorting. You will have four categories: Keep, Maybe, Donate, and Discard. Then, start sorting. If you have something that you don’t exactly use, but you don’t really want to part with right now, put it in the Maybe category- then put it away and schedule to pull it out in six months. If you haven’t used it by now, it needs to be thrown out or donated. Once you have a pile to donate, take it to your charity of choice as soon as possible.
If you have children, get them involved in the decluttering process. Help them to understand that everything has a place and when it’s not being used, it needs to be put up. Of course, have patience with them. They’re not going to learn this overnight- it will take some time. Be an example- if they see you putting things away, they’ll follow suit and eventually they’ll understand and (BONUS) it will translate into their adulthood.
One of the biggest clutter problems for most people is paper. There’s not always a good place to put papers. Consider purchasing a file box and some file folders. Label each of them for major bills and any other paperwork you have (school, warranties, etc). Designate a spot and keep them there. Always have extra folders and labels so you can create new folders as you need to. When you get mail, immediately throw out the junk mail.
Go through your medications and throw out those that are expired and anything that looks old. Only keep the bare essentials. Then, if you have not designated a spot for your medications, create one.
Since its new, it will take some getting used to- but learn to embrace and love the new simple, uncluttered look. Make it the standard in your home and life. You’ll learn that the neat look is good and clutter is bad. Once you’ve cleared it out, it will be easier to catch before it takes over again.
Please read all 50 Tips and learn more about this book: 50 Things to Know About Cleaning & Organizing Your Life by Lisa Rusczyk Ed.D.