Clutter is awful.. it causes major anxiety (that’s not just me, right??). It’s an eyesore, and it is just plain embarrassing.
In the past, instead of spending time with my family, exercising, doing a hobby, or just chilling and practicing self care I used to end up cleaning.. a lot. I cleaned on the weekend to try and give myself a fresh start.. I cleaned a LOT before any company came over. And I cleaned because I was stressed.. and I was stressed because it was cluttered! (talk about a vicious cycle!)
If I’d learned how to declutter a lot sooner, my life would’ve improved drastically!
How can decluttering improve my life?
Great question! .. or, another question you might’ve thought was “why bother decluttering?” It’s okay. You can be honest here.
Truthfully, decluttering has a lot of the same benefits that organization offers. But here we’ll talk about the ones that affect YOU, your mind, and your mood!
- Improve Sleep
Decluttering your home and space can allow you to finally relax and sleep better. If you don’t have to climb over a pile of junk to go to bed worried about what you have to do tomorrow, you’ll wake up much more rested.
- Improve Mood
If you’re sitting in a cluttered house all day, you’re probably stressed and anxious. You may not even realize that your stress and anxiety are stemming from the clutter in your home, but trust me. That clutter plays a BIG part. Just get rid of it, already!
- Be Proud of Your Home
Listen, when you have someone over, if your kid’s friend’s parents come to pick them up, or you just want to have a nice, tidy house it’s a huge rush to avoid embarrassment. (Or maybe it’s so bad that you greet them on the front porch and never let them in..)
You try to put things away, but lo and behold, there’s nowhere for them to go. Stuff stacks on top of other stuff.. and suddenly you’re a hoarder living in a scary hoarder’s nest.
(Just kidding. I’m sure you’re not a hoarder.. but do you want anyone to mistake you for one!?)
Instead of being embarrassed, just learn to declutter, fix up your space.. and proudly invite anyone and everyone that stops by into your home!
They will be IMPRESSED. Trust me.
- Spend Less Time Cleaning
Just stop wasting your life cleaning.
- Optimize Your Space
Instead of feeling squished, and like you don’t have enough room for all of your stuff, learn how to declutter. Suddenly, your stuff will all have a home, and will be out of your damn way.
You’ll have space to walk around, surfaces to utilize for eating, prepping, crafting, working, or whatever you do.
If you NEED something new (desk, bookshelf, whatever), you’ll probably have a hell of a lot more space available to you once you learn how to declutter, and just do it!
Decluttering is Awesome
As you can plainly see, the benefits of decluttering are astounding!
It’s crazy that such a SUPER SIMPLE thing can improve the look of your home, your mental health, sleep (physical health!), and make you proud of your home!
So let’s move on and learn HOW to declutter your house, so you can receive all of those fabulous benefits!
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How to Declutter: 7 Super Simple Ways to Declutter Your Home
Get Rid of Trash to Declutter
Trash needs to go FIRST. When initially decluttering your space, you need to get it out immediately.
It will help you actually see the room you’re working with, and provide a less overwhelming task for you to achieve!
Then when you’re just doing regular, daily maintenance and living, just be a grown up and throw your trash away as soon as it becomes trash. IMMEDIATELY.
What is trash?
If you’re anything like my hoarder-ish brother, you may be looking around a room that OTHER people told you was messy and full of trash, saying to yourself something like this…
“That’s not trash! That’s really important! I may need the wrapper to that toy I bought 9 years ago. Maybe I’ll get amnesia and forget how to use it and need to dig up the instructions.. or return it to that store that doesn’t even exist anymore”
Okay. Now try to get a teeeeny bit tighter grasp on reality, and check this out.
- Empty bottles, food containers, candy wrappers
- Tissues, napkins, or other hygienic items that are used
- Packaging for something that is too old, used, or worn out (or missing!) to be returned
- Outdated magazines, newspapers, flyers, mail, etc.
- Completed crosswords, word searches, sudoku books, etc.
- “Scraps” that you “Might use one day” – for any type of craft or project. Some common culprits include: paper scraps (“I can use a dye cut to make a heart with that pink paper next Valentine’s day”), wood scraps (“I can totally use this tiny 4″ 2×4 to prop up the leg of a table if it ever breaks” ) etc.
There are more examples of trash you should get rid of to declutter.. but you get the picture.
(Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can’t figure out what’s trash and what’s not.. I’ll help you out)
THROW THAT SHIT AWAY!
Chances are, you probably forgot it was there and already replaced it, or haven’t used it in years. You’re just justifying its continued existence.. again.. now that you’ve re-discovered the “treasures” hiding (taking up space) in your home.
Get it out. Please.
Ask These Questions:
- When was the last time I used this item?
- Is it use-able or in good condition?
- Am I keeping this item for a specific reason (emotional connection, special value, heirloom, memories, etc), or do I just feel bad about the possibility of getting rid of it?
- Do I already have another item that can do the same job? (or straight-up duplicates??)
- Will someone else make better use of this item than I will, or than I currently am? (aka – should I donate this??)
Not every item will require every question. If you know right off the bat that you haven’t used something for 3 years, AND it’s broken. It’s trash.
But, sometimes you’ll need to go through multiple questions and really decide if you need to keep the item.
I’m not here to tell you to throw all of your possessions away. I’m just here to help you take a good hard look at your stuff, and decide if it’s actually worth keeping – and why.
Once you decide if you need to keep it (good reasons to keep things are: They’re Useful on a Regular Basis; They Hold Special Memories or Emotional Value, or You Just Truly Love Them)… or toss it, make 5 piles.
- Things to Keep – put them into a box or basket. Don’t go finding them a home just yet.
- Things to Trash – put them directly in a trash bag. These are broken things that NO ONE can use
- Things to Recycle – Trash, but recyclable trash.
- Things to Donate – if you no longer want or need it, but it’s still functional, give it away! There are always people who need all kinds of things. Help out your fellow man, and feel good about doing good.
- Things to Sell – if you have an item of fairly significant value (a single book, or other small, outdated accessory probably doesn’t count here) and think you may actually be able to sell it (on FB Marketplace, Reddit, Craigslist, or in a Yard Sale) in the very near future. Give it a shot.
Once you do all of that- take out the trash and recycling. Put the donations in the car (not the garage to sit there for more months!), post that item on the internet to sell, and immediately:
Find. Your. Things. A Home.
Give Everything a Home
Everything in your home.. needs a home. This is how to declutter.
Instead of sitting something down on the counter, kitchen table, dresser top, or wherever.. “just for now”.. give it a permanent home.
One where it can be easily accessed when needed.
Give it a home that makes sense. (Don’t put the dish soap in your broom closet.. that doesn’t make any sense.)
Give each item in your space a home where it will be out of the way and not cause you stress or create visual clutter.
Give it a home that everyone in your house can know, understand, and utilize. (don’t put your kids’ favorite toys on the top shelf of a closet in your room, and then expect them to be able to put it away!). Make sure everyone in your home does know where their items belong, and keep them accountable.
After a while, it will simply be a habit to be clean, tidy people. You’ll no longer have to wonder how to declutter your house.. because your house will just BE decluttered.. always!
Note: If an item doesn’t have a home, that probably means it doesn’t belong in your home. If you can’t find a place that something should live.. maybe go back to the questions listed above and reconsider if you actually need that item.
While you’re here, consider checking out 5 Simple Steps to Organizing Anything (seriously, anything!) – it could help you out a LOT as you declutter your home!
Declutter a Room By Moving In a Circle
Do I sound insane? Yes, but hear me out.
Instead of just pinpointing specific “problem areas” that you can see – start in one corner of a room, and declutter in a circle.
First, do one circle for trash, as it needs to get out of your room first.
Then start back over and ask these questions for objects ALL THE WAY AROUND your room. This will keep you from accidentally (or “accidentally” on purpose) skipping any areas, and force you to think about every single item inside.
Don’t stop until you’ve done the full circle of the room.
Dusty Spots are Red Flags
So I get it. Literally NO ONE likes to dust.
In college, I’m ashamed to say that I think I … NEVER dusted.
Seriously. I hate dusting. It’s way easier now with cool tools like these disposable dusters that trap the dust.. but still. It kinda sucks.
When going about the decluttering process, you should look for the dustiest areas of your home.
If you’re like me, you’ll probably overlook them at first. Because you forgot that space, and those items were even there.
The dustiest spots are typically “decorations” – things that someone gave you at some point, and you put them up on a shelf, counter, dresser, mantle, or wherever.. and stopped looking at them.
They’ve just been sitting there, gathering dust, and mocking you in their visual-clutter glory.
It’s time to make some decisions, friend.
First, dust them off.. because .. ew.
Second, go back to those questions I had you ask before, and ask them again.
If you come across something special that you really want to keep (a gift from your grandma, family heirloom, etc).. but that doesn’t really serve a purpose or fit in with your other decor.
Pack it up in a safe box, label it, and put it up in the back of your closet, under your bed, or in the attic. I am NOT an advocate of trashing everything, with disregard to the special meaning and memories behind your things. If you love it, or the person who gave it to you. Definitely keep it.
Just don’t feel guilty for putting it away.
If you DO want to keep the dusty things out, make sure that you really love them, or that they’re serving a purpose.
And try to dust more often, dude! That’s gross. (I should know)
I’ve already mentioned these items in the questions you need to ask for decluttering.. but it’s 100% worth mentioning again.
If there are things sitting around, staring at you, wasting space, and collecting dust, you probably don’t need them anymore.
Unused items are some of the worst culprits in the world of clutter.
We go to to Target, or shop on Amazon and buy crap we don’t need.
“It’s so cute!” “Hilarious” “I’m sure I’ll use this one day!”… and then we’re stuck with stuff.
Or, we never tell anyone in our families what we really want for our Birthdays, Christmas, whatever.. and they give us some random junk that they think is hilarious, cute, or that we’ll use one day.
And we don’t.
It just sits there, mocking us.
So take a GOOD HARD LOOK at the things in your space. Are you using them??
If not, go through the other questions and see if it’s donate-able, sell-able, or trash or recycling.
Then go make it happen! Clear out unused items and declutter your home!
Organize Your Closets and Drawers, too
Sometimes when we think of clutter, we just think of the VISUAL clutter in a room.. you know- the clutter that’s out on surfaces.
And while visual clutter is a HUGE point of contention, and is extremely important to erase.. you need to go deeper.
Dig into your drawers, cabinets, and closets.. and follow these same steps to declutter and organize those guys!
Then, if you’re cleaning out the “surface level” parts of the room and attempting to assign each item a home.. you’ll actually HAVE useable space available to give them.
Otherwise, you’re just tossing more and more stuff into your drawers, cabinets, and closets.. and creating a more cluttered disaster than you started with.
And we don’t want that.
Now That You’ve Learned How to Declutter
What will you do first? Will you throw away the trash? (Dear God please do! No one needs to live in a trashy home) Get rid of unused items? Dust and find buried treasure?
I believe in you. Do you?
… and remember, make good life choices!