Make Decluttering Your Home As Easy As 1..2..3..
Stuff. We all have it and most of us have too much of it! Some of that stuff you might use or maybe it’s sentimental, but if we’re being honest, most of that stuff is exactly what it is—just stuff, random, broken, never used stuff. So how do we get rid of all this excess stuff? The magic answer you’re looking for is to Declutter! We get it, decluttering is tough, material possessions can be difficult to get rid of because we all like to play the “what if” game. "What if I need it later", What if it comes back in style”, “What if I’ll forget this great memory if I don’t have a visual reminder ” (If you have ratty t-shirts from every vacation you’ve ever been on, you know exactly what we’re talking about!).
To help you get a start on your decluttering journey—yes it will be a journey— we’ve picked 5 of our favorite Decluttering Methods that are sure to help you minimize your overabundance of stuff and ultimately feel more organized!
Three Box Method
Pick any space in your house—this works best for closets and toy rooms— and set up three boxes, one for “maybes”, one for donating, and one for trash. Go through your space, if you haven’t used an item in the last month, put it in one of the boxes. If you think you want to keep it, put it in the maybe box. If you can’t remember the last time you used the item, if it doesn’t hold sentimental value, and if it’s in good condition, donate it. If it’s holey, broken, chipped or stained, toss it in the trash/recycling box! After you’ve finished the space, set your maybe box aside, after three weeks if at some point you end up going into the box and pulling something out that you need, keep it. If you don’t revisit the box of “maybes” at all after three or four weeks, donate everything in it— You haven’t missed or thought about the items over the last month, and chances are you won’t think about them again.
The Five Questions Method
Apartment Therapy describes decluttering as a mental exercise more than a physical one. Taking a random charging cable out of your junk drawer and placing it into a donation box isn’t a big challenge for many people. But getting over your mental roadblocks is tougher: After all: What if you need that cable? The solution is becoming a ruthless, confident declutterer.
To become a confident declutterer, try following Apartment Therapy’s 5 Questions Method:
- Have I used this item in the past year? This one’s easy. Try to remember a time when you used the thing you’re weighing on. If it hasn’t been worn, used, or appreciated since last fall, let it go.
- Will I use it in the year ahead? Try to resist any thoughts about how you “might” use it, and find something more concrete: Will you use it? If you don’t have a real need or plan to do something with it, the answer is “no”.
- Would I buy this again today? Does it work? Does it fit? Do you have another thing that does the same job? Do you even like it anymore? Try to be present and mindful about your current tastes, habits, and priorities.
- Is it worth fixing, if it’s broken? Consider whether you would use the broken item if it were in good shape (see question number 3 above). And weigh the cost of fixing the thing against the cost of replacing it. And will you actually get it done? Soon?
- Would I keep this if I moved? Would it be worth packing up, moving, and unpacking in a new space? We tend to be a little more ruthless and honest with ourselves about what stays and what goes when we’re moving from one home to another.
One-Room Reset Method
Pick any room in your house—this method is great for your home office, living room, and bedroom— and take it down to the bare minimum. We’re talking only furniture, your bed, nightstand, desk, couch, coffee table, ect. Remove everything from artwork and lamps to table books, plants, and knickknacks. Once you’ve removed everything, give that space a deep clean and sit on it for at least 4 days. Leaving your space empty with the exception of the essentials, will give you a clearer idea of what you actually need in a space, it’ll also give you an idea of what you actually like in your space as well. If you find after a few days that you’re not missing that bulky DVD collection you haven’t touched since you got Netflix or that random table book you’ve only looked at once, consider putting those items in storage or donating them. After a few days, start filling your space in with items that you actually missed—think plants, artwork, lamps. Take the time to redesign your space and arrange these items in a way that brings you joy. By doing this you’ll find your space feels more personal, comfortable and ultimately cleaner!
Pick a room, set a timer for 15 minutes, grab a bag, box or basket and start searching the room for clutter, putting it in your basket as you go. Look for:
- Empty Cups
- Work Papers, important notes, your kiddo’s homework
- Magazines and books
- Planners, journals and notepads
- Art and Hobby Supplies
- Pens, Pencils, Highlighters
- Parts of an in-progress project
- Puzzles, Games, Toys
- Keys and Wallet
- Purses and Backpacks
- Electronics and charging cords
- Glasses, Hair ties, Nail Clippers, Lotion
- Broken or Damaged Items
- Items you no longer want to keep
Once your 15-minute timer is up, set another timer for 10 minutes. In your last 10 minutes, make sure all of the items are in organized and in their proper home, or set aside to be donated or thrown away. Doing a 25-minute declutter in a different room at least once a week will help your home stay organized and will give you the opportunity to get rid of items that you no longer need.
The Outbox Method is a small and easy way to stay on top of your clutter on a daily basis. Simply find a box, bag or basket, make this your “outbox” and give it a home, preferably somewhere that won’t be in the way if it sits there for a week or so. Each day find one item to put in your outbox, this can be a sweater you never wear, a toy your kiddo has outgrown, a duplicate utensil, a random cord that you’ve been holding on to “just in case you need it”… At the end of the week, go through your outbox. Trash the broken or unusable items and pack up the items that can be donated. Do this every week until you feel your clutter is under control. If you have more clutter than you can handle, instead of picking one item every day, try picking one item from each room in your house every day, after a few weeks we guarantee you’ll start to feel you have that clutter under control!