How to Declutter Your Home (Without All the Stress)
Are you buried under more clutter than you know what to do with? But does the thought of actually decluttering your house make you want to grab the closest bottle of wine and push it off for another day?
Because let’s get real here — the more clutter you have chilling in your house the more time it’s going to take you to actually do something about it.
And there are a million better ways I could think to spend my evening (see above: that bottle of wine).
But here’s the thing…
All that stuff cluttering up your house is just weighing you down. And all the time you waste looking for stuff or helping your kids look for stuff is just exhausting.
And I get it. I’m a busy mom. I know how easily things can start to slip.
Life’s messy. Throw some kids into the mix and you never know what to expect.
Because of this, I look at home organization as more than just a way to organize your stuff, but a way to organize your lifestyle so that you can give yourself some breathing room.
I mean, the less time you spend looking for stuff the more time you have to spend with your kids. Or binge on some Netflix. #nojudging
But getting started is the toughest part.
9 out of 10 home organizing calls I get begin with the client telling me that things have gotten a little out of hand and that they would love to be more organized, but they get so overwhelmed and don’t know where to even start.
Can you relate to this? I mean, I’ve walked onto some jobs and felt a little overwhelmed myself. And I love organizing. So I totally get it.
So when this happens, the first thing I always suggest is to go through and declutter everything we can. This way, there’s less left to look at and a lot less left to organize.
And I know that sounds pretty simple. And you know what? It kind of is! If you go about it in the right way.
Letting Go of The Clutter
To start, you want to declutter from a place of “enough.”
And what I mean here is that a lot of people hold on to more stuff than they need because they’re worried that if they let it go they may not have enough.
And while this may sound silly, I’m sure you can relate to it on some level. Because most of us have been in a place of not having enough, or have seen others in that situation. Maybe you experienced it growing up or had a friend who did, or maybe you still hold onto that fear from your college days.
Whatever the case may be, it’s a very real thing for quite a few people.
But when it comes down to it, you only have so much space. And if you have more stuff than you have space for, then your house is cluttered and you’re feeling the effects.
And honestly, you don’t want all the space you have filled with stuff, either. You want to have some breathing room. And it starts with just keeping what you need.
Only Keeping What You Need
For example, in the kitchen, you don’t need a million plates and bowls. The more you have, the more likely it is that you’ll wait longer between washes, giving yourself more work. All you really need is 2 of everything for each family member, which will leave you with just one small load of dishes a night.
And you can make it even easier on yourself by keeping a simple set in a solid color. That way, if one of the plates breaks, you can easily replace it (and not have to replace the entire set).
You can do the same thing with your linens and towels, too. You don’t need more than 2 towels per person, 2 sets of sheets per bed, and then 2 extra towel sets and an extra linen set per guest room for guests. If you regularly have more guests than that at a time, keep enough towels so that each guest has a set. Any more than that is unnecessary and just takes up valuable closet space
Also, try to keep all white towels, sheets, and pillowcases. This makes them easier to replace, as well.
Ditch the Decluttering Excuses
And this brings me to my next point. Don’t keep something “just in case.”
You don’t need to have 20 towels in your house “just in case they’re all dirty.”
You don’t need to hold onto 3 massive bags of plastic straws left over from a birthday party “just in case you need them again at some point.”
You don’t need to hold onto all of those jeans that don’t fit you “just in case someone else might want them.”
I mean, there probably is someone who wants them. But they’re not going to be looking for them in your closet. They’ll be looking in a second-hand store. So donate them so that someone else can wear them.
Decluttering Sentimental Items
You also don’t need to keep something because of sentimental reasons.
And I get that this one is tough. And I’ve seen a lot of people not want to let go of things for different reasons.
But when it comes to anything tangible, the value is in using it, not possessing it. And if it’s just sitting in a box in your attic, then you’re not even using it.
And I’m not trying to be harsh here. I really do understand how difficult it can be to let go of certain things.
But cherish the memories associated with that object, not the object itself. You’ll have those memories with or without it. So when you’re deciding whether or not to keep something, keep that in mind.
Stop the Flow of Clutter
You also need to stop the flow of stuff coming into your space. And to do this, you first need to figure out where it’s coming from and who all’s contributing.
If you’re always the one to grab up free stuff, stop and ask yourself if you actually need it. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean you need to bring it home.
Or maybe you really like to shop. If that’s the case, then it may be helpful to implement a one in, one out policy, meaning that for every new item that you bring into your home, something old has to go. Or, if you’re really cluttered, make it a one in two out, or even three out policy.
And while it may seem wasteful to have to get rid of something every time you get something new, it really helps you recognize whether you actually need to buy the new thing or not in the first place.
I mean, if you have to get rid of something just to make space for it, is it even worth it? At first, it may seem like it is, but over time you’ll begin to recognize whether you actually need the new stuff or not.
Make Decluttering Easy
And finally, make decluttering easy on yourself. Try to only go through and toss a bunch of stuff on trash pickup day so that you don’t have a bunch of stuff taking up space in your garage.
For donations, schedule a pickup. Salvation Army picks up donated goods for free, but they do have a little bit of a wait to get a truck to you in some locations. So go to their website and see when you can schedule a pickup, and then plan your decluttering accordingly so you don’t have bags of stuff laying around your house for too long.
And keep in mind that most shelters won’t accept used stuff. So if you have any new stuff that you want to get rid of, a shelter would be your best bet.
Bonus Decluttering Tips
Now, everything we just covered is really great and it will help you go through the majority of your stuff. But I can guarantee you’ll still come across some stuff that will be difficult to decide whether to keep or not.
To help you out, here are some questions you can ask yourself about the different items as you’re going through them:
- Why do I have this?
- When is the last time I used it?
- Will I ever use it again?
- Do I already have this?
- Do I have something else similar to it?
- Could someone else use this?
- Could I easily replace it if I did need it again in the future?
- Am I only keeping this because I’ll feel guilty if I get rid of it?
A lot of times, we hold onto things because we feel guilty, or wasteful, for getting rid of it. But that mentality is extremely counterproductive! So don’t let guilt make you keep things that you don’t need!
So start going through your stuff and deciding what you want to keep and what you’re going to get rid of.
Want some extra help?
I’ve created a free checklist that you can download and print off.
It has over 100 different things that you can either donate or dump right now, broken down by room. It should definitely give you some ideas on how to get the ball rolling.
Once You Declutter, Get Organized
Because once you start getting rid of stuff, it does get a whole lot easier. I promise.
But I know it doesn’t take care of everything.
At this point, you might be sitting there thinking, “Okay, great, I know how to throw a bunch of stuff away now. But that doesn’t really do much to help me get organized…”
It does. I swear. You just may not see it right away. And having less really does make the whole organizing process so much easier.
But if you want to find a way to organize everything in a way that can be easily maintained — and I’m talking about everything from paperwork to bathroom toiletries to cleaning products to whatever it is that needs a place that isn’t on the kitchen counter — then make sure you sign up for my free home organizing challenge!
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