If you are like many people, your house is probably full of things you don’t need. It can be difficult to know what things you can get rid of and where to start. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the clutter in your home:
- Change your mindset
- Develop a plan
- Get rid of things
- Organize the reminder
- Avoid the tendency to re-clutter
How do I get in the mindset for straightening up my house?
Getting in the correct mindset is one of the most important parts of decluttering your home. And you’ll have to find a strategy that works for you. People do things like:
- Schedule a distraction-free time to declutter
- Listen to a particular playlist
- Put themselves in a state of mind where they are comfortable parting with things
It’s extremely important to make the conscious choice to declutter your home. Eventually, you’ll be faced with an item that you no longer need, but have a strong emotional attachment to. The idea of discarding your cherished thing will tug at your heartstrings. It’s great to acknowledge those feelings. Let them happen, then see how you feel. Ideally, you’ll be able to make an objective assessment of how useful the item is. Even if you can’t let it go at that moment, you’ll probably declutter your house multiple times over several years. Maybe you’ll be okay to part with it down the road.
How do I develop a plan to declutter my house?
Developing a plan for your home is critical. In many homes, all the available surfaces are covered by something. It would likely be frustrating and ineffective to simply start trying to straighten up without a strategy. Because each person is unique, it’s important to develop the specifics of your plan yourself.
That said, there are a number of methods that people have used to at least get started on the task of cleaning their homes. A common method is to select a small, manageable space, like a countertop, and start there. This is skipping a step however. Before you begin moving things around, you need to know where they are going to go.
What happens if you move everything from that countertop to your dining room table? You’ve got a clean countertop, but an even messier table. However, if you know what you want to throw out from your countertop and what you want to keep, you can free up your counter space without increasing clutter elsewhere.
Your plan should include at least a vague idea of how you want to work your way through your home, how you want your house to look at the end, and any other special considerations you may have. It’s also critical that you develop your plan with future usability in mind. It will be much easier to keep your house straightened up if things are stored in a natural place. Meaning, if the first thing you do when you come home is kick your shoes off, put a shoe rack near your front door. If you have a pile of books on your bedside table, consider replacing it with something that stores books more effectively but still provides the benefits of a bedside table.
How do I figure out what I can get rid of from my home?
There are a number of ways to figure out what you can get rid of. A great one is to think of some categories that your possessions can be sorted into, for example:
- Old Photographs
Once you’ve made your categories, start with the one that you feel will be easiest to sort through; a lot of people start with their clothes because they have the weakest emotional attachment to them. Gather everything from that category into a big pile. Then, go through and physically handle each item. Decide whether or not it’s adding value to your life, or simply taking up physical and emotional space. If it adds value, put it in a keep pile. If it only takes up space, put it in a discard pile.
Other people prefer to organize by zone. A zone can be defined however you want, though using rooms is fairly common. Again, handle each item in your zone and decide if it’s adding value or taking up space and place it in appropriate pile.
Once you’ve adopted your mindset, made your plan, and completed your goal for the day, you’ll need to physically discard the things you no longer need. In addition to putting them in the trash, you can donate them or give away as gifts. Be careful though, it’s easy to put off donating or giving those things away and letting them continue to take up space.
How do I organize my house?
You’ve successfully executed the discarding phase of your plan. Now you probably have a pile of things you kept and you’re wondering what to do with them. Go back to your plan and your idea of how you want your house to look. If you organized by category, you’ll need to put each item away in the appropriate spot, wherever that may be. If you sorted by zone, you’ll need to put each item back in its new location, or move it to the zone where it belongs.
How do I keep my house from becoming cluttered again?
If you’ve set up your organizational system around your natural movements through your home, it will help a lot. You won’t struggle to make sure all your things are where they belong. They’ll naturally end up in the appropriate spot. It’s also important to reduce the number of unnecessary things coming into your home. An easy way to do this is to keep a list of things you want with the date they were added to the list. If you still want it after 30 days, maybe it’s worth buying.
Decluttering your home can feel like a gargantuan task. You may not know where to begin. Fortunately, there are a number of great strategies people have developed to make decluttering easier. The best thing to do is experiment with what other people have done and see what works best for you.