I have been working on decluttering my home, big-time, for the last month. We have lived in this house for almost four years now, and the clutter is starting to accumulate again.
More clutter means more time cleaning and organizing, and I would just rather spend that time elsewhere. I sneak decluttering into my day, in the same way, I sneak in cleaning and tidying up.
A little bit here, a little bit there, and before you know it, you’ve got a whole room that has been decluttered, and the feeling is amazing! Here are the steps that I go through when I am decluttering.
1. One Room at a Time
I like to see the results of my effort, so I stick to one room at a time. I rarely get an entire room decluttered in just one day, I spread out the effort over a week or two.
But at the end of the decluttering in that one room, I end up with a room that is neat, organized, and best of all clutter-free. Once I have a clear win in one room, it motivates me to continue on through the house.
If you have a tough time with motivation, maybe pick the smallest room in your house. For me, this was the laundry room. I was able to get the laundry room decluttered and organized in just two days, spending about 15 minutes total each day.
I’m in the kitchen now, and I’ve already spent one week in there. The pantry is finished as are the spice cabinet and two cabinets that house dishes.
I still have several cabinets and my hutch left, but I am getting a little bit closer to a decluttered kitchen every day.
2. Do I Love It, Does It Bring Me Joy?
When I am considering what to keep and what to get rid of, the first question I ask myself is, do I love it, or does it bring me joy?
If the answer is no, meh, or maybe, I go ahead and donate it. If there is not definitive joy attached to an object, it is better to just let it go. If it is sitting around, cluttering up your space, then it is using up your precious time and energy.
Time spent cleaning the object, around and underneath the object is really not justified unless it is something that you absolutely love. Not to mention that a decluttered space is a more beautiful space.
3. Have I Used It In the Past Year?
If the object in question is not a nic-nac, but rather a tool or piece of clothing, ask yourself if you have used or worn it in the past year.
When I was decluttering the laundry room, there were several stain removers that I had tried and only used half of, because they just weren’t cutting the mustard. Instead of tossing them out, they sat on my shelf for over a year. Time to go!
In the kitchen, I came across several old Pampered Chef tools that were great, back in the day, but I haven’t used them in forever, and they were taking up valuable space! Time to go!
I came across four different scarves on my scarf holder that were no longer part of my signature wardrobe because the colors were all wrong. Time to go!
In my cookbook cabinet, I got rid of a ton of cookbooks! There is no reason to hold onto them if you NEVER use them. Time to go!
Today I’m tackling the basket that houses our to-go cups. It’s way too full. How many to-go cups does a family really need anyway? Even a family as large as mine doesn’t need a gigantic basket full! Time to go!
Get it Out Now!
When you are decluttering, always have a donations box ready and available. When I am not actively decluttering my house, I still have a bag or box set up in a closet where I can drop in items that I come across.
ABD= Always Be Decluttering
Once your decluttering bag or box is full, go ahead and take it out to your car so that the next time you pass a Goodwill or other charitable drop-off, you are ready.
It is not going to help you if you just keep your bags and boxes of clutter stacked up in your house, you need to get it out of the house, ASAP.
I always think to myself, “Oh! I could sell this on Ebay!” I have a rule for myself, though. If it won’t sell for at least $20, and if I don’t get it listed within a week, I need to just donate it.
Come up with your own parameters that make sense to you, but whatever you do, set parameters. Otherwise, you will end up with a box of clutter that you are going to sell “someday”, and more than likely, that day will never come.
The Flylady recommends that you have three separate boxes/bags when you are decluttering. One to donate, one to sell, and one to throw away.
The more you declutter your home, the more room you will have to breathe, and you will spend less time cleaning and organizing your stuff. Nothing beats a clear open space.
And nothing beats scanning your counters, tables, and cabinets and only seeing a few carefully selected objects that make you smile or that are truly useful and used.