Welcome to my 'How to Declutter Your Home' post!
First of all, I must congratulate you for taking the time to do your research on this topic. Decluttering your home can promote your well-being, health, and productivity. Remember... less is more!
As a qualified teacher, I am passionate about education and the impact it can have on bettering our future. It is down to us individuals to do our research and make small changes to the way we live our lives.
These small changes are easy to make and can have a big impact on our health, the health of our family, and our environment. This website is designed for everyday people looking to make these changes. Here you will learn a legitimate way to GO GREEN!
Let me be completely transparent with you, I am not here to pitch or sell anything to you. I am here to reveal and to assist you on your journey of going green!
Clutter-free is Healthy...
Picture a home where every surface, nook, and cranny is piled-up or filled to the brim with stuff. Now picture trying to clean these surfaces. A space like his takes a long time to clean and this can be demotivating.
A clutter-free space is a healthy space. Now picture a home where there are only essential items on a surface. For example a desk with a laptop, pen pot, and paper organizer. This space is going to be much easier to clean and you will be more likely to do it.
Not only will you be more likely to clean a clutter-free space but your cleaning will be more effective. When cleaning a cluttered space most people will clean around items because moving them all takes far too long. It would be simple to move the laptop, pen pot, and paper organizer.
This is just one example of how decluttering your home is healthier. There are many other ways that clutter can have negative impacts on your life:
- increases stress
- have negative impacts on your diet
- triggers respiratory issues
- threatens safety
- damage relationships
- increase chances of divorce
- makes you isolated
- effects your career
- decreases productivity
- is expensive and encourages debt
Clutter Vs Hoarding...
Clutter or hoarding? Hoarding is usually a mental condition; clutter is a simple matter of organization and sorting.
Hoarding may include things that are of no use to the hoarder except that he/she feels an emotional attachment to the items. Clutter, on the other hand, cannot be considered a result of laziness; it can simply be a lack of proper organizational skills.
I completed an extensive list that covers your most common questions about decluttering. From that, I pooled my research and personal experience together to create a list that should be helpful for anybody looking to declutter their home.
This checklist will cover the general items you need and prepare you for different tasks you need to complete to declutter the inside and outside your home.
How Did I Get so Much Stuff?
- Lack of storage space is the top reason why we accumulate clutter in the first place.
- When searching for a home, most people consider living space and storage is not necessarily a priority.
- The trash in the form of newspapers, year-old bills, invoices, old shoes, clothes that no longer fit, and many others are clutter culprits.
- Thrift/bargain shopping. Too often, we succumb to compulsive shopping just because there is a 70% off on jeans that do not fit us. We rationalize the purchase because it is "cheap" and "I will lose this weight next month". Goals can be good but not as an excuse to shop.
- Bulk buying. A tube of toothpaste is a good standby item but three tubes can be too much. Buy enough to use for a certain duration.
- New hobby clutter. Trying to learn something new can entail more clutter. When your daughter wants to learn how to figure skate, it is best to rent out first until the first month to know if she will stick to it. Don't buy fishing gear that you will not use in the next three years.
- Sentimental clutter. These are the most difficult ones to let go of when decluttering. Wedding gifts may still be in their boxes after years since the big day.
Where to Start...
Start with yourself. Often changing our mindset is the toughest challenge. Try to be optimistic and focus on the long term benefits. Stay open-minded and look forward to changing.
Be ready to let go of some of the things that were dear to you. Don't get too attached to things. Remember that instead of making life easier, this mindset makes life harder for you.
Which is the most cluttered living space in your house? Start there. Consider what each item does in your home. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I get from this item?
- How does it help to make my life better?
- Does it get in my way when cleaning?
Organizing takes time, effort, and money. At the very least you will need cleaning supplies and storage containers/boxes. This can be done cheaply by making your cleaning supplies and by recycling boxes or purchasing second-hand totes from your local thrift store. I also like to use selling apps. I found somebody giving away moving boxes for free once.
However, depending on the scale of your project, you may be considering replacing furniture and fixtures, or building storage units and in this case, you will need a more in-depth budgeting plan.
Whatever the size of your decluttering project, always consider the environment. Is there a way to reduce, reuse, or recycle. Is there something you already have that is not being used to its full capacity. Can you purchase up-cycled items to get the job done?
Come up with a workable schedule to declutter. This will guide you on what to prepare, buy, or schedule help from your family. Design your schedule to fit with everybody who will be helping.
You will achieve more with two people because it will be easier to move heavy furniture this way. It will also be more motivating when there is another person there, both keeping each other on task.
Identify the room that needs decluttering first. This will help you go through the motions smoothly. Focus on one room or space at a time because this will stop you from feeling overwhelmed and keep you focussed.
If one room is too big of a task, focus on one area at a time e.g. desk today, closet tomorrow. Give your self a realistic timeframe to work toward and stick to it.
Prepare the necessary tools and equipment.
- Storage for the items to donate and up-cycle
- Recycling bins
- Felt-tipped markers for marking the boxes
- Post-it notes or pieces of paper for the labels
- Sticky tapes, duct tapes, plastic twine
- Notebook and pen for a list of stored items
- Garbage bags for items that are broken or trash
- Vacuum cleaner, broom, and cleaning supplies
No, that you have a plan in order, and are well equipped for the task, consider the importance of looking after yourself. Take periodic rests. Stay hydrated. Reflect on what you have achieved. Keep your posture relaxed to avoid additional strain.
Choosing What to Keep...
Assign an "Emotion Box" for all the things you don't think you can't let go for now. Place a date on it. If you haven't missed anything in it during the entire year, throw it out or donate. The hardest thing to throw out is probably your spouse's stuff. Let them do it by making an "Emotion Box" for themself too.
The same goes for your kids. Children are renowned hoarders. They won't touch a toy for years until you say you are going to recycle it and all of a sudden it is their most treasured toy. This usually lasts ten minutes. Get them to create and emotion box too.
- Gifts and anything that evokes strong emotions tend to be hard to let go of
- Dispose of clothes, books, or trinkets not used in more than a year
- Donate books that are no longer read or used, unless it is a collector's item, of course.
- Get rid of dust hoarders - small figurines, trinkets, etc. If you can't get rid of them, store them in a glass-covered display rack.
- When your furniture is damaged and needs replacing, get rid of bulky furniture and replace with sleeker ones.
- Outdated gadgets will find new life in recycling centers. The same is true with old batteries, newspapers, magazines, bottles, etc.
- Put together a garage sale. This way you get rid of your unwanted stuff while earning from it. Categorize your stuff for easy organizing and access later. Donate anything left over to a local thrift store to be recycled.
Speed is Motivating...
The fastest way to declutter is to do it quickly. Don't linger on an item, thinking of how many years it had been in your care. Your state of mind will either help or inhibit your ability to declutter efficiently.
Follow your decluttering plan. Assign a few hours or a day to a room for a thorough scouring of unnecessary items. Take short breaks to rest and hydrate.
Using the right tools and equipment will improve your efficiency. Many people will pick up an old shirt that they are disposing of and think they might as well use it to clean the window. The answer is no.
Textile companies did years of research to make their fabric less prone to soiling and staining. A discarded shirt will only ensure you spend twice as long as completing your job. Get the proper cleaning rags, microfiber is a very good choice.
Choose natural cleaning supplies. Vinegar and baking soda are good natural cleaning supplies that will do minimal harm to the environment and can be used to clean most areas in the home. Learn what to avoid when looking for cleaning supplies and what could be a good alternative here.
Have your bins, crates, and boxes on hand so you can drop everything easily into the designated containers. I like to line them up as this improves my efficiency. When a box or crate is full, move it to the garage and replace it with an empty one. At the end of the day, tape up and label the full boxes all at once.
Maintenance Clutter-free Cleaning...
Don't Over Organize...
Have you noticed how we usually buy organizer kits to put away everything in their proper places? While it is good, it can also cause extra clutter.
My grandma was the only person I ever knew that was able to do this effectively. I think it worked because she lived on her own and was particular about putting things back into their place. This becomes difficult when you have lots of people living in one place.
Instead, throw makeup in an organizer bag or container but don't have a separate bag for eye makeup, lipstick, etc. I think you get the idea.
Reduce & Organize Your Mail...
So much of the world's resources are wasted daily through advertising and spam, which the majority pf people do not even read. You can stop receiving this by putting a small notice up on your mailbox.
You can contact the majority of your bill suppliers and request to switch to paperless communication. Instead of wasting paper every time you receive a bill, you will get an email sent directly to your inbox. This also reduces the chance of mail getting lost.
When you do receive some mail, take it out as soon as it arrives. Each person will have a different filing method. I like to have a filing cabinet for things I must keep. But first, they are placed in my to-do tray on my desk.
I go through this tray and my emails every morning. Completing tasks, organizing paperwork and emails, and recycling everything that I can. I keep a recycling bin and trash can in my office so I can drop them in as soon as possible.
Buy Clothes that Span Seasons...
The textile industry, also known as fast fashion, has devastating consequences for the environment and can easily clutter your living spaces.
Shop with companies that create sustainable textile products and choose neutral clothing that you can wear for many years. Vibrant patterns tend to go out of fashion fast.
Take seasons into consideration. A plain or small print sundress can be topped with a cardigan or jacket on the cooler days. If the climate where you are is very different in the winter and the summer, have winter and summer clothes. Switch them out in spring and autumn.
Replace old with New...
The most probable reason for buying a similar product is because you got tired of the other one, e.g. a denim jacket. Remove the least favorite denim jacket and leave the new one that you are going to wear.
Hold cloth swapping events with friends and family and donate the leftovers to your local thrift store.
Buy Essentials Only...
Stop to think before you buy something. Like your self, if this is something that you can live without.
Keep your hands off sales and promotions, whether personal care, home care, food items, or school and office supplies. Bulk buying usually ends up as clutter. If you are buying in bulk
Organize as You Go...
The most common reason people have clutter is because they allow it to build up in the first place. Start with an organized space and them work hard at returning everything to its own place after using it.
This way, you will be able to find items when you need them and eliminate scrambling and digging into other storage areas. Ae you sick and tired of your children asking you where something is? Have them get it and return it to where it lives so they know for next time.
Eliminate clutter by organizing things according to use. Winter clothes should go together, rain gear as well. It may sound a bit over the top, but it will reduce the time you spend looking for things when you need them.
Assign a Room for Crafts & Hobbies...
Crafts and hobbies are the most common culprit for clutter. Make this space user friendly by creating accessible storage. It is frustrating and time consuming to dig trough numerous boxes to find one particular item.
Designate a work space and keep this area clear so that it is ready to be used. In the past, I have avoided a hobby because there was too much stuff in the way. Make it inviting.
Maxamize Storage Spaces...
Where ever you have room for storage, ensure it is being used to its full potential. Do you have an empty garage that could have shelves added to it? When there is limited or no storage, these areas become prone to clutter because we have no space to put things and instead end up tossing them down.
Adding shelves and organizer boxes can help lessen the clutter in your living spaces while still able to locate the stored items.
Label any kind of storage will improve your efficiency when looking for it. Whether this is boxes, files, or shelves. Label them according to contents.
For files, stick a blank piece of cardboard or clear plastic on the side of the organizer so you can write on it as soon as you add a new item into the box. Dividers are particularly helpful when needing to find things fast.
Use Each Room for it's Purpose...
Another victim for clutter is either the bedroom or the kitchen. Books, gadgets, chargers, or food make their way into the bedroom or kitchen counters.
To solve this problem, limit the items that move from one area to another. For example, you can reserve one book for bedtime reading and return it as soon as you finish it.
Recipe books, an additional blender, or a new pan can seriously clutter a kitchen. Assign a shelf for recipe books and curb your desire to buy a new pan that is similar to the one you are currently using. If you are in a position when you are buying new pans, buy a set that stacks well and assign one cupboard for pans.
Adopt a Minimalist Design...
Adopt a minimalist design in your house. The less stuff in your home, the easier it will be to keep clean and this will effect your well-being.
When possible, use dual-purpose furniture like an ottoman that may double as a storage space.
How to Declutter Your Home: The Final Verdict!
I hope you're now ready to take the first step to declutter your home. While it can be emotionally stressful, a decluttered home will do you a lot of good in the long run.
There will be less to clean and tidy up, more living space to enjoy, and more time to spend time with your family. Aside from that, it is very healthy for the environment.
After you declutter, you will probably think twice when stocking up on unnecessary items. The less we buy, the fewer companies produce and this benefits the environment enormously.
Decluttering also lessens the amount of waste - less shopping bags, more recycling, and up-cycling. A clear home will result in a clearer and more environmentally friendly mind. This in itself would bring me some satisfaction. How about you?
If you have any questions or would like to leave a comment, please do so in the space below and I get get back to you soon. Thank you for reading.