Decluttering is never a topic anyone wants to talk about but having a cleaner home can make you feel better
But what benefits does it offer? And are there enough of them to make decluttering worth the effort?
Benefits of Decluttering
Table of Contents
You Will Always Know What to Wear
If your closet is filled with things you love and that fit, putting together an outfit takes much less time. The added benefit? You know you are always going to look fabulous.
You Can Quickly Identify Items to Put on Your Shopping List
Shopping becomes much more straightforward when you know what you already have. At a glance, you can see what you are missing, whether from your wardrobe or household goods. That means you will already know what you’re looking for before you even leave the house, and will make a lot fewer impulse buys that you may later regret.
When shopping, ask yourself questions like:
- Will I love this in a couple of months?
- Will I use it often?
- Am I willing to give up something else to make room for this?
- Do I truly need it?
- Will it bring me happiness when I see or use it?
Taking Care of Treasured Things Makes Them Last Longer
When you keep only the things you love, you will find you’re treating those items with more respect. Possessions managed well tend to wear better and will last much longer than belongings handled carelessly.
Clean-Up Takes No Time at All
With fewer items cluttering up your life, tidying a room requires much less time and effort. You will also find it easier to put things away and have a clearer idea of where things belong.
Simple Ways to Build Decluttering into Your Life
Decluttering isn’t something you do once, and then you’re done with it forever. If such were the case, no one would ever feel overburdened by the stuff since most of us have decluttered our homes at some point.
The key to decluttering is realizing it needs to be a mindset, a set of habits you develop that not only cleans the extra stuff out of your life but keeps the clutter out as you move forward.
Keep reading to find out five simple ways you can build decluttering into your life:
Create a Donation Box
A lot of the time, people tend not to get rid of things because they have nowhere to go with it. Creating a donation box and leaving it somewhere accessible, like the floor of your closet, means getting rid of things is as easy as pitching the object into the box. When the box is full, put it in your car immediately so you can drop it off at a donation center when you’re out on your usual errands.
Do It Now!
If you find something you no longer want, get rid of it immediately while you’re thinking about it. Toss it out or put it in the donation box, so you aren’t tempted to keep it later. Why put off what’s only going to take a moment to do?
Try a Timer
Make a deal with yourself. Rather than spending an entire weekend trying to work through your closet, every day set a timer for ten minutes and see what kind of dent you can make into the project. Making tidying up a regular part of your day will turn it into a habit designed to keep clutter out of your life for good.
Make Sure Everything Has a Home
If you don’t have a place to put something, how can you ever put it away? Find a home for every object you want to keep. Can’t find one? Evict something else you don’t need to make room.
Know When to Re-organize, and When Not To
The biggest mistake people make is in thinking they can organize things as they declutter. The problem comes when you start wasting time organizing things that you’re not even sure if you’re going to keep. Get rid of things first and then spend your time on the organizational side of things to optimize your time.
Items You Should Throw Out Right Now
Every home has clutter, whether you’re conscious of it or not. Some things are so small or insignificant that they get overlooked when you’re on your tidying up spree. These are the things that are the most insidious, seeming to multiply when you turn your back. Read on to find out several items you should throw out right now, without even stopping to think about it.
Whether you’re talking about old antibiotics you didn’t finish or the spices in the back of the kitchen cupboard, expired items are everywhere and can harm you if you use them.
- Food items: Check your pantry for old spices, dry goods, canned goods, or any packaged food. When done, take a minute to go through your refrigerator and ditch the expired condiments like ketchup, mayo, hot sauce, or salad dressing.
- Spices: Don’t forget to sort through your seasoning packets as well as the boxes and bottles of seasoning.
- Medication: Prescription medication can be especially harmful, but over the counter things expire as well. Contact your pharmacy for instructions on how to dispose of items correctly for the safety of pets and small children in your care.
- Make-up: A lot of bacteria live in old make-up. So even if it’s something that hasn’t expired, if you’ve used it for several months, it might be time to toss it.
Toss out non-functional pens, dried out markers, broken mechanical pencils or those well-chewed pencils populating your desk drawers.
Whether they’re missing a match or have a hole in the toe or heel, it’s time to let them go. No, you’re not going to fix them, and its mate is probably long gone (No. No one knows where it went).
While reusing plastic grocery bags is a great idea, just how many do you need? Keep a reasonable number for reuse and recycle the rest.
Old Reading Material
Cull the magazines and release any books you’ve finished reading and are not likely to read again. A lot of places love donations of these items, such as shelters, jails, and nursing homes. Share the love of a good book with others rather than keeping your space cluttered.
By paying attention to the little things around us, it’s easy to find a lot of clutter that you might sweep under the radar. A quick toss of these items will free up more space than you think and leaves your world much tidier
How to Tidy it up
Decluttering can become a way of life. Good habits start with doing the same things over and over. By spending a little time daily tidying in small ways, you’ll soon build a mindset of change impacting your home in positive ways for years to come.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed and not to know where to begin. Rather than quitting before you start, how about trying these simple tips to help you tidy up your stuff, and by extension, your life.
Know What You Own
Work first with just one type of clutter by dumping everything of one kind together in one place. Seeing things together makes it very clear what you have, and don’t have. That way you discover where you have a surplus of the same item, making it easy to get rid of the excess.
Grab Some Boxes
Sort everything in the room into four boxes: Keep, Get Rid Of, Store, Donate. By adding the box for storage, you give yourself time to think about whether you want to retain an item you’re on the fence about keeping. That can be useful if you’re trying to distance yourself from something with emotional ties. Revisit the storage boxes often and make a point to sort through items using the same four-box method at least once a year.
Start on What’s Easy
When trying to decide about things, begin with the easiest category. Clothes are generally the simplest as your decisions have natural parameters:
- Does it fit?
- Is it still in style?
- Do I like wearing this?
Next go to books and movies, getting rid of things you’re not likely to want or enjoy again. From there, tackle objects in the kitchen and other rooms and evaluate as to how useful items are. Leave the sentimental items for last, as by this point, you’ll have gotten this decluttering thing down pretty well.
Make the Most of Your Drawers
By knowing how to fold your clothes correctly, you’ll be able to see what you own at a glance, without needing a massive walk-in closet. Try the Marie Kondo method of folding your clothes first into a long strip and then make it smaller by folding it in half and from there into thirds. By tucking the tiny bundle of clothing upright in your drawer, you can find things quickly and store a lot more in a small space.
A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place
By designating a spot for everything you own, you know just where to put it when you tidy up. If you can’t find a place for it, you have to ask yourself if it’s something you genuinely need. If so, ask yourself if another item needs to go to make room for it.
Do You Get The Warm Fuzzies?
If you’re not sure about keeping something, ask yourself how you feel about the item. Things with negative connotations need to go. Only keep what makes you happy when you see it or use it.
The key to tidying up is getting rid of the extraneous objects around you. After all, you can’t clean clutter! From here, it’s a simple matter of putting away those things you still love and enjoy.
|Remind yourself your vintage objects are worth cold, hard cash to the|
right person. If you’ve already had your enjoyment of an object, let it go to bless someone else while you pocket the profit.
How to Declutter Sentimentals
We all have those items we would hate to lose, whether it’s an old collection of love letters or a cuddly stuffed animal you slept with as a child. The problem is, even those items become clutter when there’s too much of it. How do you tidy up without losing those memories?
Use a Scanner
When going through old papers and essential documents, start by deciding which items are worth keeping. Scan and upload those documents to a service that will hold a backup you can’t possibly lose. (Remember, scanning absolutely everything leads to digital clutter though, so only choose what’s essential). Next, decide if you still need the originals. If you don’t, shred everything once it’s safely digitized. If you must keep originals, put them somewhere safe, like a filing cabinet, fireproof safe, or a safety deposit box at your local bank.
We’re in the age of the internet and have the cloud at your fingertips. Why keep movies and music around in a tangible form? The individual boxes are small, but when you put them all together, they take up a great deal of space. Put what you want to keep online and donate or sell those old DVDs and CDs. Now your collection is available wherever you are.
|Download your favorite books instead of owning physical copies. Now you can read them anytime, anywhere|
Sentimental objects might seem a little harder to declutter at first glance, but they don’t have to be. Start by taking lots of pictures of those items with emotional attachment. Once you’ve taken all the photos, choose the objects you absolutely can’t part with and put the others in the donate box. Only keep what can fit into a smallish box.
|Give family heirlooms to other family members who might appreciate them more. You can ‘visit’ the items again when you see that family member, while at the same time blessing them with something they will cherish.|
Letting go of a physical object doesn’t mean letting go of the significance of an object or even the experience of having owned it. It means keeping the important aspects of it, whether it’s a picture or some other record of the memory, without needing the clutter of the object itself.
How to Stay Decluttered
Decluttering your home is the easy part of the equation. Keeping it decluttered can be another matter entirely. How do you manage the mess before it happens so you can keep your home feeling the way it does after tidying up? It starts with building some good habits geared toward staying decluttered. Here are the hacks to get you started:
Put Decluttering on Your Calendar
Scheduling time to declutter your home every day makes it part of your routine—you’ll get in the habit of tidying as you go. Set a timer and permit yourself to stop when it goes off. Even 15 minutes a day will help keep your clutter under control.
Make Rules Regarding New Purchases
You just bought a new pair of shoes? Great! Now it’s time to get rid of an old pair. Making rules about removing an item from the house when you buy an item keeps things from building up all over again.
Generally, it’s pretty easy to find a possession to remove, as often buying something new indicates certain displeasure over something you already own. If the thought of getting rid of something makes you cringe, maybe you don’t want that new pair of shoes after all.
Don’t Keep the Donation Item
Keep your donation box out at all times so that you and your family toss in unwanted items consistently. Once that box is full, hustle the box off to the donation center. The longer you keep it around, the more likely you are to create excuses as to why you still need the object you put in there. If you can’t get there immediately, at least put it in your car trunk, so it’s out of sight.
Take Before and After Pictures
Nothing is more heartening than a before and after shot of an overly cluttered and messy room that you’ve tidied. Use those pictures for inspiration when you’re feeling overwhelmed by this decluttering process. Remind yourself how good it felt when you finished decluttering another room.
Decluttering can feel like an eternal problem. No matter how many times you set out to do it, it seems clutter tends to overtake you again. If this is your problem, it’s time to reconsider first how you see clutter. It’s time to kick the clutter habit to the curb once and for all! Read on to see how you can be clutter-free.
Change your Point of View
If you live in a disaster zone, like an area that experiences floods or wildfires, chances are you already have a plan in place of what you would grab if you needed to evacuate in a hurry. If you don’t, then this question is for you: Which items are the most important things out of all your stuff?
Questions like this are sometimes hard to answer when you’re staring around the room and seeing all the things you’ve worked hard to attain. If you’re having a hard time choosing what you’d take with you, get out of the house and sit down where you can make a list without looking at your stuff.
If you had a tornado or fire and lost everything, what items would you want to replace first? What would you mourn the most? Whatever is on your list is what you should keep. The rest is just clutter.
Don’t Burn Yourself Out Before You Even Truly Begin
Trying to do a marathon declutter session is a sure way to crash and burn. Instead of exhausting yourself on a massive overhaul, add decluttering to your daily routine. Set a timer for 15 – 30 minutes and declutter until it goes off. That not only keeps you from wearing yourself out but makes a game out of tidying.
Kick Clutter to the Curb Once and for All
These tips will help you stay decluttered once you’ve already gotten the process started. If you keep them up, after a while, the hacks will become automatic. Imagine the difference it will make when you’re free of all those things that have been holding you down!
Getting rid of a clutter habit isn’t as hard as you think. Staying dedicated to working through your stuff will create a new mindset and great habits to keep you from falling into the clutter trap ever again.