Decluttering your home can change your life. It can also take forever to finish and make a huge mess to accomplish. Many people envision having to pull everything they own out of the closet and putting it back. You can declutter that way but it is unnecessary. Decluttering can mean taking five minutes to focus on getting rid of things you do not need or have room for.
You do not have to take everything out of cabinets and closets and spend hours sorting. You can break the work up. So, I am providing you with a checklist. I am decluttering my kitchen right now and I take it one cabinet at a time. One day at a time. Decluttering is not a race it’s about simplifying your life. By breaking decluttering tasks up the chore is less tedious and I find I do a much better job. When you remove everything at some point, you may end up rushing or getting overwhelmed.
If you pick 1-2 tasks per day and break up the harder ones up, you will have your home decluttered in a month or less. For example makeup is on the list. For some of us decluttering our makeup is an easy and fast take. My post about make up expiration dates will help you with that. When you take on a decluttering task, you know is easy pick a larger project to do as the second task. Do the second task in segments. Spend 5-20 minutes on it.
Closets can be easy to declutter in segments. Use a piece of cardboard to to mark your progress. Start on one end of the closet. Work on it a daily until you finish. I also recommend moving items you are unsure if you want to keep where you see them first. If after a month you did not wear them donate them. If clothing or shoes do not fit donate or sell them.
You will note the checklist separates toys and stuffed animals. This is for two reasons. One stuffed animals are harder to donate. Check with your charity of choice before sorting through them. Two decluttering your children’s toys can take longer than your closet. I also recommend involving the child. When I was about 9, my mother threw away my favorite stuffed animals while I was at school. When I came home, the neighbors’ children had fished them out of the garbage and were playing with them. That was upsetting.
How would you feel if your mother came over and threw away your possessions? By involving your kids you are teaching them about trust and respect. This will also teach them organization skills they need as they get older. If they say no to every toy negotiate. Put toys you do not agree on in a box. If they have not played those toys within an agreed amount of time, then donate the toys that remain in the box. They can keep toys they play with. Involve your child in the process of donating. Donate to a women’s shelter and explain their old toys will go to children in need. Or help them give the toys to other children you know will appreciate them. Show them how much good their old toys can do by letting them go.
The kitchen may not come to mind when we imagine clutter. We all use it daily. How else would we eat? This room has a purpose. So does the things in it. Yet we all have clutter in our kitchens. For some this is junk drawer. Someone like myself the clutter is coffee mugs and plastic souvenir cups. Canned goods that are collecting dust. Kitchen appliances we no longer used like the crock pot. The kitchen towel drawer is full of old kitchen towels. Re-purpose things you feel may be hard to part with. Old kitchen towels can make excellent cleaning rags. Old jars or Tupperware may better off used to organize art supplies, in the bathroom, or in the garage.
Whatever is unused needs to go. If you love that souvenir cup from a vacation 5 years ago use it. Find a purpose for it. Use it as a pen cup. Put it on display. Do not let it take up precious space anymore. I recently let go of our souvenir cups. They were taking up space in my pantry. I had no issue decluttering them until I saw them sitting in the decluttering box. I felt a pang for a second and went to rescue one. Then I realized I did not think about the cups unless I saw them and I never did so off they went. There is room for goods we buy in bulk. I will not miss those cups.
Paper Clutter can be a real pain to get rid of. The IRS says to keep tax documents for three years. Actually, it’s a little complicated so read this post from the IRS. Remember, you can scan or take pictures of older paper clutter like cards or programs. Kids drawings and other sentimental things are ok to keep if you have room. I have a box designated for paper clutter. That is all I allow myself to keep.
You can also enact a one in one out rule. If you save cards and letters this helps keep the clutter to a minimum. You save a new card purge an old one. Some people cut old cards up so they can reuse the picture on the front as gift tags. Shred everything that has personal information on it. Recycle what you can. Especially old newspapers and magazines. Some libraries that have used book shops will take magazines, DVD's, and CD’s so check with them. Sign up for paperless billing. It’s better for the environment and will reduce paper clutter.
DVD‘s and CD‘s are wonderful but create a lot of clutter and can take up so much space. I have removed all my CD’s and DVD‘s from the cases. You can recycle the plastic and put the discs in an organizer. I have much more room now. Now I avoid buying physical DVD‘s and CD‘s now to eliminate waste and save space. iTunes and Amazon Streaming a great for eliminating clutter.
As much as I love to read I also steer clear of physical copies of books. I love to read and because I usually read at least 30 books a year, I use a Kindle. For 6 years I have had a Kindle Fire, and it has hundreds of books on it and it takes up zero space.
To save space in the linen closet, we roll our towels. We also upcycle old towels that are fraying. I will cut them into squares and use them as cleaning rags. These are best for cleaning up spills. Especially on the carpet. Old sheets or donated or re-purposed. I have sewn amazing Disney purses out of old Disney sheets.
When you declutter the bathroom donate travel toiletries, you will never use. Pass on or toss lotions and shampoos you will not use. Especially if the formula is not compatible with your hair or skin type. Organize items you use every day in a caddy.
Amazon has many affordable organization items. You can also get cheap and cute baskets and organizers at your local dollar store. Before you declutter I suggest stocking up on organization products. I use a three tier organizer for my beauty products. You can use utensil organizers in bathroom drawers. The bathroom is one of the easiest rooms to declutter because you will find you do not need that many personal hygiene products. In fact using too many can be bad for your skin or hair so less is more.
Remember decluttering is about removing unnecessary items. You need not throw everything you own away. Start small. Pick something easy like the junk drawer or old newspapers. Take your time to declutter the entire house. Make small changes. Decluttering a little each day sets you up for success. This process will make you appreciate and use what you keep more.
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