The thought of decluttering your home might be incredibly overwhelming. Especially if you haven’t cleaned out your cluttered corners and overstuffed rooms in quite a while.
There are many ways that you can declutter a space. From using kraft paper tape to box up excess items to organising items in labelled baskets, you’ll find many helpful tools and advice to make your home more like Marie Kondo’s. So, it may not be as difficult as you think.
If you need some ideas to declutter your home or even just a single room, then this article is for you.
Decluttering—Easier Than it Sounds
In theory, decluttering should happen often and actually continuously. However, decluttering seems like an arduous task because humans often add some type of nonsensical value to just about everything. Therefore, we tend to hoard, rather than make decluttering a habit.
Another reason decluttering is very rarely on the top of anyone’s to-do list is that we’ve convinced ourselves that it’s an enormous task. Who has time for that? Fortunately, our experts have compiled a list of easy-to-do tips that will help get you started and prove it can happen with minimal effort.
1. Your Home Isn’t a Storage Unit
The first tip for decluttering is to remind yourself that your space isn’t a storage unit. Keeping items “to use one day” or because “someone may need them” is simply wasting valuable space. It’s also creating extra work for whoever does the cleaning and sorting in your home. It may be time to get rid of those items.
2. Create a List of Areas to Declutter
Don’t set out to declutter your whole home or garage all at once. Chances are it’s the magnitude of that type of task that has you putting it off for long. Make a list of all the areas you want to declutter and then prioritise the spaces that should be done first.
Breaking up the task into smaller chunks is often more effective since it looks less daunting. Doing a bit at a time is better than quitting big tasks halfway through.
3. Find Creative Ways to Store the Items You’re Keeping
Often, clutter is simply a pile of items that don’t have a proper storage solution. When you’re thinking about decluttering, take a step back and see what’s causing the clutter. If it’s a lack of proper storage, you may have to invest in storage solutions. This may include adding shelves, optimising an existing cupboard or buying a few stackable baskets or boxes.
Another popular idea to consider is using a vacuum sealer to reduce the space needed for bulky items such as blankets and jackets, but also smaller loose items you don’t use every day. Vacuum-sealing will enable you to place more on a shelf and as a bonus you’re protecting the contents from moisture.
4. Declutter Storage Areas First
Identify the areas you want to use as storage spaces, so they can be cleared and cleaned first. They’ll be ready to serve as storage as you declutter the rest of the house. Effective storage spaces can include:
- Basements (add shelving for optimal storage space)
- Tops of closets
- Random shelves
5. Use the Four-Box-Method
Get four large, sturdy boxes and label them:
Use these boxes when clearing each area to make decluttering go faster, since you don’t waste time walking to the garbage bin every now and then.
The box marked for donation should be delivered to the intended charity as soon as possible. “Keep” items must be cleaned or dusted and placed in their allocated places. Items in the relocate box must be moved to the room or given to the person whom they’re intended for. Don’t let your boxes become part of your clutter problem.
6. Involve Everyone
If you live with other people, everyone should be involved in the decluttering. Each person can be responsible for their rooms and personal spaces like work desks. Let each person use the four-box system to identify and organise the items that are overwhelming their space.
7. Adopt the One-in-One-Out Principle
One of the more effective ways of ensuring that your space doesn’t get out of hand once you’ve cleared it is to adopt the one-in-one-out principle. For every one item you bring into the home, one similar item should be thrown away or donated.
If you have a lot of clothes or blankets, consider making the rule one-in-two-out. Create a designated “out” box for the items you’ll be donating and make it a habit to clear this box monthly.
8. A Box in Your Closet
A simple trick to decluttering as you go is to place a small box in your closet. When you put something on that you no longer feel comfortable in, instead of tossing it back in the closet, rather throw it in the box. When that box is full, add those items to your “donate” box.
Now you’re not wasting valuable closet space on items that you most likely won’t wear again.
Effective decluttering is about changing your mindset. Start with small spaces and identify items that you can donate. Dropping your first load of items off at your local charity will encourage you to keep going until your space is completely sorted!