A Thorough Guide to Declutter Your Home
Learn How to Declutter with Professional Organization Tips
Everyone has a little ‘junk’ lying around the house. OK, some of us may have more than a little. Regardless of how much stuff we have, we can all benefit from getting rid of clutter and excess things we don’t need any more, or things we haven’t even seen in a while.
According to Psychology Today, clutter can be bad for your health as people tend to feel life is out of control when they are surrounded with more things than they can manage. The mess causes stress. If you’re not taking care of the clutter in your home, you may not be taking care of yourself either.
When is clutter a problem? For many people clutter can be an energy zapper or they waste inordinate amounts of time looking for things they can’t find. In extreme cases, people may suffer from obesity or depression when a life of consumption extends beyond ‘stuff.’ In hoarding situations, a house full of clutter can cause fire hazards and other health complications when mold and dust are present.
Clutter is classified as anything you’re keeping that doesn’t add value to your life. Decluttering is all about making room in your home for the things that matter. Many people enjoy decluttering because it relieves stress by providing a sense of control and accomplishment. For others, getting rid of the junk frees up a little extra space in the house that wasn’t there before. Some people may just need to purge before they move to a new house.
Step 1: Set Goals
Before you get started, make a plan. No matter how many rooms or how much clutter you have to get through, starting with specific goals will help you create a plan that will reduce any frustration as you go.
- Write down or make a map of all the rooms and ‘clutter hot-spots’ you want to tackle.
- Give each space a grade based on the severity of the clutter. For example, on a scale of 1 – 3 (3 being the most cluttered), a particularly messy room or closet would get a 3. This will help you prioritize your time.
- Do one room or one space at a time.
- Set completion dates for each phase of your cleanup. Be sure to pick dates that are attainable so you don’t get frustrated. If you make it into a declutter challenge for yourself, it may feel a bit more like a game.
- In addition to completion dates, you should plan time to work on specific areas when you expect decluttering those spaces to take longer than a few hours, such as a basement or a garage.
Step 2: Create a Sorting System
As you go through your house you will need a system for sorting the items you find. You can create your own method, or use one of the “Three-Box Method.” This method forces you to make a decision item by item.
The Three Box Method:
KEEP BOX: Empty after you complete a space. Items you keep should go in their newly designated home. Optimally these things should be stored neatly in a container or drawer. Label if desired.
GET RID OF BOX: Empty after you complete a space. Store any items you want to give away or sell outside your home – either put them in the vehicle you plan to transport them in or store them temporarily in a garage or an attic.
STORAGE BOX: Empty into storage containers after you complete a space. As you fill your containers, label them or drop an inventory sheet on top and neatly put them in your storage area.
Step 3: Get Rid of the Clutter
You have a few options for disposing of items that make their way into the “Get Rid of It” box.
- Recycle: Glass, plastics and paper can go straight into your recycling bin. Otherwise put into bags so you can transport to the nearest recycling drop off location.
Electronics can and should be recycled.
- Donate: You can rest easy knowing that something you no longer need is going to a good home. Clothes, shoes and other household items can be donated to local charities. Or try posting to your local Buy and Sell.
- Have a Garage Sale: If you’re up to the task, make a little money off your clutter by having a garage sale. Check to see if your neighborhood has a designated garage sale date. Just make sure you begin your declutter process early enough so you can participate – you’ll get more foot traffic that way.
Commit to Get Rid of the Junk
If you’ve got clutter, we’re certain you have some “junk”. And while it may not be junk per se, it may no longer be useful. Making the decision to get rid of your old things may actually be the hardest part of decluttering. Many items will have more than just a monetary value –they will stir up memories and have sentimental value. These are real and valid feelings that make it challenging to part with our stuff.
Remember, you have options when it comes to getting rid of clutter, so you don’t have to feel guilty about putting everything in the trash. Mentally prepare yourself for decluttering your home and keep the following concepts in mind when you are struggling to part with something.
The 80/20 Rule: When it comes to clothing, we generally only wear 20 percent of the clothes we own 80 percent of the time. This rule tends to hold true for other things as well, such as video games, computer parts, books, DVDs, toys and more. Your mission is to get rid of the things you don’t use 80 percent of the time.
Getting Over Sunk Costs. In the world of economics, costs that have already been incurred and cannot be recovered are referred to as sunk costs. As you go through the items in your house, most things should be considered sunk costs (except for rare situations where an item may have increased in value). Since you cannot get the money back that you spent on that item, you should only think about the value that thing can add to your life in the future. Understanding this concept of sunk costs can help you make more rational decisions about what to keep and what you should toss.
Here are more declutter tips to help you decide what to keep and what to throw away:
See if it works. If whatever treasure you found stashed away in your house doesn’t work, get rid of it. If you want to fix it, then fix it, but don’t let it sit in your house for another month collecting dust.
Think of the last time you used it. If you haven’t used something you come across in the last 6 months, you should probably get rid of it. If you pulled the item out and said, “I’ve been wondering where this was!” you should probably get rid of it. And if you didn’t even know you still had the item in question, you should definitely get rid of it.
There’s a neat trick you can use with clothing, books and DVDs. Over the course of the year, when you use or wear an item put it back facing the opposite direction of the others. This allows you to see what you’ve used and what you haven’t. If you haven’t used or worn something in a year, get rid of it.
Ask yourself if you love it. This may seem obvious, but sometimes we keep things we aren’t completely crazy about. Yes, we spend money on things we don’t love but if you don’t love it, and you haven’t used it in more than 6 months “Get Rid of It”.
Sleep on it. After you’ve made the decision to get rid of some of the clutter in your home, sleep on it. If there’s something you can’t live without, you’ll know in the morning. You can pull it out of the junk bin and put it away.
Start With Small Decluttering Projects That Feel Big
Before you commit to an entire room, start with a few small projects that will give you a sense of accomplishment when you’re done.
“If you are overwhelmed with your clutter and just don’t know where to start, start small. Tackle one drawer, one shelf, or one corner of your desk. Set a timer and work for 15 minutes and accomplish as much as you can. Taking baby steps can eventually lead to a big change in your clutter level.”
GOOD LUCK IN YOUR START TO LIVING CLEAN!!!
Thanks to http://www.declutter-and-organize.com/declutter.html for