You just can't be the organized person you aspire to be if you are buried in stuff. Paperwork, clothing, collectibles, gadgets- it doesn't matter what it is- if you own more than you use, need, or love- you have too much of it! Knowing how to declutter is one of the most powerful tools I use in my personal organizing arsenal, and it makes a monumental difference in running an organized home!
As a society we all have too much stuff! There’s even a huge business created around our need to own more stuff than we need- self storage units! The “perfect solution” for holding all of the things that won’t fit into your home. Does this strike anyone else as completely crazy? And aside from the cost of storing items, there is a cost to maintain all of these belongings and to clean all of this stuff, not to mention the mental burden of having so many things that you can’t find places to put them and then you can’t find whatever else it is that you’re looking for. Really- it’s lunacy. And we all partake! (Myself included!)
As much happiness as purchasing new items brings your life, let me tell you- getting rid of some of the stuff that you own brings an equal amount of joy!
So… what exactly is “clutter”?
To me, the definition of clutter is “anything that you have in your home that you no longer love, want, or need“. If you are not using it and you are not keeping it around because you just absolutely adore it- then why in the world are you trying to the store it in your home?
The act of decluttering and then enjoying a decluttered space can be addictive. You can start small with just learning how to declutter a junk drawer or a small cabinet in the kitchen, and before you know it- you are so pleased with having a neat, organized and open space that you just move onto the next drawer or the next closet! Decluttering just builds momentum!
How to Declutter
So how does one go about the act of decluttering? I like to pick an area that needs work- whatever area of the house that happens to be bothering me the most at the moment. Recently it was my kitchen pantry that had become a catchall place to hold all kinds of things that I couldn’t decide whether or not we wanted to keep around. Since there’s a door on the pantry, it became too easy to throw something in there, close the door and forget about it! But before long I couldn’t even find what I was looking for- so was time to do something about it.
To declutter I like to begin on the left-most corner of an area on the highest shelf, and work my way from top to bottom and left to right. I pick up every single item that I come across, and I touch it, look at it ,and I ask myself…. “Do I love this? Do I just want it? Do I need it?” If the answer to any one of those question is “yes”, then I ask myself, “And do I have room to store it?” If I can answer “yes” again, then the item gets to stay, but if I answer “no” to any of those questions- then I need to get rid of the item.
“Keeper items” can either by stored in the area I am cleaning out (grouped with other items that are similar), or they can be relocated to another room. Perhaps it’s something that I need such as laundry detergent, but it doesn’t belong in the pantry, it belongs in the laundry room.
“Eliminate items” are sorted into piles of Sell, Donate, Recycle, or Trash.
Follow the System!
Click here to download a copy of my free printable instructions on How to Declutter!
You need to make a decision on every single item before moving onto the next. I always advise people to set a timer- give yourself 20 minutes and see if you can get through an entire shelf or entire drawer, making decisions as you go along. If you get to the point when you are looking at an item and you just cannot decide what to do with it, then it’s time to stop sorting. Start fresh again in a couple of hours or the next day when you’re ready to make decisions about the things that you own.
Living in a decluttered home truly allows you to live an organized life. It allows you to find things that you need when you want them, it allows you to think and create more clearly, and it frees the mind! Decluttering my home has made a huge difference on how organized I feel.
So what area of your home do you feel needs decluttering the most right now?