De-Clutter Your Home with These Tips

It's Always a Good Time to Clean Up a Bit!

We've all been there- You have a space in your house that has gotten so cluttered, so messy, so "overgrown" with stuff, for lack of a better term, that just looking at that area of your home gives you a knot in your stomach.  We all want our homes to be organized, well-maintained, and free of junk we no longer use or need, but sometimes these things just get away from us.  When this happens, sometimes the anxiety we feel toward that messy space prohibits us from cleaning it up.  It seems like such a huge challenge to take on that we, with our busy day-to-day lives, push it to the back of our minds.  If we had a way to organize, de-clutter, and rid our homes of our no-longer needed possessions that would take less time, we might never let it get out-of-hand in the first place!  Here are some tips that should drastically cut down on the amount of time you put in to de-cluttering your home.  Plus, a little guidance is sometimes all you need to get motivated.  Fall cleaning, Spring cleaning, it's always a good time to straighten up a bit!

Questions to Ask Yourself 

While going through that cluttered space, ask yourself some questions of the things you unearth:

  • Is this something that I would Buy in a store if I saw it today?
    • This question is so important.  If you don't love it enough that you would Buy it again, there's no sense in hanging onto it.
  • Do I like this anymore?
    • This seems like a silly question to have to ask yourself, but sometimes you can be so used to looking at an item that you don't even recognize the fact that you no longer like it.
  • Do I use this anymore?
  • Do I have more of these items?
    • If you answer, "Yes" to this question, ask yourself, realistically, if you really that many of that item.
  • Would something else I own do the same job as this?
    • There's no need to keep items that do a job that can be done by other items you own.  They are serving no purpose but contributing to the mess.
  • If I keep this item, what item will I get rid of in its place?
    • Sometimes, it's hard to let things go.  If you find a cluttered space from which items need to go, but you find yourself wanting to keep the items you find, ask yourself this question.  You will find yourself ranking the items.  The lower on the list the item is, the closer it gets to the donation box or trash can.
  • Books and magazines: Realistically, will I ever read this again?
    • Tear out the recipe you were keeping the magazine for, and donate that book that you know you'll never read again.
  • In regards to bills, documents, and receipts: Will I need this come tax time? Am I going to return this item?
    • If the receipt is too old to even return the item or you are planning on keeping the item, you do not need to keep that receipt.  If you won't need to provide that document, receipt, or bill when tax time comes around again, get rid of it.
  • If it is clothes, jewelry, or shoes: Have I worn this in the last 12 months?
    • If you went through an entire season without wearing that blouse even once, it's time to let it go.
    • Seasonal wear, like winter coats, gloves, hats, and scarves- Did I wear it last year?
    • Seasonal wear, like swimsuits- Did I wear it last year?
      • Tip: If the elastic is losing its stretch on your swimsuit, get rid of it and treat yourself to a brand new suit next year!
  • Holiday items: Have I used this decoration in the past three years?
    • Holiday items, because we only get them out once a year, tend to pile up in storage areas.  Often there are boxes of holiday decorations that don't even get taken out of their spot in the storage area because we no longer decorate with them.  When it's holiday decorating time again, take out those extra boxes that haven't been used in three years or more, make sure there's not a special item enclosed in them, and put them in the car to be thrift store-bound!

Sometimes, it can be hard to let go of items, whether it be because we think we will use them again, or because we still like them, even though we truly know we will never use them again.  So much evidence points to clutter and mess being a huge stressor on individuals, causing damage in many aspects on our lives, from relationship troubles to the amount of free time that gets wasted while we are clearing clutter.  Clean house, Clean mind.  Let go of some items you have been holding onto for too long, and let the freeing feeling you get when they're gone be your motivations for keeping up with it!

Keep It Up!

Here are some tips to keep that space clear once you've successfully de-cluttered:

  • As you're de-cluttering, write down any organizational tools you think you could use that would help you keep things sorted and organized in the future
    • Those "mental notes" tend to get "lost" after we make them, but if you make a real note of the things you need, you're much more likely to actually purchase the items you need.
  • Deal with it as it comes in the door
    • When you take those receipts out of your wallet, pay those bills, or bring in the mail, actively put away the things you need to keep, and toss those you don't.  If you do it as it comes in the door, rather than piling it up to deal with later, you will find those piles are no longer appearing in your home.
  • One in, One out
    • When you bring home a new toy for the kids or a new shirt for yourself, take one less-used item out of your closet.  If you see that things are becoming overcrowded again, change that rule to One in, Two out.
  • Aggressively deal with piles
    • When you see that things are starting to pile up again, whether they be shoes in your mud room or paperwork on the desk, actively and aggressively go through them.  You'll feel so good once you do!
  • Always have a donation bag ready to be filled
    • This tip is so helpful, because if you keep this at the ready at all times, you will find yourself purging items much more often than you do without the donation bag ready.
  • Make de-cluttering a habit
    • Truth be told, it is so easy for clutter to build up in a home.  If you make a habit of actively sorting, pitching no-longer needed items, and donating gently-used items, you will find your home and mind clearer and happier.
Don't forget, there are people out there who can use your unused items! If the item is gently used, still in good shape, and still works, consider donating it rather than tossing it in the garbage.  You can cut down on your waste contribution, and you can give that item new life with someone who might just love it!

Research thrift stores in your area to find one that donates much of its profits to a charity you'd like to support, and feel even better about getting rid of the things you no longer need!