Declutter your home in three ‘easy’ steps.
Have you ever found yourself staring at the boxes in your garage in frustration, thinking “I knew that thing is here somewhere. I remember buying it, like six months ago. Where is it?”
Or maybe this is more familiar?
“Wait, I have bank statements and receipts from 1989?”
“This make-up/ jar of pasta sauce/ medicine expired when?”
“I can’t find anything in my wardrobe! Where’s my pair of acid-wash jeans?”
Usually that last one will be followed by some heartfelt tugging at random clothes in the dresser, just to find you buried under a pile of shirts and then lo and behold, FIVE pairs of acid-wash jeans.
How did we get ourselves in this mess?
We all are functioning adults. We all know to keep our things and our lives organized. How do we always end up with a bursting cupboard, drawers full of cables and a pile of clothes with a broken zipper or missing buttons?
Don’t be so hard on yourself. We all go ‘clutter blind’ from time to time. Clutter slowly builds over time and somehow, avoiding that pile of donations you meant to take to Goodwill becomes a second habit. Don’t feel guilty if you are not on top of it. However, when you find yourself buried under five pairs of acid-wash jeans, it is time to own up that you are in need of a de-clutter.
There are tons of ‘how to’ guides out there on how to declutter your home. Believe me, dear readers, I have read plenty on your behalf. What stood out from all the various advice out there are these three simple rules. You need to keep these in mind for a clutter free life:
‘Eat the elephant’
Like we’ve discussed earlier, clutter builds up over time. With all the best intention in the world, it is not possible to clear all the clutter in one single day. The question you should ask is ‘How do you eat the elephant?’ and the answer is; one bite at a time.
This applies when you are trying to tackle the clutter in your home. Doing it in small chunks will make the task less overwhelming. Set up small, reachable goals or milestones and before you know it, your task will be finished. So set aside a date and choose one area to focus on. It is recommended that you tackle something non-sentimental like clothes, books or paperwork or kitchenware. Don’t tackle the sentimental stuff first. You’ll find yourself bogged down with memories and trying to make hard decisions on what to throw or keep.
Have you chosen which area to declutter? Then you will need a kitchen timer and four boxes. Label the boxes ‘Keep’, ‘Sell’, ‘Donate’ and ‘Trash’. The four boxes are easy enough to understand but what about that kitchen timer? We are talking about decluttering in small, manageable chunks. Set a kitchen timer to 45 minutes, dive in and tackle the mess. You will find having that timer ticking behind you is great for focusing the mind.
When the clock pings, do not be tempted to carry on. Take a break. Have a glass of cold lemonade or a well-deserved cookie or both (I won’t tell). Then come back to the scene. You’ll see how much progress you’ve made in decluttering that space and trust me, it will warm your heart.
Kick back and let this do the vaccuming for you.
The latest buzzword in decluttering is the KonMari method coined by Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant. The basis of the method is to hold each of your belonging in your hand and ask yourself “Does this thing bring me joy?” The method then reads that you should only keep the things that spark joy and get rid of the rest.
Seriously, do we really have time for this?
The bottom line of this method and in any decluttering effort is to be ruthless. Whatever item you have in your hand, you have to make a decision. Think about the last time you used it. Was it in the past year? Are you going to use it in coming year? No good thinking you will use it ‘someday’. Trust me that ‘someday’ may never come.
And no, you are not going to fix that zip or fix that worn patches on the knees, nor are you going to lose ten pounds in a hurry. And yes, that cute band t-shirt reminded you of the time you were at a mosh pit of the best concert of your life. It can hard to let go sometimes.
The trick is to think about the present, not the future nor the past.
Make the decision and put them in the right boxes. Maybe you are not ready to let go. If this is the case then put it in the ‘Keep’ box. Decluttering should be done in cycles and you can come back to that t-shirt in the future.
Make sure to tape the boxes so you don’t take that t-shirt back out.
Clutter, ye shall not pass
Last but not least, deal with potential clutter before it darkens your doorstep. Once you declutter, have fun organizing your space. Hooks, containers, baskets, aluminum storage racks can help if you use them wisely in keeping your clutter under control.
Develop small habits to deal with your belongings. Keep everything back in the right place once you’ve used them. Junk mail that comes through the post box goes straight to the recycling, not the side table where you keep your papers. Have a donate box ready at the bottom of your closet and fill it with items you want to donate as you go along. That includes clothes, books, CDs and DVDs which will otherwise clutter your space.
This should help.
So there you are – decluttering in three ‘easy’ steps. I did put easy in quotation marks. Making a decision to declutter your home may not always be easy and yes, you may find yourself falling out of the ‘clutter free’ bandwagon. Rest assured that you have conquered your clutter before and you will again.
Ps. for making it this far, here are some fab, short videos on decluttering from Apartment Therapy.
Calming your closet clutter
Sprucing up your spice cupboard
10 ways to organize your bedroom closet
Junk Talk Web Team