Does a clutter-free home feel like a pipe dream to you? Do you despair of ever having everything cleaned up and put away? Of not either avoiding having anyone over or of not having to make excuses or apologies for all the clutter? Are you tired of wasting time and money having to re-buy things you know you have but can’t find?
I am here to tell you that it is entirely possible. You can reduce–or even eliminate–the clutter in your home and your life. It will take a little work, but I promise it’s worth it. Just picture a clean and peaceful home, more money for the things you enjoy, and more time to enjoy them. Decluttering and creating a clean and comfortable home doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it seems. One of the best ways to remove the overwhelm is to break it down into smaller steps. In fact, I use these seven simple steps to declutter any room, and I’ve been using them for years. Yes, decluttering is a constant process. Sadly, it’s not a one-and-done chore, though once you’ve decluttered, there are things you can do to help keep your space clutter-free. More on that in a future post.
Before you begin, you need to develop a clutter-free mindset. Decide that you are ready to let go: Let go of the “stuff”, let go of the expectations, let go of the guilt, let go of “someday.” Once you are ready to let go, you are ready to begin decluttering and reclaim your life. For more help in figuring out how to achieve a clutter-free lifestyle, check out this post.
1. Ditch the distractions.
Turn off the computer and the TV, silence your phone notifications, and send your kids off to a play date if they’re not at school. If you work better with some music, fire up your most motivating playlist and let’s get to work.
2. Choose one room to start with.
Do NOT start with the worst or the biggest room in your house. Overwhelming yourself isn’t going to lead to success. Choose a bedroom, your home office or even a bathroom or the laundry room.
3. Gather your supplies.
You need a large trash bag, a giveaway box and a doesn’t-belong-in-this-room box. If you’re really having a hard time, I give you permission to add an “I’m not sure” box. I’ll explain that later.
4. Pick a spot and start.
We are going to declutter one area at a time. It doesn’t have to be a whole room. You can start with a cabinet, a closet, a dresser or just a messy corner.
Start sorting through, putting each item in the appropriate box or bag as you pick it up. No leaving anything to decide about later. Once you touch it, decide whether it’s keep, toss, donate or belongs somewhere else—and put it there. For items that are going to stay, set them aside where you can easily get to them to put them away.
5. Once that area is done, put away neatly what needs to remain and move on to the next area and repeat until you’re done.
You don’t have to do it all in one day; that could be overwhelming if you’re a serious clutterbug, but try to get through at least a couple of spaces each time.
6. Once the room is finished, take your trash bag out to the garbage.
Don’t look in it, don’t ponder on it, don’t second guess yourself. Tie it up and take it directly out to the garbage. Next take your giveaway box to the trunk of your car. If you have time, take it to the donation center of your choice and drop it off today. That way, you won’t be tempted to start filching items back out of the box.
Next, take your doesn’t-belong-in-this-room box and put everything in it where it does belong. Don’t postpone this task until you’re done with all the decluttering or until another day. Do it now.
If you needed to have an “I’m not sure” box, take that box and everything in it, and put it in your storage area. Mark a deadline date on your calendar–not less than a month, not more than six months. When you get to the deadline date, take the box and whatever is left in it to the donation center of your choice. Whatever is still in the box is clearly not something you actually needed.
7. Celebrate your accomplishment.
Your work in this room is done. Take a moment to admire your hard work. Does it look good? Does it feel even better?
Now reward yourself for that hard work with a nice hot bath, or a good piece of chocolate.
You are on your way to becoming organized. You are on your way to a clutter-free home and a clutter free life.
I hope you’ve found this useful and it’s helped get you started on your journey to a decluttered home and an organized life. Once you’ve tried the “declutter any room” steps, let me know how it has worked for you.
I especially vote for chocolate when the room is finished! Thanks for reminding me of how simple this process is.
These are fabulous tips. I especially like #2 (and #7, of course). I always give this same advice of starting small when I coach people through preserving photos and memories if they haven’t done it for a long time. I always say start with the EASIEST thing to do because once you’ve accomplished something the momentum will propel you forward so you can do more. Great advice here. Pinning! 🙂
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