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Learn How to Declutter for beginners
It’s almost spring time and that means time for spring cleaning, and hopefully decluttering. I would love to be fully committed to minimalism, but that’s a little out of my comfort zone!
Plus, I have a family; 2 kids and a husband. It can be difficult to get everyone to go a long with getting rid of stuff! Even if they haven’t seen it or used it in over a year. Once an item comes to the surface to leave the house; it suddenly has this huge sentimental value attached to it! No matter what it is!
However, even with those obstacles getting in my way; I was still able to get rid of about half of our belongings before we moved from one coast of the U.S. to the other last year! And, that is what I’m going to help you do (maybe not half, but some); declutter your home with a stuff-clingy family. The simple-to-use decluttering processes below are meant for beginners; so don’t worry if you’ve never decluttered before! I wrote this for you!
There is also no better time to declutter than now! Springtime is a time to start anew and do some spring cleaning. So, this year, why not do some spring decluttering! It won’t only clear space in your home, but also your mind!
Before we got rid of half of our stuff I spent almost every minute I wasn’t at work, cleaning our stuff. This was not OK. I wanted to be able to spend more time with my kids when I wasn’t at work. My life went to getting up and cleaning, then going to work, then coming home and sleeping, then getting up and cleaning again and so on; I didn’t want that. I was also much more stressed before I started decluttering because we had too much stuff. It’s such a relief to have a home for every item we own.
If you’ve already decluttered and are just trying to find out how to keep you’re home clutter free, check out How to Keep a Clutter Free Home!!
Start with the Why
What you will want to consider before you even start the process of decluttering is why you want to declutter.
Do you feel like you are drowning in stuff?
Is your home always a mess?
Do you feel like you spend more time cleaning your home and your stuff than enjoying it?
Are you moving soon and need to down-size?
Finding out why you want to declutter can help give you a focus and help motivate you. So, spend a little time thinking about this first!
Get rid of the Obvious
If you’re a little intimidated by the whole decluttering process, that’s alright. But, there’s no need to be intimidated by it. It is a process. Sometimes an everlasting process; since most people enjoy having new things. The best way to resolve having more and more items in you home is; when bringing in new items, you get rid of something old. The one in, one out rule. I’m not even done decluttering! Anyone who buys stuff or lives with people who buys stuff will never be done decluttering; it’ll always be an ongoing process.
The easiest way to physically start decluttering is by getting rid of the obvious things. Go through each room in your home and find any garbage, broken items, or things you don’t even know why you brought them into your home to begin with. Find a new home for these items, whether it’s the garbage, recycling, or some place you’re able to donate items. You’re home is no longer their home.“Any garbage , broken items, or things you don't even know why you brought them into your home to begin with... Your home is no longer their home.”Click To Tweet
Some examples of these items could be paper scraps, like sticky notes you wrote stuff down on and no longer need, or wrapping paper scraps. Old jewelry that is no longer the same color as when you bought it and expired items (make up, food, medication) all need to go. Clothing items that are ill-fitting, dingy, or ripped should go. The list could go on and on, and it’s all going to depend on you and anything you feel that should be gotten rid of right away.
Now is the time! There is no better time to do something than right now! So, go ahead and start, if you need to start before you finish reading this, save or pin this, and then come back when you’re done with the obvious.
Estimate Time for Tasks
I’m hoping you took my advice and went ahead with getting rid of the obvious; if not, that’s ok, you can fit that into the next step. Which is necessary for anyone who likes being organized and making a to-do list and checking off the items! (AKA ME!!)
Once you know what you need to do in the process of decluttering (which we’ll go over in a little bit) it’s best to estimate how long each task will take you. It’s very satisfying being able to check something off the list, so it is beneficial to break larger tasks down into smaller ones. This will also help if you feel you don’t have time to declutter, or have kids. Some tasks can even take as little as a few minutes, such as going through your make up and throwing out ones that expired or that you just don’t like anymore.
If you have kids, try squeezing in some tasks while your kids are awake and behaving, if you’re lucky enough for that to happen! Or, just start and they may want to join you or join in.
When I went through all my clothes last year, my 15 month old, at the time, decided to come in my room with me and play with the few toys that were accidentally left in my room a few days earlier. Needless to say, I was actually able to go through all of my clothes! Bagging up what I no longer liked and putting away winter items, such as coats and mittens. If I had tried to make her behave or play in her room, I probably would not have finished. The task would still be on my to-do list.
Schedule your Tasks
On the same note as the last step, you may want to start a to-do list if you don’t already have one. If you already have one, add a task or two a day for decluttering. The more free time you have, the better. By scheduling a little bit each day you’ll less likely become overwhelmed by it; trying to get it all done at once.
If you have enough motivation, few distractions, and want to get it all done at once, then be my guest! It can sometimes take longer than you expect though, especially when coming across items that bring back memories. Sometimes it’s best to apply the one touch rule. Where you minimize the amount of times you touch an item, since the more times you touch something the more you become attached to it.
Taking some time to schedule out your tasks, even if just for a certain day, will help you get it done. It has a psychological effect. Even for myself. If it’s not in my planner to get done today, then there’s a good chance I’m going to put it off. It makes a huge difference if you actually take a pen, and write down, and commit to accomplishing, or even starting, a task on a certain day. Sometimes, this is even more important if you have less structure in your day. Scheduling out tasks is something I always did in school and it never failed me. So, if I start feeling overwhelmed by things that need to get done, I grab a pen, a piece of paper, and/or my planner. This alleviates the stress of not knowing when or how everything will get done.
Like a lot of things in life, there are so many ways to declutter and no one way is the best way!
This is going to depend on you, and what works for you. I could tell you what works for me and tell you that the way I do it is the best way to do it. But, then you would miss out on all of the other processes people go through for decluttering. Other successful ways, that I just don’t want you to miss out on!
So, if one of the ways below doesn’t help you or seem to fit with you, just try out the next one. Or, read through and pick which one, or few, will work best for you. Sometimes, the one you think will work, won’t; and one you think won’t work, will. So, don’t be concerned if you need to try them all. Who knows, you may even end up making up your very own way to declutter!
Room by Room
Going room by room has helped many people declutter their home. This process involves starting in one room of your home and not starting another until the first room is finished. You could start this process before or after you get rid of the obvious. I would recommend after, that way each room still looks decent while you work on your focus room.
If you have guests over often, work at home, or spend most of your time in just a few rooms of your house; then this process may be for you. It may be more important for you to have a decluttered kitchen, if you spend most of your time there, or if you never eat out and make all meals at home. The kitchen is the heart of the home. I know, personally, how frustrating it is to have a messy or cluttered kitchen. If I were to declutter room by room, I would start in the kitchen; you may start somewhere else. And, maybe do a room a day, or a room a week.
Or, you could start in the smallest or least cluttered room to build up motivation. Knowing you already have one room done and checked off the list will motivate you to move onto a larger or more cluttered room; just like a game, you finished one level now you’re ready for the next! Or, you could do the opposite; start with the largest or most cluttered first. This way you feel like you can accomplish anything, if you can declutter that one room.
Try a Challenge
Decluttering has become an obsession for some people, and this can certainly be a good thing! We can learn a lot from people who obsess and learn everything there is know about a topic!
Plus, it feels good to not have a lot of stuff, like I said before, it can help reduce stress. Some people have even created challenges for themselves and others for decluttering. Some of these challenges are intriguing, I haven’t done any of the challenges, yet, myself, but I have started to consider a few. Like project 333, where you take 33 articles of clothing and wear only those for 3 months. Decluttering with challenges can help you appreciate more of what you have and help you determine what items you truly love and which you can rid your home of.
Other challenges include:
- 40 bags in 40 days by Ann Marie (click the link for more detail, this is definitely one to check out)
- getting rid of one thing everyday for a year (365 items)
- 91 day declutter challenge
- decluttering in one weekend
- the six week declutter challenge
- the 30 day declutter challenge
- and many more!!!
(If there is no link, a simple google or pinterest search will lead you where you need to be!!)
Write a List
If you didn’t know, I love lists! So, this process is the one I used most of the time while decluttering. And, this process is just what it sounds like; write down a list of everything that needs decluttering. Every little space, category, and drawer that needs to be organized and clutter free, goes on this list. Things like clothes, make up, medicine cabinet, miscellaneous drawer in the kitchen, kids toys. All of these things should be on your list, if you have them, and some will absolutely take longer than others, especially when it comes to stuff that isn’t your own.“You're much more likely to start, and finish, a task when it takes you only a few minutes, instead of a few hours.”Click To Tweet
When you write your list, break down tasks as much as you can. You’re much more likely to start, and finish, a task when it takes you only a few minutes, instead of a few hours. For example, instead of writing down go through everything in the kitchen, you could write ‘clean out fridge, go through miscellaneous drawer, weed out unused utensils,’ and so on.
Before I moved and decluttered my whole home; it probably would’ve taken me at least 6 full hours to declutter my kitchen if I did it all at once and had no distractions. (Which is a joke, since I’m a mom!) This is why I broke rooms down into smaller tasks that did’nt take a long time. This way, I do what makes the most sense, not caring what room I was working in. I could check something off my list without finishing a full room!
This process option allowed me to work quietly in my bedroom while my baby was asleep. Or, declutter something in the kitchen while my girls ate a snack. I highly recommend this way if you have little children you stay home with them all day. Some days it can feel impossible to get anything done with kids around; don’t be harsh on yourself if you can’t get done what’s planned for the day.
There are many processes for decluttering, and not one is right for everyone. So, explore what you see in this post, try some options out, maybe even start a challenge! Whatever steps you take are going to get you closer to the end result. And, once you get there, you’ll see it doesn’t take too much effort to maintain it, and you may even have more mental clarity!!
I’m going to end this guide with a list of a few helpful tips.
- start with your own personal items
- don’t double up on items
- scan receipts into your computer if you need to keep them
- check for non-food expired items every month or so to get rid of
- declutter your fridge, freezer, and pantry every week or so (this will also help you if you meal plan)
- throw out or demote old towels into cleaning rags
- get rid of those old textbooks you haven’t looked at since college (if you’re not able to sell them, try giving them away; it’ll save you space, and your back if you’re planning on moving)
- only have enough dishes/silverware/cups/mugs for your family (and guests if you have others over often)
- don’t forget to go through digital clutter and organize what you want to keep on your phone and computer, and uninstall/delete what you don’t
- write down all of the clutter in your mind, as well, you need to clear your head along with your space to help reduce the stress of clutter
I know the process of decluttering can be overwhelming, physically and emotionally, especially at first and when you’re not used to it. But, don’t let that keep you from overcoming the clutter in your home to give yourself some peace in your mind and life!
It may take some time, some convincing of others in your home, and some emotional effort to lesson the items in you home. But, what it will provide you with is more quality time with the ones you love, and a home you love and don’t mind showing off to others!
Let’s declutter and keep a clutter free home, stop wasting time caring for items you don’t care about and start focusing on what truly matters!!
Once you have your home decluttered, make sure to keep it that way! Print out a list of Rules to keep your home clutter free!!
Comment below to share your favorite way to declutter!! And remember: Keep only what you love and use!!
How to Keep a Clutter Free Home!!
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