Do you have so much STUFF that you don’t know where to start decluttering? Follow these proven decluttering tips and start getting the results you want right away!
You are not alone if you don’t know how to start decluttering your home. If you are anything like me, you have figured out that once you have a family and have lived in the same home for several years, you will collect a lot of STUFF!
It really can sneak up on you! Maybe you have a system in place to store things like clothes your kids have outgrown, toys, small kitchen appliances, and that gift someone gave you that you never liked but are feeling guilty to get rid of it. I bet you can see it in your mind as you are reading this.
The storage spaces become full before you know it.
Boxes/containers start creeping across the floor of your basement.
Your closets and drawers are overflowing.
The kitchen counter and tops of your dressers are full of things.
Maybe you are thinking, now what? Where do I even start to get rid of all this clutter?
Don’t Worry. I got you covered. Read on to get proven, actionable tips to start decluttering your space without feeling overwhelmed.
Ready? Let’s do this!
Where to Start Decluttering
Tip # 1: Create a Plan
I know you are excited to dive right into this! A plan will help guide your journey, and you will get to see the progress you are making as you work through it. Seeing the results of your hard work as you go will give you the motivation and momentum to keep going!
The four container method is a good one to break up the decluttering process into small, manageable chunks.
Here’s how it works:
Think about which room you would like to start in. I would suggest starting with the kitchen and bathrooms. The items kept in these rooms are typically easier to sort, and you will begin to enjoy the benefits of decluttering these spaces you use every day.
Go through only one space in each room at a time, and move on to the next when you finish that space.
Start by grabbing a trash bag, and putting any rubbish that is out in the open in it. Take the trash bag out to the garbage can or dumpster immediately when you are finished.
Get 4 boxes, bins, baskets, or containers to sort the items as you go through them, and place a label on each one as follows:
Box 1: Put Away
This box is for items that you are keeping, but need to be put back where they belong. These could be things like a coffee mug left on the bathroom counter, or the shirt someone took off and left on the living room couch.
Box 2: Trash
This box is for the items you cannot sell or donate. Consider throwing away broken items, stained clothing, and actual garbage. Important documents you no longer need should be shredded before throwing them away. Recycle items like plastic, cardboard, paper, etc. if possible.
Box 3: Donate / Sell
Items that are in good condition that you could donate or sell go in this container. Items you want to donate should be given to the organization of your choosing right away, so they don’t lay around.
Selling can take more time, so decide where/how you will sell it and give yourself a deadline. Don’t let the item sit around collecting dust.
Box 4: Keep
Items you need to keep, but should be placed into storage.
Be very selective about what you put in this container.
For instance, you will always have seasonal items to store, pieces of luggage, seasonal clothing, etc.
Empty the boxes with the sorted items immediately when they get full, or you are finished sorting for the day. Put the sorted items where they belong, and set your boxes in the next area you will work on.
HOT TIP: Save Money and Time – You should wait until you are completely done with a room to organize the items you are keeping. This will allow you to see what things are left, and only buy the organizational products you need to complete the space.
Tip #2: Be Realistic – Work at Your Own Pace
You may like to work on tasks a little at a time, or plan big chunks of time on a weekend or day off to sort and declutter your stuff.
However you choose to do this, note it may take more than one session to clear and sort all the items in each room. This is ok! Stick to your plan, and you will keep making progress.
One word of caution – decluttering a whole house is a big project that is best undertaken one space at a time to avoid burning out.
Take this in manageable pieces, and you will get to see the progress you are making as areas get cleared out.
You will feel a sense of accomplishment, and will be motivated to keep going!
Tip #3: Ask Yourself These Questions while Sorting
Sometimes it is not clear which category an item should go in. To get some clarity, ask yourself these questions as you go through them:
- Do I have more than one of these? Do I need more than one?
- Am I keeping this because I might need it someday? Is it likely? Could I purchase the item inexpensively in the future if someday ever comes?
- Is it broken?
- If something was a gift you got over a year ago, but never used it. Could you pass it on or donate it?
- Sentimental Items – Reference this article for help with this one….
- Does the item have all it’s parts and is it functional? (ex. Kitchen storage containers with no lids, chipped or cracked glassware, worn-out towels, small kitchen appliances, etc.)
- Could you re-purpose the item?
Tip #4: What to do with Sorted Items
Put these items in a designated location in your home or vehicle, and donate them as quickly as possible. You could even place these items in your vehicle to drop off.
If you are passing them on or having an organization pick them up, make sure you have a designated location for these where you will not forget about them.
Make arrangements to pass on or have them picked up within a week or two so they are not just laying around.
Hot Tip: Animal Shelters, Kennels, and Pet Groomers are typically grateful to receive gently used towels and blankets. Consider donating those items to these places.
If you feel something is worthwhile to try to sell, set it aside and then make a plan for how to sell that item, so it won’t sit there collecting dust.
Check out if there are community garage sales, mom to mom sales, or ways to sell online such as eBay, Facebook Groups to sell things in your area, etc.
Make sure any items you keep have a home. Remember, everything in its place and a place for everything. Check out the next section for my favorite storage solutions.
Put all the stuff from the trash box into the household trash can or dumpster right away.
Tip #5: Storage and Organization Products
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Now that you have completed decluttering a room, you may be wondering how to organize everything. There are many great organization products on the market to help you get everything in order.
Organize items in any room in your home with smaller shelving units, or use larger heavy duty shelves to store bins and other large items in the basement or garage.
Containers with Drawers
These work really well for organizing small items such as first aid supplies, make-up, small toiletry items like toothpaste, bars of soap, and dental floss, and even craft or art supplies. You get the idea!
Clear Bins with Lids
Perfect for storing items you do not use every day like seasonal decorations, household supplies such as light bulbs, batteries, blank notepads, and just about anything else you can think of. Grab clear ones so you can see what’s in there without having to open them.
Cube Storage Bins
These often fit into shelving units that are the perfect size of the cube, and are a functional way to keep daily use items at hand without looking messy. Perfect to hold toys, office supplies, hobby items, etc.
Avoid having a shoe pile by putting them on the shelves of a shoe rack. They come in many different sizes and designs for any space you want.
Cleaning Supply Caddy
Keep your household cleaning chemicals, gloves, sponges, and more in a caddy you can carry around while you clean the house. This will keep them conveniently in your reach as you clean, and can be stored out of the way of children and pets.
Containers for Q-Tips & Cotten Balls, Shelves for extra towels, Cabinets to put over the toilet, and small shelves or caddies for under the sink are great for organizing items in the bathroom.
Grab some hanging file folders and label those suckers to keep your hard copy documents easy to access. This could include anything from home appliance manuals, receipts, vehicle documentation, to personal or business paperwork. Many file cabinets even have a lock to keep your information private.
This one is pretty obvious. Keep any hard copy books you access daily or are planning to read on the bookshelves.
Where to Start Decluttering (Final Thoughts)
I know with time and perseverance you will get the results you want, and reclaim your space. Remember it takes most of us several rounds of decluttering and organizing to make our way through the house. Using the tools in this article gives you the guidance you need to know how to start decluttering without getting overwhelmed. You got this!💪🏼
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