Table of Contents
- 33 Ways to Declutter Your Life (and Keep It That Way!)
- 1 Ask yourself three questions.
- 2 Plan a purge.
- 3 Invest in a label maker.
- 4 Go for groupings.
- 5 Be ruthless with lone socks.
- 6 Put up hooks.
- 7 Trash any manuals.
- 8 Cut down on duplicates.
- 9 Toss out old meds.
- 10 Stick to one room.
- 11 Bring on the baskets.
- 12 Declutter, then organize.
- 13 Keep surfaces clear.
- 14 Don’t get overwhelmed.
- 15 Put limits on pillows.
- 16 Cull your magazine library.
- 17 Start small.
- 18 Obscure items.
- 19 Take up tidying time.
- 20 Throw out take-out trash.
- 21 Purge your spice rack.
- 22 Find and fill spaces.
- 23 Become a curator.
- 24 Utilize vertical spaces.
- 25 Make choices.
- 26 Cull containers
- 27 Get honest with yourself.
- 28 Toss old tech.
- 29 Take a photo.
- 30 Use the four box method.
- 31 Move out makeup.
- 32 Get clear containers.
- 33 Make an in-and-out promise.
- Five Ways to Declutter Fast
- It Helps to Understand Clutter
- Get Started – A Room at a Time
- How to Declutter Fast – Quick and Easy Steps
- You Now You Have a System to Declutter Your Home
- #9 The children’s artwork
- #10 The hallway
- #11 Your garage or loft
- #12 Cupboards throughout the house
- #13 Your jewellery
- #14 The kitchen work surface
- #15 Your bedside table
- #16 Outdoor coats and shoes
- #17 Your children’s books
- #18 The linen cupboard
- #19 A drawer of your choice
- #20 Plates, glasses and cutlery
- 1. Before you declutter, visualize what you want your space to look like.
- 2. Don’t bring any new items into your home until the decluttering process is complete.
- 3. Get mentally prepared.
- 4. Gather all the materials you’ll need.
- 5. Schedule your decluttering session on the calendar.
- 6. Start with the space that bothers you the most.
- 7. Then start with what you can see.
- 8. Don’t forget to focus on the big stuff, too.
- 9. Tackle one item at a time.
- 10. Ask yourself the right questions.
- 11. Remember your vision and stick to it.
- 12. Use mantras to keep you going when the decluttering gets hard.
- 13. Turn sentimental items into stories.
- 14. Give everything a home.
- 15. Ask for help from a professional.
- 10 Ideas to Declutter Your Home:
- 1. Organize the Kitchen.
- 2. Add pull out drawers to regular cabinets for those big pots and pans.
- 3. Bathrooms are very busy rooms.
- 4. Get rid of what you don’t use, and what you don’t need.
- 5. Organize your closets.
- 6. Declutter the space where you work, if it is inside the home.
- 7. Discard unused items.
- 8. Organize your laundry room.
- 9. Tidy up the garage.
- 10. Have a place for all those toys.
33 Ways to Declutter Your Life (and Keep It That Way!)
Clutter creeps up. No matter how vigilant you are about performing annual clean-ups around the house, the gradual accumulation of junk is a never-ending tide that wanes in and out, leaving piles of chaos that challenge your clarity and overwhelm your sense of serenity. No two ways about it: clutter is stressful.
Thing is, though, it’s an easily solvable problem—one that takes only two steps. First, you have to purge. Then, you have to adopt best practices. And lucky for you, we’ve rounded up said best practices for how to declutter your life and how to declutter your home right here. So read on, and learn how to declutter your home and your life. There’s only one possible result: you feeling happier, healthier, and freer than ever before.
1 Ask yourself three questions.
Sometimes you find yourself asking how to even start decluttering your home. Because often, every big purge starts the same way: you staring at a big pile of stuff that you have no clue what to do with. It’s daunting and frustrating in equal measure, yes, but it’s also far more simple than you think. To get things rolling, all you have to do is ask yourself three questions.
- What’s the worst thing that would happen if I got rid of this?
Could I rent or borrow this item if I need it in the future?
Is the storage space taken up by this item really worth it?
Trust me: Your honest answers will tell you everything you need to know.
2 Plan a purge.
Most of us get the itch to start decluttering the house when the weather gets warm, windows get thrown open, and sunlight hangs around longer. But don’t just wait for a spring cleaning to get clutter under control. Schedule a big purge at least twice a year (at, say, the equinoxes) to keep things neat and tidy.
3 Invest in a label maker.
Besides being surprisingly fun, making labels can help you in your quest to conquer clutter. If you label drawers and storage containers with the names of the items or categories of stuff that goes there, then you’ll be more likely to keep putting the right things in their right place, making for a more organized home.
4 Go for groupings.
Another bonus of the label maker: it’s the perfect time to corral clutter into specific groups. Grouping similar items into separate cubbies or shelves helps with chaos control, and allows to you easily see when you have duplicates, so you don’t end up doubling and tripling your stock of unnecessary goods.
5 Be ruthless with lone socks.
It may seem like a trivial thing, but that pile of mismatched socks you have by your dresser isn’t going to get any smaller, so start trashing it. If you haven’t found the mate of a mismatched sock after six months, it’s time to say goodbye. Hopefully, it’ll meet its mate in the alternate missing sock dimension.
6 Put up hooks.
Jackets and hoodies can quickly start to pile up by the door, especially when the weather gets chilly. But instead of draping them on the banister or over the couch, add a few hooks to a wall in your entryway so they have a quick and easy home that won’t make them look like a messy lump.
7 Trash any manuals.
Whenever you bring in a new appliance or electronic device, they usually come with a thick product manual that you dutifully file away for future troubleshooting. Go gather them all up and trash them. These days, you can find any info you need for any product at any time on the internet now.
8 Cut down on duplicates.
Have four spatulas hanging out in your kitchen drawer? What about three peelers? Or about 300 USB cables in the junk drawer? Toss all duplicate items, especially any you haven’t used in six months, they are just making more clutter and adding to the chaos.
9 Toss out old meds.
This is an easy way to help you get started on clutter control, just hit up your medicine cabinet and pull out all expired medications or prescriptions. If the date is past, put it in a bag and drop them off at your local pharmacy—no excuses, no delays.
10 Stick to one room.
It’s easy to tell yourself it’s time to clean out the clutter in a room, but once you start going through stuff, it’s inevitable that you’ll find something you want to keep. Thing is, it goes somewhere else, in a different room. (Maybe it’s a stray towel that belongs in the bathroom, or a pair of shoes that should go in the foyer.) But then you leave and head to that room and your cleaning gets derailed. Instead, just put a container by the door of the room you’re tidying and drop out-of-place objects there.
11 Bring on the baskets.
Clearing out unneeded junk is important for calmness and clarity, but you’re still going to be saddled with a bunch of unsightly objects like remotes and magazines and blankets. Instead of attempting to totally hide them away, pick up some cool baskets or boxes that are easily accessible in main rooms but still conceal essential clutter.
12 Declutter, then organize.
Don’t fall into the trap of buying organizational items like containers or hangers before embarking on a serious attempt at killing clutter. If you splurge on those things before you even make piles of stuff to save or get rid of, you’re just adding to the clutter. Plus, you won’t know what kind of organizational products you’ll need.
13 Keep surfaces clear.
If you start to abide by the maxim to keep every surface clear of stuff, it will massively help in the battle to reduce clutter. Just don’t fall into the trap of stuffing magazine and receipts and other papers into a drawer or desk. Throw them away or, if they’re important, digitize them by scanning and then tossing them.
14 Don’t get overwhelmed.
If you find yourself halfway into a serious clutter control session you get overwhelmed and want to quit, just remember that it took you years to accumulate all of this junk and it’s going to take more than a day to deal with it. Take a breath, take a break, and make a plan to get back to it tomorrow. It takes time to properly conquer clutter.
15 Put limits on pillows.
Sure, you may love a good throw pillow or stylish bolster or two on the bed, but a pillow-laden bed is just another form of clutter, no matter how decorous things may look. Plus, dealing with all that extra bedding even takes time out of your morning and night, so go for a minimal amount, like three.
16 Cull your magazine library.
It’s nice to have a healthy mound of cool and interesting magazines hanging around the living room or by the bed, but you should take the time, once a quarter, to go through them and recycle the old ones. If an issue has a good article or recipe you want, cut it out or take a pic and look for its duplicate online.
17 Start small.
Once you make the determination to go for a purge, head for a small spot to get started—the medicine cabinet or the makeup drawer or the bookshelf. This way, you’ll see results quickly and it’ll motivate you to move on to bigger and bigger spaces.
18 Obscure items.
Having clear containers for foodstuffs is good, because grains and legumes generally look cool in such jars. But don’t go for see-through containers or bins for your other, less attractive items. Clutter that’s organized but can still be seen is still technically a mess and not a soothing sight.
19 Take up tidying time.
Once you do a few big purges and feel like you’re back in control, schedule a time at the end of each week, or even each day, to clean up and get things in their place—the garbage, the garage, the guest room. When you make it a consistent habit, you won’t get overwhelmed by a mound of growing junk a few times a year.
20 Throw out take-out trash.
When you frequent fast food spots or take-out joints, you usually come home with some plastic silverware and a pile of condiments. Sure, maybe you could use them someday, on a picnic or at work. It’s a noble notion—but also a line of thinking you should halt, immediately. All such item do is add clutter to your space. Toss them immediately, double back through your drawers, and trash any stragglers.
21 Purge your spice rack.
We all have spices that have been around forever. Every time that dusty jar of ground coriander rolls around, it comes with a requisite crack about how it dates back to college days. Yeah, you see where this is going: tossing old, crumbly spices is another easy way to declutter. A good rule of thumb: put any that are older than three years straight into the garbage.
22 Find and fill spaces.
To kick off a cleaning spree, look for a bunch of things that are out of place or scattered about and then start putting them back into place like a bookshelf, a DVD stand, a magazine rack, or whatever. The sense of satisfaction that comes from putting like with like can motivate you to do more.
23 Become a curator.
Think of your home as a fine museum or showplace, and start to cultivate objects that are beautiful, necessary, and meaningful once you perform a huge purge of junk. You don’t have to go to a minimalist extreme, but be selective about what you bring in and buy. Keep it neat and nice.
24 Utilize vertical spaces.
For more storage options, don’t forget to maximize your vertical areas like hanging hooks on the backs of doors and walls by main doors or adding storage solutions like shelving and multi-prong hooks or big racks in closets. These will get stuff off of the floor and make items more accessible.
25 Make choices.
Someone once said that clutter is really just a bunch of decisions that you’ve put off making. Unless you’re a bona fide hoarder, most of the junk hanging around without a place to go is just crying out for a decision. Make the choice for the item (and yourself): keep it, or trash it. It’s as simple as that.
26 Cull containers
Clutter clean-out time is a great way to redo your food storage situation. Pull them all out and then try to match containers with lids—any that are missing, toss them. And if you have warped, yellowed, or cracking containers, trash those too.
27 Get honest with yourself.
A lot of clutter accumulation is about filling a void or distracting yourself from other problems. Short of seeing a therapist, get honest with your needs. Ask yourself: what items would you replace if your home burned down? Make tough choices and build a new, cleaner home from those realizations.
28 Toss old tech.
Delve into that drawer or container that holds cables and power cords and USB drives and hard drives. You’re never going to use 90 percent of that digital cruft again, because technology updates so quickly these days, so take it all to a recycling center and say your farewells.
29 Take a photo.
If you have some super sentimental things but are scared to let them go, take a picture of them and save that instead. It can be anything from a practically-useless-but-emotionally-treasured gift, an old battered punk T-shirt from college, or even your first iPod; save the memory with a photo and then let it go.
30 Use the four box method.
The three box method—one for keeping, one for donating, and one for tossing—is a popular decluttering technique. But we swear by the four box method. It’ll add some clarity. Here’s how it works: one box for keeping (stuff you need and use), one box for selling or donating (items that are no longer needed that could benefit someone else or put a little money in your pocket), one box for storing (seasonal or sentimental stuff you just can’t part with yet, only used if you have the storage space), and one box for tossing (junk and broken stuff that has no place in your new, clutter-free life).
31 Move out makeup.
Another easy one to help you get on the de-cluttering train, going through and trashing old and expired makeup can be cathartic. Even those it’s expensive and easy to collect, expired makeup can actually cause allergic reactions and even may hold nasty bugs.
32 Get clear containers.
When you bring home bulk goods like cereal and rice, dump them into a variety of clear containers you can find at most home or container stores. This way, you’ll be able to see what dry foods you have and how much you have of them, making it easier to know when to buy and not go overboard with duplicate items.
33 Make an in-and-out promise.
To limit the build-up of junk and duplicate items in your home, make a hard and fast “in and out” rule. This simply means that for whatever item you bring into the home—sweater, bowling ball, throw pillow, hammer—if you already have one version of it, you have to get rid of the older model. Sorry, we don’t make the rules; we just report them. And for more genius tricks that’ll have everything in your life tidied up, here are 65 Genius Ways to Organize Your Life.
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Five Ways to Declutter Fast
It Helps to Understand Clutter
Concerns about where to start an organizing project keep many from ever starting. If you don’t start, it will get worse over time. Learning the Real Cost of Clutter will put you in the right frame of mind. Let me reassure you, it doesn’t matter where you start. Just pick a room. I like to start at the room that is bothering you the most.
It might help to define clutter in the first place. Clutter is Unmade Decisions. Get started with the five steps below and practice making decisions. As you get better at decisions, less clutter will happen. It’s all connected.
Get Started – A Room at a Time
I have a few tricks to organize the typical clutter in certain rooms (they can happen anywhere though). Lessen the overwhelm by doing these things first. Then you can then approach the project from a motivated place.
How to Declutter Fast – Quick and Easy Steps
1. Toss the Trash
In every area you organize, start by tossing the obvious trash. Look for packaging and the broken bits first. Get them out of the way. Expired coupons, empty used envelopes, bottles, and dried up glue can also go. We are looking for less volume of stuff here. The physical space that trash takes up hinders your ability to make good decisions about the rest of it. Reducing the volume of stuff first will help the end result last.
2. Move Non-Kitchen Items Out of the Kitchen
Everything ends up in the kitchen! Before you start arranging the stuff in the cabinets, get non-kitchen items out of your way. Create a pile of stuff that belongs in another room. Next, subdivide the pile by room. For example, all the toys go in the kids room pile, and the tools go in the garage pile.
Now that you have your piles, make the trips to the other rooms with the appropriate stuff in your hands. Leave it there, even if it doesn’t have an official home yet.
3. Tidy Reading Material in the Living Room
Reading material tends to pile up in the living room. While you look for the TV remote, magazines and newspapers get scattered and scooted out of the way. They end up bent, spilled on, dusty and outdated. In other words, it becomes overwhelming and unpleasant to work on.
Minimize that unpleasantness by squaring up paper piles and reading materials. A heap looks like twice as much clutter as it actually is. A neat pile of magazines looks like it is supposed to be there. A heap looks like you dropped it and never came back to fix it.
- For more quick living room tips read, Simplify Any Room for Easy Living.
4. Organize the Bathroom One Drawer at a Time
Eliminated most of the overwhelm in the bathroom by working on one drawer and shelf at a time. Quickly toss all unused open items. Also, toss expired medications. Yes, I know that some of those pills are technically still effective. However, this is a decluttering exercise. Now with a bit of clear space you can focus on turning your bathroom into a wonderful relaxing place to perform you absolutions.
- Here’s How to Dispose of Expired Medications.
- For all the steps Simplify Your Bathroom will help.
5. Let Go of Unused Items in Your Home Office
Your home office is notorious for harboring lots of clutter. I’ve seen it before. Now is the time to let go of items that are not complete enough to work. Start with that stuff you have kept until you get, find or buy the part that will make it useful. Because, you haven’t used it in the meantime, you have just felt bad about it and that’s not fun.
Don’t know what that cord goes to? Think you need that one part because someday something might happen? Think again. What to do Boxes and Cords will set you straight.
You Now You Have a System to Declutter Your Home
Did you notice the consistent theme through all the tips? Start with the obvious, decrease the volume, then, focus on what’s left one area at a time. Let Go of Unintended Clutter will give you some more good stuff to lighten your load.
#9 The children’s artwork
Perhaps your children love drawing and colouring. Find a place to store the artwork that they’ve created that week. At the end of the week, ask them (or choose yourself) which ones are their best and which they want to keep. Take a photo of that artwork and save it on your computer. Throw away the actual artwork. Explain to your kids in a way that’s appropriate to their age and understanding that you can’t keep every physical thing they create but you can keep a digital copy of it. If you need more help then check out this post on how to declutter your kids’ artwork.
#10 The hallway
Shoes, coats, bags, hats, scarves, footballs, incoming post, keys, letters from the school… all these things tend to get dumped in the hallway as you come in and out of the front door unless you can find a more organised and suitable home for them. Think about how your hallway is used and the sorts of stuff that accumulates there. Do you need boxes for shoes, hooks for coats, shelving or cupboards for bags, a bowl or hooks for keys? Find a way of using the space available and giving everything a home. Teach your family to put and keep everything in its place.
#11 Your garage or loft
Often the dumping ground for random stuff, stuff that we don’t want to throw away, to keep just in case we need it, not for now but maybe a different season, stuff that we don’t want cluttering up our house and we can’t, won’t or don’t want to throw away. Choose just a corner of the garage or loft to sort, not the whole space. Set your timer for 5, 10, or 30 minutes. Think long and hard the last time you used each item. If you got rid of it only to find you needed it, would it really be expensive to replace? Be ruthless, yet practical. Put the stuff into 3 piles – keep, donate, throw away. When the timer goes off, stop. Take the donation pile to the charity shop, and the throw away pile in the rubbish. Do another clear out session in a week’s time (set it in your calendar) and watch the clutter reduce!
#12 Cupboards throughout the house
Look through the cupboards in your house. Can you remember what’s in there or are they a dumping ground for stuff that you don’t know what to do with?! Choose one cupboard at a time, pull everything out and work through it consistently with the keep/donate/throw away piles. Find a proper home for the stuff you want to keep and immediately deal with the other two piles so these don’t end up getting left out and contributing to the clutter.
#13 Your jewellery
Sort through your jewellery, keep the items you love, donate/throw away the rest. Give it all a clean and put it back neat and organised.
#14 The kitchen work surface
Remove all the items, clean it thoroughly and only put back what you absolutely must have there. Find a new home/donate/throw away everything else.
#15 Your bedside table
The surface and drawers shouldn’t be a dumping ground for random stuff. Only have what you need for the night and first thing in the morning, for example, a light, an alarm clock/your phone, a book, notepad and pen. Get rid of the rest as it will distract you from a calming bedtime and good night’s sleep.
#16 Outdoor coats and shoes
Go through all of this and, in the case of your kids, make sure they still fit. Donate/throw away the rest. Work out which coats, if any, you need out for the particular season you are in and store the rest. For example, you don’t need a lightweight summer mac on your coat rack in mid winter.
#17 Your children’s books
Either with or without your kids, sort through the books, donate the ones you don’t read anymore, throw away the tattered ones and keep the rest in a nice bookcase or on a shelf.
#18 The linen cupboard
Take everything out and sort into piles. Bath towels, hand towels, pillow cases, sheets and duvet covers for your bed, for the children’s room and any guests that might stay. Be ruthless with items that are threadbare or have holes. Put back into the cupboard only enough of each item that you’ll think you need depending on the size of your household. Keeping up with a regular laundry routine will usually mean you need less towels, sheets etc. You can always keep a few sheets/towels back for the dog or as rags if you would like.
#19 A drawer of your choice
Pick any drawer around the house and empty it completely. Sort into piles and throw away/donate anything that you don’t want to keep. Ask yourself whether you are really likely to ever use that item. Chances are that if you haven’t used it in the last 6-12 months then you’d probably forgotten it was there anyway. Only put back what should be kept in that drawer, make sure it’s neat and organised and re-home what’s left over.
#20 Plates, glasses and cutlery
Go through all the plates, glasses and cutlery in your kitchen. Work out how many of each you actually use, keep a few spares for visitors and in case of breakages and get rid of the rest. Keep on top of washing dirty dishes and you won’t need to reach into the cupboard for a new glass every time your child asks for a drink.
Decluttering your home can be a massive undertaking, one that sometimes feels too daunting to even attempt.
But like most things in life, the hardest part is getting started. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of no-fail decluttering tips from the experts — certified professional organizers with years of experience under their belts.
These expert tips will help you start clearing clutter so you can take control of your space in no time.
1. Before you declutter, visualize what you want your space to look like.
This step is key. Before you start tossing papers in trash bags or stuffing old sweaters in cardboard boxes because you just can’t stand it anymore, take a moment to consider your goal for the space.
Close your eyes and visualize your dream room (or dream closet). What does it look like? What will you use it for? Where is your stuff? How does the space make you feel?
Suzanne O’Donnell, My LA Organizer
Suzanne O’Donnell of Los Angeles-based My LA Organizer (pictured above) recommends focusing on the outcome of your decluttering efforts. “If you find a photo in a magazine or online and that photo gives you a sense of peace … translate that into your own space,” says O’Donnell.
Sharon Lowenheim (pictured below), the NYC-based certified professional organizer behind Organizing Goddess, adds that “the more specific you can make , the more motivated you will feel.”
Sharon Lowenheim, Organizing Goddess
2. Don’t bring any new items into your home until the decluttering process is complete.
Regina Lark, A Clear Path
Regina Lark, a certified professional organizer and founder of the LA-based organizing company A Clear Path, stresses the importance of waiting until after you’ve finished decluttering to bring new stuff into your space.
Because you have enough to deal with as it is.
3. Get mentally prepared.
Before you start decluttering, it’s important to understand that the process will take time. “Keep in mind that if the mess didn’t happen overnight, it won’t be fixed that quickly,” says Amy Trager, a Chicago-based certified professional organizer.
“Remind yourself that even baby steps in the right direction are still steps in the right direction. You’ll be that much closer to your end goal.”
4. Gather all the materials you’ll need.
Abbey Claire Keusch, Abbey Claire Professional Organizing
LA-based professional organizer Abbey Claire Keusch recommends keeping trash bags and donation bags on hand, as well as baskets to hold things that belong in another room.
Pro Tip: Live in NYC, Chicago, or DC and have old clothes you’d like to donate and other things you’d like to store?
Schedule a MakeSpace pickup. In addition to picking up, storing, and delivering your stuff back, we’ll also pick up your donation and bring it to a local Goodwill — at no extra charge.
MakeSpace offers free goodwill pickups for customers in NYC, Chicago, and DC.
5. Schedule your decluttering session on the calendar.
The experts all agree: The best way to ensure you’ll actually start decluttering is to schedule it on your calendar. Pick a time frame that works best for you, but don’t worry about blocking off a full day for the job.
Lowenheim advises choosing a small chunk of time, whether it’s 15 minutes or three hours, and really going for it. Set a timer if you need to.
Bonus Tip: You can also do what NYC-based professional organizer Anna Bauer recommends and use a to-do list app like Wunderlist to track everything and assign some tasks to your significant other, friends, or family.
6. Start with the space that bothers you the most.
This image is self-explanatory.
It doesn’t matter if you begin with your bedroom closet, garage, kitchen, or junk drawer. What does matter, according to the expert organizers, is that you start with the part of your home that’s causing you the most stress or anxiety.
Or as Trager puts it: “Whichever space makes you want to slam the door shut and run away.”
Tackling your biggest problem first will make you feel more motivated to continue, says Lowenheim.
Another good method?
Starting with the area that will impact your daily life the most, according to Trager.
7. Then start with what you can see.
Now that you’ve pinpointed your problem area, Keusch recommends easing into the decluttering process by starting with what you can see.
That means visible surfaces like desktops, tops of dressers and tables, or floor space. Once you’ve cleared the clutter from those areas, you can dive into your drawers and cabinets.
That being said …
8. Don’t forget to focus on the big stuff, too.
Don’t get so caught up in sorting the tiny tchotchkes that litter your bookshelves that you forget to notice the big items creating chaos in your space.
O’Donnell says the placement of furniture in a space (including your coffee table, sofa, bed, and shelves) can often contribute to visual clutter and make it more difficult to stay organized in the long term.
“If you have too much furniture in a room or there are large toys that haven’t been used in a long time, move those items out first. Reorganize the space and this will invariably motivate you to keep going.”
Plus, clutter ruins your sleep. And who wants that? No one.
9. Tackle one item at a time.
Monica Friel, Chaos to Order
Monica Friel, President and founder of Chicago-based professional organizer company Chaos to Order, advises going through one thing at a time.
“Clutter amounts to postponed decisions,” says Friel. So start making those decisions one T-shirt, magazine, or scrap of paper at a time and progress will happen quickly.
10. Ask yourself the right questions.
We all know the one question to ask yourself when following Marie Kondo’s KonMari method of decluttering:
“Does this spark joy?”
But the joy method, while effective for most, has its downfalls. “In my experience, that question can be a trap for most folks,” says O’Donnell.
After all, it’s easy to justify why the random cat mug you found in the back recesses of your closet makes you happy, even though you haven’t used it in years.
Lowenheim resorts to a simple, effective motto to determine what items to keep or toss:
“Use it, love it, or lose it.”
Do you use it regularly?
Do you love it, or does it enhance your life in some way (like artwork, photographs, or souvenirs)?
“If the answer to all these questions is no, then consider letting go of the item,” Lowenheim says.
11. Remember your vision and stick to it.
so you can easily declutter your home — fast.
Lark recommends reminding yourself of your vision and hope for your space throughout the decluttering process.
When you’re struggling to decide what to do with your stuff, Lark suggests boiling it down to these two questions:
- What’s in your space right now that will help you achieve your vision?
- What’s in your space right now that will detract from your vision?
If the above questions aren’t enough and you’re still not sure what to keep, store, or toss, don’t worry. Our easy-to-follow decluttering flowchart will help you decide once and for all.
12. Use mantras to keep you going when the decluttering gets hard.
When the decision fatigue sets in and you want to collapse in the pile of too-small summer dresses on your floor, or you can’t seem to let go of the pencil box you think you might need someday, use a mantra.
Friel likes this one: “Your desk is a work surface, not a storage area.”
Like this decluttering mantra? .
Your nightstand is home to your lamp and a couple books. It’s not a medicine cabinet.
Your bed is a space for sleeping, not a dirty clothes hamper.
Get the idea?
Here’s another effective mantra for when you need to remind yourself why you’re decluttering in the first place:
“If you keep too much, you can’t find what’s really important,” says Friel.
13. Turn sentimental items into stories.
Sentimental items are among the most difficult to part with, but Friel has a simple strategy that can ease some of your pain and guilt.
She recommends taking a picture of the sentimental item in question and writing a short story about its history and significance. Having the memory of the item, plus a heartfelt written account of its importance, is much more valuable than keeping something you never use or don’t have space for.
After all, “the giver of those items wouldn’t want them to be weighing you down,” says Friel.
14. Give everything a home.
O’Donnell says it’s crucial to find a designated space for every item you own, which is one of the key steps in organizing your home.
If you can’t find a proper home for an item, keep paring down your stuff like MicroGreens founder and MakeSpace customer, Ali Sosna, until you can.
What MicroGreens founder Alli Sosna doesn’t need in her apartment, she pares down and then effortlessly stores the rest in MakeSpace.
15. Ask for help from a professional.
MakeSpace will pick up, store, and deliver your stuff so you never have to visit a self-storage unit.
If all else fails, Lowenheim recommends reaching out to a professional organizer for guidance. Having an expert coach you through the decluttering and organizing process can make a world of difference.
And when you figure out what items you’d like to store, schedule a MakeSpace pickup.
We’ll pick up your stuff, store it in our secure and temperature-controlled storage facility, and create an online photo catalog so you always remember what you have in storage.
The best part?
When you need something back, you can simply click the item’s photo and we’ll deliver it to you.
so you can effortlessly store your stuff, see what you have in storage, and get anything delivered back in just a few taps.
For more tips on decluttering your home, read this article. It reveals top decluttering tips from NYC-based professional organizer Natalie Schrier.
This article was written by Paige Smith, a freelance writer from Orange County, California who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics.
Are you ready to get your Spring/Summer Cleaning on and get organized? There are several ways to declutter and have everything just where you want it. Maybe some of these 10 Ideas to Declutter your Home will inspire you to get started on your own house!
10 Ideas to Declutter Your Home:
1. Organize the Kitchen.
Clean out that pantry and use containers with labels for a consistent look. Do the same for spices and invest in a lazy susan as well.
2. Add pull out drawers to regular cabinets for those big pots and pans.
They work great for small appliances as well, to keep them off the counter top.
3. Bathrooms are very busy rooms.
Invest in beautiful shelving for items on the walls instead of shoving them on countertops or corners.
4. Get rid of what you don’t use, and what you don’t need.
A magnet board is a great way to store makeup and give you more drawer space.
5. Organize your closets.
Your bedroom is supposed to be the place where you wind down and relax for the night. Don’t let it overflow with clothing items and shoes. The closets should be the place for those things and one way to keep your room decluttered is to get that closet organized! Don’t be afraid to purge and get rid of things you have not worn in a year or more. Or if it is too small for you or out of style, get rid of it.
6. Declutter the space where you work, if it is inside the home.
Even if it is just a small craft area. Being able to know where everything is and the ease of finding it can help productivity.
7. Discard unused items.
Having piles of papers and pieces of mail surely can’t help you function successfully. Throw out papers that you do not need, shred the ones that have important information on them, and set up an organization board for bills and other important paperwork. An organization board is a great way to do this, and also a space to leave notes for family members, or write down dates that need to be reminded about.
8. Organize your laundry room.
Regardless of how big your laundry room is, it should be what it is, a place to clean your clothes. Use shelving for laundry soaps and stain removers, and baskets for dirty clothes. Some people have baskets for each member of the family for ease of putting clean clothes away. Do what works for your family.
9. Tidy up the garage.
When it comes to the garage, it is easy to just throw things in there and forget about it. It should be a place to park the cars and store lawn equipment. Make space for tools with a pegboard wall and toolboxes and shelves for the sports equipment. For everything you truly do not need, have a garage sale or consider donating to charity.
10. Have a place for all those toys.
Do you feel like some spaces are overflowing with kids’ toys? There are lots of ways to handle all that toy clutter. Get rid of toys that the kids do not play with any more and store the ones they do, with easy access to them- such as toy boxes, shelves, or bins!
There are so many ways to reduce clutter in your home and get organized. I hope these 10 Steps to Declutter Your Home has inspired you with your Spring cleaning!
If you need organization ideas for the laundry room, check out our Laundry Room Organization Ideas + Hacks post.
If you need organization ideas for the bathroom, check out our Bathroom Organization Ideas + Hacks post.
For more organization ideas in the home- There’s our Home Organization Ideas post.