Clutter is not only unsightly, it can also make your home a stressful space to be in!
Clearing out your home can add light and airiness to your life. The task may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be, if you tackle it strategically. Here is a decluttering checklist with seven tips to get you started.
Assess the Mess
Start by listing all of the rooms in your home in order of messiness. If you live in a smaller space, you can divide your place into “zones.” Plan to start with the least-cluttered room or zone first, or, from the tiniest room to the biggest one.
Get your Supplies
Decluttering is about organizing. However, don’t buy bins or organizers until after you’ve decluttered everything and know how many items you’ll be keeping. But you can start by getting heavy duty trash bags, large boxes that you will label “keep” and “donate,” and a dust mask. If you have a family, you can have a “keep” box for each person.
Give Yourself a Time Limit
In any room, start with easy stuff — items that belong somewhere else — clothing in the bathroom, coffee mugs in the bedroom, piles of mail in the kitchen. The easiest items to get rid of are the ones that you can donate or throw away. In the bathroom, you might find expired medications, half-empty bottles of shampoo, and old makeup. In the kitchen and pantry, throw away expired condiments, spices, and half-empty cereal boxes.
Goodbye Does not Mean Erasing your Memories
Bedrooms, living rooms, and office areas are the most likely places where mementos like greeting cards, tchotchkes, and framed pictures can clutter. Some of these items could be stored in a book, instead of out in the open. If the chipped mug from your trip to New York truly has meaning to you, keep it. But, If you are stuck, temporarily store these sentimental odds-and-ends in a box, and go through them later.
Don’t be Afraid of What’s in the Closet
Your wardrobe may be one of the most challenging areas to declutter. This is where the KonMari method of asking yourself — Does this item spark joy? — can help. Loosely categorize clothing by type, and try on items if you need to. If you aren’t sure about the style, the item is stained, it doesn’t fit, or you otherwise don’t feel amazing in it, it goes in the donate box. No exceptions.
Get it Out
After a successful day of decluttering you are ready to donate. You can go to The Thrift Shopper to find thrift stores by zip code, or you can try goodwill.org, or salvationarmy.org. Remember that the hardest part of decluttering is getting started. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, you might be surprised at how much you can get rid of, and how much better you’ll feel about the state of your home and your stuff.