There’s nothing I hate more than clutter all over the place. Sadly, with three kids, a husband and two dogs, my house is pretty much always overflowing with stuff. Research shows that there’s a certain sense of satisfaction from clearing out the junk you don’t need or want and living in a tidier environment. Decluttering your life isn’t always easy, especially if you’re sentimental or have a lot of stuff, but it’s totally worth it to give it a try. Here’s how.
1. Tackle the Job Room by Room so It’s Not so Overwhelming
This is my mission each year when the kids head back to school and I have more time to get stuff done. If you have kids, it’s best to declutter when they aren’t home or their new favorite toys will be the stuff you’re getting rid of even though they haven’t played with it in years. Work on one room at a time and the job of decluttering won’t be so huge. Organize as you go, then make piles for trash and donations.
2. Think about the Last Time You Used a Specific Item
Each year when I declutter, I ask myself if I’ve used a certain item since last year’s decluttering. If not, it goes in the donation or garbage sack. There’s no reason to hold on to things that you no longer use or need. They just take up space and stress you out by adding to the mess. Bite the bullet and get rid of those things. Chances are you won’t even notice they’re gone.
3. Put Your Hands on Each Item in Every Room of the House
The only way to really clear out everything is to touch it all. Grab each item and assess whether you want to keep it, throw it away or donate it. If you skip over drawers or cabinets, you’ll miss a bunch of stuff and you’ll miss out on the opportunity to have a nice decluttered house.
4. Drop Things off at the Thrift Store Immediately
When I declutter, I drive my donation box from each room straight to the nearest Salvation Army. If I stash it somewhere, things will start migrating back into my house or my kids will discover it and rescue things. Load it straight into the car and drop it off so you aren’t tempted to drag things out again.
5. Work when You’re Alone
As I touched on above, it’s best to work on decluttering your life when you are by yourself. That way you can slash your belongings and clean things up without anyone interfering and getting in your way. Trust me, it’s a lot faster to get this job done when no one is distracting you.
6. Don’t Forget Your Work Space and Vehicles
Now that you’ve got your house decluttered, work your way to the cars and your office. Use the same system and get rid of things you don’t want or need, throw away trash and clean everything up. You’ll feel instantly calmer and less stressed when your space is cleared out and clean.
7. Declutter Your Mental Life Too
Now it’s time to clear your mind too. Stop focusing on issues you can’t control and start saying “no” to things that you don’t really want to do. By decluttering your lifestyle, you have more time to spend with friends and family and to foster your talents and hobbies for a full and well-rounded life. Talk to a therapist if you need help with this.
Are you ready to start decluttering your life? What’s your first step?