So, I’m in decluttering mode the last couple of weeks. We’ve been in this house about 11 years, so we’ve collected some things and I’ve just noticed lately that there is stuff everywhere. That drives me crazy, so I’ve been decluttering.
I’ve decluttered a few times before, usually before and after moves, but along the way I’ve learned some helpful tips that I think will help you as well.
Slow and Steady
Don’t try to declutter 11 years of junk in 3 days. Instead, break up the job into manageable moments.
- Set a timer for 30 minutes each day.
- Start with one cabinet, closet or corner at a time.
- Focus on making that cabinet, closet or corner completely clutter free and organized.
- Don’t stress if it takes you three days to clean out one cabinet. Take your time and get rid of as much as possible.
Sort items into three or four categories. I like to set up boxes while decluttering for this very thing and then a trash bag for throw away items.
- Keep – Have one box for items you plan to keep and put back in the cabinet. These should only be items that you actually use not items you may use in 20 years. Let’s use my bathroom cabinet as an example. I kept mouthwash, hair stylers and toothpaste.
- Store – Do you have a stockpile? If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you probably do. Here is another article about living on less money that you’ll find helpful. If you find items you will use at some point, store those in your stockpile. For example, I found about 10 bottles of half used shampoo and conditioner my daughter had opened and not finished before opening another. I combined these where appropriate and stored in my stockpile for future use. There’s no sense in wasting money.
- Maybe Keep – Are there items you aren’t quite sure if you should keep? These tend to be items with a bit of sentimental value. For example, I recently cleaned out my dresser and found an old T-shirt and a vest from when my kids were little and involved in different activities. These weren’t things we would use and were very specific so not usable by others. I didn’t want to get rid of these items because I was emotionally attached for whatever reason. I put them in the Maybe Keep pile. More on this pile/box in a moment.
- Throw Away – My final “box”, which is actually a huge garbage bag is for items I want to throw away. This includes little pieces of paper. There were some samples of different things in that bathroom cabinet that I went ahead and pitched. Yes, we could have used them, but knowing my kids, it would have just resulted in little packages laying everywhere, so I got rid of them. Things you throw away will be anything others wouldn’t really want or that you can’t stockpile easily but you no longer need. That flattened tube of toothpaste that is a bit dried up? Bye bye!
Maybe Keep Box
I want to say a little more about the “maybe keep” box or pile of stuff. Once you are finished decluttering, take your time going through this box. These are items you are emotionally attached to. Look at the item and remember why it is important to you.
- Spend some time focusing on the memory.
- Do you have any photos of this memory?
- Do you really need the item to remember the special moment?
Now, get rid of whatever you can. If you absolutely cannot part with it, you can always put into a plastic tote and store it away in the attic. While I think it is much better to get rid of the items if you can, I also realize that some people have strong emotional bonds to items that bring back special memories. Try to at least cut your “maybe keep” box by half, though. Maybe someone else would enjoy the item?
Stick with One Room
Another thing that helps is to stick with one room at a time. If you start jumping around all over your house, you’re not going to see much progress and you’ll soon get tired of the extra work of decluttering.
While it is perfectly fine to clean out a single drawer one day, a cabinet stretched across two other days, and a corner of the room another day, do one thing at a time until that room is completely decluttered and looking the way you want.
It might take you a week or two to completely declutter one single room, but once you are done that room is going to be sleek and fabulous.
I hope these tips help you in your decluttering journey. Do you have other ideas for cutting the clutter? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.
Remember, less clutter means less items to clean. Crabby Housewife likes anything that reduces time spent cleaning house.