Decluttering is a hot topic. It’s an important task for homeowners to do before selling their house, but it’s also something that can be beneficial for anyone. “Clutter” is the accumulation of items in your space; items you don’t use, and it’s you use but don’t have a space dedicated for them.
Clutter can impact us in a number of ways. First, it can be a timewaster. Have you ever had to dig through a pile of papers to find something important? Second, and possibly most importantly, clutter can have an impact on a person’s mental health; it can be distracting to look at and cause some people to feel overwhelmed.
Whatever your reason, spending some time decluttering your home can leave you feeling refreshed and organized. Here are a few tips to start you on your decluttering journey and some ideas around maintaining your organized home (a crucial step if you don’t want to undo all your hard work).
The Initial Decluttering
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. It can be overwhelming to think you have to declutter your entire home in one day. Take it room by room (or even smaller), and give each area of your own some dedicated time.
Areas in your home you can declutter today
- Your office or desk – This is a common clutter area. Take the time to look at all the items on your desk before you tuck them away. Do you have a pile of old sticky notes and lists? Try consolidating them in a digital to do list app.
- Your closet – If you can’t tackle your closet all in one day, do one category at a time (pants, shirts, shoes, bags, etc.)
- Your bathroom and medicine cabinet – We’re pretty confident you’ll have an expired item or two in your bathroom.
- Linen closet – When was the last time you took inventory of your towels, sheets, pillow cases and blankets?
- Kitchen – This is a huge space, but you can take it drawer by drawer. For example, how many one-use kitchen gadgets do you have? And when was the last time you used them?
Give everything a home
Decluttering can become a vicious cycle if you’re simply moving items from one counter to another spot. You’ll have the most success if every single item has a home. If it doesn’t have a home, think: Do I need this item? Where does it make sense for this item to live? When everything lives in a specific spot in your home, you’ll have a much easier (and quicker) time putting things away in the future.
Get the clutter out of the house
After all your hard work, the nicest thing you can do for yourself is to get the clutter out! Don’t pile it in the garage or in your trunk. Take the time to drive your donations to a donation center right away. You don’t want to make more work for yourself once to get to your garage, and you’d be surprised how some items can make their way back into your home.
Maintaining the System
Make it a routine
If you’re worried the clutter is going to creep back into your life. Try incorporating some decluttering into your daily or weekly routine. For example, do you have a favourite weekly podcast? When it’s time to listen, spend that hour or so tidying up a main area of your home (and put the items back where they belong, rather than simply tucking them away for a quick fix).
Find time for quick clean-ups
It’s amazing when you realize that daily tasks don’t actually take as long as you think they do. In fact, a lot of us probably spend more time dreading certain chores. Find small patches of time in your day to keep the clutter away from busy areas of your home. For example, do your microwave your coffee? Spend 45 seconds tidying your kitchen counter while your coffee reheats.
Communicate with your family
There’s nothing more frustrating than when you spend a day organizing an area of your home and someone makes a mess. But here’s the thing: when you organized, say, your refrigerator. You categorized and created a system for all the items. Your family members may not see your system. One of the ways you can maintain your home is by communicating with your family members. Next time you’re all the kitchen, call them over and say “I put all of the condiments in the refrigerator door shelves. Can we try to put condiment bottles back there?”
Label where necessary
One way you can maintain organization and communicate with your family at the same time is by labeling specific shelves, boxes, bins, etc. You don’t need to go overboard and label your refrigerator shelves, but certain areas can really benefit. For example, bins can be used to contain specific types of toys and labelled so everyone knows what belongs in each bin.