Most of us aren’t experts when it comes to getting rid of clutter and organizing our homes. Unfortunately, it’s common to get about halfway or even completely through the job, only to discover we’ve gone about things in a poorly devised manner. Believe me, I’ve done it plenty of times! Perhaps you discover the process is taking much longer than you thought, and you end up with things strewn about the room for weeks because you simply don’t have the time to get back to the job. That’s just one common example of why so many of us avoid this stressful process. However, knowing what not to do when deciding to declutter can help to ensure you don’t end up with such frustration.
Don’t Overdo It
As already mentioned, it’s unwise to get overzealous. Thinking you will sort through an entire houseful of possessions in one day is unrealistic. Doing this may even cause you enough frustration to give up on the project entirely. Avoid burnout by setting aside a smaller time frame to complete one room or area.
Don’t Organize Before Purging
Part of the process of decluttering your home is organizing everything in a neat and tidy way. That’s great, but first you need to purge your home of all those things that are just taking up space. Often times, people want to skip to the fun part. So they go out and buy a bunch of pretty containers, bins and storage boxes for organizing all their stuff. This strategy is usually a waste of money and time because it’s impossible to understand your storage needs until you’re able to assess your remaining possessions after the purging process.
Don’t Do Only Half the Job
A big mistake made by many is setting items for the church rummage sale or for thrift store donation aside to be delivered another day. You may think it makes sense to leave that bag of sweaters intended for Aunt Pam sitting in your closet until you see her next. In reality, all of these things simply leave your decluttering project looking unfinished. Take the extra effort to remove all unwanted items from your home immediately.
Don’t Reward Yourself with More Stuff
Finally, no matter how much you may be tempted, never go out and reward yourself for all of your hard decluttering work by purchasing a new item. This mistake simply continues the cycle of the bad habits that led to your clutter problem in the first place. An exception to this rule may be the decision to buy a new armoire or other piece of storage furniture to replace one you just gave away, as this move doesn’t add clutter. It improves aesthetics.
Avoid these common decluttering mistakes, and you’ll be well on your way to an organized, comfortable space. Reward yourself with a nice cup of tea or coffee while enjoying your beautiful surroundings.
If you’ve been procrastinating on a making your home clutter-free, chances are the reason behind your hesitation is feeling overwhelmed or just not knowing where to start. Those things can trip anyone up on the road to organization. When you find yourself stuck in a pattern of avoidance, the best method to change that pattern is to start with small tasks. Even doing just one little thing is progress. To help you along your way, consider one of these dozen tiny decluttering steps you can take today.
- Clear Just One Surface
Clear your kitchen table. If that’s too overwhelming, choose a segment of your countertop. Make it a surface you see daily, and be sure to keep it spotless.
- Empty a Shelf
Now that you have a surface cleared that you will see every day to provide you motivation, you can move on to another small task. Empty just one shelf. Remember to continue to keep it neat.
- Designate a Paper Zone
Nothing accumulates and gets out of control like papers. Designate an area as a catchall for your paperwork, and always place new papers in that ray or box.
- Find Homes for 5 Things
We all have a few items that never seem to get put away. Carefully choose your five most commonly left-out items, and find special places to store them.
- Donate Three Pieces of Clothing
Clothes are often the worst to declutter. Choose just three pieces to give away each day while getting ready. Soon you’ll have a bag full.
- Dump One Drawer
Pick just one drawer in your home to declutter. Then dump it out. This lets you see everything at a glance and makes the sorting process easier.
- Organize Your Medicines
Medicine, bandages and other health supplies should be kept together. Tackle just your medicine cabinet, creating a neat and tidy place to keep the up-to-date items you use most regularly.
- Create a Simple File System
Remember that paper zone? Soon it will overflow. Designate just a few file folders to hold your most common categories of paperwork. Then sort through the documents in your tray to file them quickly in their place.
- Take That Bin to the Car
Once you have a few tiny tasks underway, you’ll likely end up with a sizeable amount of stuff to donate. Take the bag or box out to your car to deliver to the thrift shop. See how easy it is to get rid of stuff?
- Picture Your Finished Room
These small decluttering tasks are adding up. Take a look around and picture how your room might look when completely pared down and organized. Visualization is a powerful motivator.
Taking small decluttering steps is easy. Soon you’ll be on your way to big life changes.
Decluttering is a dreaded, but unavoidable, task. There are a variety of ways to approach the process, but sometimes you just want to get this unappealing job done as quickly as possible. If that’s how you feel, you’ll want to read on to discover tips on how to get rid of an entire room of clutter in one afternoon.
Gather Your Tools
You’ll need some tools to make this job easier. Be sure to have large garbage bags for trash and recycle. Get some baskets to hold things you plan to keep or sort and cardboard boxes for donations. You’ll also need post-it notes and a marker for labeling. Finally, a timer will keep you on track. Set aside a large space for sorting; this can be on a bed, a card table or just the middle of the floor.
Label Your Baskets
Use the post-its and marker to label your baskets. You’ll want one for Keep, one for Action Needed (for repairs, returning to friends, etc.), one for Sell and one for Move (to another room). You may also wish to label your boxes if you plan to donate to separate places, but this isn’t always necessary.
Make a Game Plan
Strategize the manner in which you plan to tackle the room. Always go in a single direction, focus on one shelf or drawer and commit to never returning to an area you’ve already hit. You may wish to start with the back of the room and work from left to right, then toward the door. Or you could begin at side of the room, moving steadily across to the other side. Just have a plan.
Remove the Big Stuff First
Before you get down to the nitty gritty of emptying drawers or clearing shelves, it makes sense to get rid of any large items of clutter you can. Set a timer for 15 minutes enlist a friend to help carry and start moving any big stuff you plan to get rid of in some way. Stuff like furniture falls into this category. Take another 15-minute sweep if need be.
Next Comes the Medium Stuff
If you’ve gotten some big things out of the room, you probably now have more space for sorting. Medium-sized items come next in this decluttering process. Simply repeat the same steps you took for the large items, except you will put these items in their designated containers instead of removing them from the room completely.
Now the Small Stuff
Once again, repeat the process with the small pieces of clutter. This is likely where you’ll need your sorting space like the bed or card table. Handling the smaller items might take longer due to the sorting process, so feel free to set your timer a few extra rounds.
Even with the most cluttered room, this process shouldn’t take more than a day to complete. Be firm with yourself when it comes to deciding what to discard. Keep only what enhances your life. If necessary, come back the next day to organize. The important part is removing what is no longer needed.
Deciding what to get rid of is one of the toughest parts of decluttering. It’s natural to develop a certain attachment to your possessions, and it can seem wasteful to give away something you’ve hardly used. Believe it or not, there are some things that really aren’t that difficult to part with. Start with this list of 50 easy items to toss on your decluttering journey, and you’ll soon be paring down like a pro.
- Junk mail
- Broken or ugly jewelry
- Old Calendars
- Duplicates of anything
- Nearly empty perfume bottles
- Old makeup
- Outgrown toys or games
- Holey socks
- Boxes from electronics or small appliances
- Unused paint
- Kids’ clothes that no longer fit
- Non-perishable food items you haven’t eaten
- Excess shopping bags
- Outdated holiday ornaments
- Broken laptops or devices you’ve been meaning to fix
- Unused blankets
- Old trophies or memorabilia you no longer value
- That collection of buttons you never sewed back on
- Unnecessary receipts
- Unused or old spices
- Accessories for hobbies you no longer pursue
- Frozen foods past their use by dates
- Stretched-out undergarments
- Vacation souvenirs you never look at
- Purses long out of style
- Instruction manuals for things you no longer own
- Last year’s calendar
- Craft supplies for projects never begun or completed
- Pens that don’t work
- Beauty products that don’t suit you
- Stuff that’s been in your junk drawer forever
- The clutter at the bottom of your purse
- Pantyhose or tights with runs
- Gift you never liked in the first place
- Anything you forgot you even had
- Pet supplies from animals that have long passed
- Chipped dishware or cookware
- Home decor that no longer fits your personality
- Earrings without a mate
- Games with missing pieces
- Old magazines
- Books you’ve read once or will likely never read
- Expired medicines
- Electronics chargers without a device
- Excess or mismatched glassware
- Toys from fast-food children’s meals
- Videos you no longer watch (anything VHS not a collector’s item)
- Kitchen gadgets you don’t use (sandwich press, ice cream maker, etc.)
- Scraps of or faded wrapping paper
- Swimwear with snags
See? There are lots of things you can discard or donate easily with little stress. Go give it a try, yourself, and see how your motivation increases when it comes to ditching your old stuff. You’ll be making a dent in that clutter before you know it!
If you’ve moved to a different residence a time or two in your life, you are probably familiar with how easy it is to accumulate stuff. It’s common for people to say they will never again have so much clutter, only to find themselves in the same position a few years down the line when they’re ready to move again. It can be incredibly frustrating to feel closed-in by your clutter. You know that downsizing some of your items and organizing things a bit can lead to a more comfortable, less stressful home. Don’t forget that you can actually gain quite a bit of cash during this process, as well. Selling the things you no longer use can add up to a pretty penny if you know how to do it strategically. Read on to learn some ways to gain both comfort and cash when you declutter your home.
Start With the Storage Areas
Where do you keep most of the things you own, but no longer use? Yep, it’s all in the basement, attic, garage, shed, storage unit or closet. It doesn’t matter where you store your clutter, what matters is the bounty you can find there. Storage bins are also treasure troves of long-forgotten items that may hold some value. Set aside the things you no longer use, but that might fetch a decent price.
Check Out the Kitchen
Dig through your cupboards to see what kinds of finds are hiding in there. Look particularly closely at the bottom cupboards and in the back to discover those gadgets or pieces that may not have been all that handy for you, but that a serious baker or collector would love.
Sort Through Your Clothing
Clothes can be worth quite a bit of money if they’re in good shape and are a coveted brand name. Even items without designer labels can add up to a bit of cash if you have a lot to sell. Places like consignment shops, online swap sites, or even yard sales are suitable for selling clothing. Again, eBay and Craigslist are also options, but they could be more time consuming.
Gather Your Gadgets
Old electronic devices can often maintain their value. You’d be surprised what you can get from even broken gadgets that others can use for parts. Gather up your unused or broken electronics, and then do a little research to see what they’re going for. Amazon and eBay have programs that pay cash for electronic devices or you can market them to individual sellers on the sites. A Google search can lead you to other sites that buy these things. Be sure to take time to compare so you get the highest payout possible.
Selling your old stuff for cash really isn’t as intimidating as it may seem, and it’s frequently worth your time. You’ll be thrilled when you have the cash in your pocket and a clutter-free home, as well.