Decluttering. It can seem so overwhelming if you were never taught how to do it. Here is a quick guide on how to declutter.
Decluttering requires a few things. They are things you have around the house, so gather them up!
- Boxes.You will need 6 containers with rigid sides. They can be leftover boxes, laundry baskets, plastic crates or whatever. The rigid sides mean that it will be easy to put stuff into them quickly.
- Marking Pens. You will need to label each of the six containers. If you can’t write directly on them, use scrap paper and tape a sign on each one. Label them: Trash, Recycle, Shred, Give Away, Put Away, Undecided.
- Trash Bags. Line your trash container with a trash bag. If you want to get fancy and line your recycle, shred and give away boxes, feel free. Just remember that this might cause the contents of these boxes to end up in the trash, because the bags will be indistinguishable from regular trash.
- A Timer. A portable timer works best. You will use this to limit what you are doing so you don’t overspend your energy.
Learn the Ground Rules
- Don’t start too big. You can’t declutter a whole house in a day, so don’t try. If you do too much you will burn out and you won’t want to do more later.
- Don’t haul everything out at once. Deal with small sections at once. Pulling everything out will overwhelm you.
- Set a timer and take breaks. This is important. Don’t work too long, and don’t work too long without a break. I like 15 minute increments: work for 15, then spend 5 minutes doing something fun. I never spend more than 45 minutes in a day decluttering, though.
- Put on upbeat music. Make this fun. Energetic music will want to make you move.
For your decluttering session:
- Pick one room. If your messiest room seems too overwhelming, pick something easy to start with. But limit yourself to one room.
- Start with the floor from the door, clockwise. The room will seem less cluttered once everything is off the floor.
- Pick up each item once and make a decision. Here are the questions to ask yourself:
- Have I used it in the past year?
- Do I love it?
- Is it mine?
- Does it belong in this room?
Choose a box. If you know you don’t use it or love it, but you can’t bear to get rid of it, put it in the undecided box. However, you can only put one item in the undecided box for every 10 items that you handle. Note: if something is worn, stained or broken, or in a shape you would not give it to your best friend, it is trash. Deal with it accordingly.
- Next, declutter the flat surfaces, clockwise around the room. This includes tables, desks, chairs, shelves, anything that is horizontal.
- Next, do the hidden areas. This includes drawers, storage bins, closets, and anything that can’t be seen when you first enter the room.
When your session is finished, you must deal with your boxes.
- Put everything away in the put away box. If it doesn’t have a home, reconsider if it should be in one of the other containers.
- Put trash in trashcan. Take it outside of the house and get rid of it. Don’t leave it to clutter up another part of your house.
- Put give away in car, and get rid of it by the end of the next day. Don’t let your give aways pile up either. Locate the nearest charity drop-off and drop the items off the next day.
- Put recycling in bin. See trash notes.
- Shred everything in the shred bag. Don’t let this pile up.
- Seal and date the undecided box. Set the date for six months. If you haven’t needed anything in there for six months, take the sealed container to your favorite charity for donation.
Congratulations! You have just decluttered a room!
Photo by JD_WMWM