Decluttering has been one of the biggest trends of the year. In fact, systems of decluttering, like Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and the 12-12-12 method, have been popular for a while now.
Sixty-five percent of Americans feel that their living spaces are disorganized, and judging by the popularity of decluttering methods, they don’t like it.
Why? Well, many reasons. People feel less stress when their homes and garages are not filled with random stuff or piles of unorganized things. Homes can also be more attractive when they’re minimalistic — just a focal piece or two can make a space pop more than a whole shelf of knick-knacks.
The Benefits of Decuttering
There are several benefits for decluttering as well. First of all, it allows you to focus on what you do have and get pleasure out of it. That’s one of the main attractions of Kondo’s books: Don’t keep it around unless it brings you happiness.
Decluttering can also help you stay within a budget. If you have a lot of clutter, you may not be able to find or remember if you have certain things. So, if you need some rubber bands, you may find yourself buying more and not remembering they’re in the kitchen drawer somewhere.
Additionally, one person’s clutter is another person’s treasure. Clutter may be stuff you could sell online or at a flea market.
Related Article: How to Embrace Minimalism When You Have A Lot of Stuff
So, how do you get rid of clutter clogging your space? Here are six tips:
Set Attainable Goals
Decluttering is like anything else — you need to set attainable goals. If you were setting goals for losing weight, for instance, you wouldn’t strive to lose 10 lbs. in a week. You want those goals to be realistic, otherwise, you’ll get discouraged. Setting goals that are possible to achieve ensures they won’t just fall by the wayside.
You might want to set goals by month or even by room. A decluttered kitchen in two weeks, for example, might be more doable than a spotless house in one week.
Prioritize Your Space
Draw a rough map of your house. Then, identify either where you have the most clutter or where the clutter bothers you the most. It’s your choice which you tackle first.
Then, prioritize each space. Don’t leave out garages and back yards. Even if they aren’t the priority, they still need to be addressed. No matter where you end up starting first, decluttering is very rewarding as you begin to see the results in your prioritized areas.
Define Clutter In Your Own Way
We may all have slightly different definitions of “clutter.” One useful definition is “things that have no value or no longer serve a purpose.” If your children have outgrown clothes that still hang in the closet, that’s clutter. Four rolls of holiday gift wrap in your utility closet? Some people may say clutter, while you say “sale price and a good deal.”
So think through how you define clutter and follow through with eliminating it. If you’ve decided everything you haven’t used in a year has to go, don’t look at your old ice cream maker and think, “Well, I haven’t used it in four years, but this could be the year.” Just get rid of it!
Sometimes clutter is located in paper and records. If you have files of tax returns and mortgage/rent receipts, or tons of photographs and pictures, one way to remove clutter is to digitize them rather than having them take up space in your home. Digitization also eliminates the need for files, photographs, etc. to take up space in file drawers or cabinets. Go paperless with all your accounts and bill companies. You can store other things in there instead.
The same goes for entertainment. Books, music, movies and TV shows are all available digitally, which eliminates the need to have physical versions. It also eliminates the need for bookcases or music and DVD cabinets.
Use the Four-Box Method
You’ll need to plan to declutter effectively. One good way is the four-box method. In it, you designate boxes to put your stuff in. The names/themes of those boxes include:
- Throw out
Then, begin your decluttering process. In the first room you’ve prioritized, start sorting the clutter into the boxes. The vial of old perfume or cologne on your bedroom dresser? Out! A TV remote left over from the last TV? Out! Pillows? Keep! Clean sheets still in laundry basket? Store the sheets and relocate the laundry basket to the laundry area, if there is one.
Rotate Out-Of-Season Clothes
Clothes and closets are a particular subcategory in decluttering. You may have a full-to-bursting closet and not be able to see the floor. But that doesn’t mean the “too much” is clutter — it could be because your closet is holding everything from sub-zero parkas to swimsuits.
One method of dealing with closets is to remember the 80%/20% rule. At any given time, we use about 20% of what we have. Eighty percent, in other words, is unused. That means you might want to hang on to your flip flops, shorts and bathing suit, but you’ll want to organize them in a bin on the top closet shelf. Then, you can keep just the necessary seasonal items at your fingertips.
It can be rewarding and even like a game as you see your home emerge in a more organized and sparkling way. Ready? Use these methods to get your space decluttered by the end of the year!
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