The minimalist movement might not be for everyone, but there are times when everyone looks around at their home and thinks “How have I ended up with so much stuff?”
People tend to fill whatever space they inhabit, even if they don’t mean to. Oftentimes, after living in a place for a couple of years, you turn around and it hits you. You are surrounded by clutter!
How to Declutter your Home – A Step by Step Guide
Five Ways to Identify Clutter:
1. Unidentified stress at home
Oftentimes, our homes should function as our own personal sanctuaries. Many people try to make at least part of their home an area that they can easily relax in. If you find that there are no spaces like that for you, it might simply be because there is too much stuff around to be able to totally relax.
2. Difficulty finding things
The more stuff you have, the more difficult that organization becomes. Even if you are an organized person, if you have trouble finding things, or find yourself sifting through other things to get to the object, you may need to declutter.
3. Running out of space to put something new
Many people collect new things while they travel, shop or as gifts from loved ones. If you are finding it hard to place them somewhere in your home, it might be time to make some space.
4. A large part of your money ‘disappears’
Some say that the best way to know someone’s priorities is to look at the bank book. Depending on how much you spend on food, loved ones, education or other things during a month, you might find an area of your life points to a lot of things, leading to clutter.
5. A reluctance to invite people over
If your house isn’t a place that you feel comfortable inviting people to, it might be because you are somewhat aware that it is a little overcrowded, and not by guests.
As you take a walk through your house, you may now realize that you can identify with a lot of hints on the list above. From there though, it is hard to know what to do.
Many people recommend breaking your house down, taking a look at it in sections. Depending on the layout of your house, then using individual rooms as sections might be easy. If not, then you might want to make your own zones. Below, we have divided the house into seven different zones to give you an idea of how to start the decluttering process in each one. First, though, you need to organize the process.
Before you head out into the house, grab boxes, bags or anything that can hold your materials. You will want to be ready with these so that you have one to throw things away, one in which to put items that are nice enough to donate, one for recycling and another for anything that needs further attention. “Further attention” items may be things that need to be fixed or you don’t know quite what to do with them yet.
Now that you are ready, check out these zonal areas and prioritize them according to your needs.
Declutter Section by Section of your House:
Bedrooms can look pretty straightforward, but it turns out that they are the rooms that often have the most small and medium-sized storage areas! To start in a bedroom, it makes a big difference right away to make the bed. It also clears a large “sorting” area.
From here, start with the areas that you use the most as they will be the most notable for you. These may include clearing off the nightstand, making it look more simple or only containing the things you really require right away in the morning and directly before bed.
Once areas like these are finished, go through any other tops, like the top of a dresser or a portable closet. These are the most satisfying and motivating since they are the easiest to see. Once they have been cleared and organized, tackle the inside of the dressers, drawers and closet areas, one at a time. If you need help to motivate yourself to get rid of clothing items, check out some of our tips below.
Moving onto the bathroom can take some more time since you might be really cleaning it down as you work through it. However, the bathrooms are much more clean cut to work through and organize.
The surfaces are a good place to start again. On your bathroom counter, or around the sink, place only the items that you need to remember to use, or frequently use. More simplicity at the beginning and end of the day will help you feel more organized as you continue to work through your day.
The kitchen is next and contains a lot of “hidden” spaces as well as a lot of items that serve many different purposes. This room may need to be broken down into even smaller zones to keep it manageable.
First, start with your largest storage areas. If you have them, these will include the pantry, or the biggest cupboards. Take everything out, clean it out, and then assess what should be there, what shouldn’t and what should be tossed. After putting it back, move onto the next one.
You might just want to move around your space, or work from largest to smallest. Either way, once you are completely finished with the kitchen, tackle your counter space. Only leave things on the counter that are frequently used or need to be easily accessed. Put everything else in a storage space.
4. Living room
The living room is generally easier since it is not often used for storage. If you do have any cabinets, you should start with these. From here, clean off all of your spaces. Many things here will be there for aesthetic purposes. You may want to look at it with a fresh set of eyes to gauge if the finished product still looks cluttered, or well-arranged.
The basement may well need to be broken into several different zones, depending on its size and level of clutter. The basement should not just be the hole that absorbs all of the stuff you don’t know what to do with. If you haven’t used it in over a year, it is a safe bet that you won’t use it in the next year.
Remember, when it comes to large storage spaces like these, the more stuff that you store, the more things you will forget you even have. Organizing materials that you don’t frequently use will be critical to keep track of anything you decide to keep. You may want to invest in storage tubs and keep them labeled with exactly the items that are kept inside.
If you don’t have a garage, or even if you have a handy portable garage, you may find it to be a collection area much like your basement. The process here will be much the same as for the basement. Keep everything out of the way to be able to easily and safely park any cars that you may need to put inside. Organizing using labeled tubs will help to keep dust off of any of the stored material.
The attic is the last main area of the house that may need special attention. If you have a hard time reaching your attic to facilitate the organizing process, look into getting a home ladder.
Any items that are stored in the attic, like the portable garage, may need to be protected if the area isn’t as well insulated or if there are any animals or insects that might be able to access it. This is another positive about using sealed tubs.
Now you have a sort of checklist to work through throughout your entire home so that you don’t miss a thing. If you are still struggling to keep yourself organized and on track, there are some tricks to help you out with the process:
How to Declutter your Home – Useful Tricks
1. The 12-12-12 ratio
Challenge yourself in each zone to find 12 items to throw away, 12 to recycle and 12 to donate
2. A fresh set of eyes
Try to look at your house from the perspective of a new visitor
3. Phone a friend
Often, people that aren’t attached to your stuff have an easier time getting rid of it. Ask a friend or family member to help if you are finding it difficult to get rid of things.
4. Sleep on it
We all have our limits and a day of clearing clutter will find you reaching yours. If you find that you just can’t get rid of anything else, sleep on it before starting again. A new day often means a new tolerance.
5. It takes one… to get rid of one
Once you have reached the point where you feel satisfied with your level of clutter, this trick helps to maintain it. Make a rule for yourself: if you buy something new it means getting rid of something else as soon as you bring it in. This will help you maintain the same level of organization.