It's no secret that we live in a culture of clutter, and hardly anyplace is that more evident than in our homes. Physical clutter can quickly lead to mental/emotional clutter and stress us out, turning our homes from restful retreats into irksome eyesores. My hope is that these decluttering tips for your home will help you clear your home of the excess so that you can enjoy the space you live in!
7 (no-nonsense) Decluttering Tips for Your Home
1. Know WHY If you do not have a guiding purpose behind your decluttering efforts, they will fall apart in a half-baked mess. Why do you want to have a simplified home? Is it because you're sick of dusting a trillion tchotchkes? Is it because your kids have a million toys to play that never seem to get picked up (according to this Boston Globe article, "America has 3.1% of the world’s children but buys 40% of the world’s toys") or is it because the clutter just straight up stresses you out?
Whatever your reason, know why you want to declutter and keep it in mind as you sort through your things. Getting rid of books you'll never read or sentimental items is much easier when you have a clear purpose.
2. Start Small The effort of decluttering can sometimes feel as overwhelming as the clutter itself. Don't allow yourself to be intimidated by your stuff - show IT who's boss! Start with a junk drawer, a hall closet, or a bookshelf, and don't move on until you're done with that one area.
3. Get Boxy Approach that army of clutter with a battle plan. You'll need four large boxes (or bags or bins): one for throwing away, one for donating, one for borrowed items that need to be returned to their rightful owners, and one for items you're on the fence about getting rid of.
4. Touch ONCE The "one touch rule" makes decluttering your home an act of intentionality. As you declutter, don't pick something up, wander around the house looking for it's home, get frustrated, and then set that item down someplace else. Make a decision about whether to keep the item and put it in it's proper place, or relegate it to one of your four boxes. Every piece of clutter is a decision to be made - so make decisions!
5. Check the Expiration Date It's amazing what can grow in a half-eaten jar of pasta sauce that's been camped out in the furthest reaches of your fridge for the past 8 months. There might be tons of things in your home - food, coupons, beauty products, burned down candles - that are expired and, therefore, useless. Chuck 'em!
*Note: this tip also applies to magazines from six years ago, trendy clothes from the 90's, and paraphanelia from failed relationships.
6. Keep the Memory, Not the Thing Sentimental items are some of the hardest to get rid of. I want to tell you this with all the gentleness I can: things will not bring back people, experiences, or events. Don't immediately decide to keep something just because it's sentimental...evaluate if the memory is even worth preserving in physical form.
*Note: you don't have to keep everything to still keep the memory. For example, instead of keeping all of your old dog's toys after they pass away, maybe just keep their dog tags or collar. Instead of hanging onto every piece of silver your Grandma gave you, select a favorite piece and pass along the rest to other relatives.
7. Find Everything a Home Every night, I do a quick sweep through the house to tidy up. It's insanely easy, because A.) we're planning to live in a tiny home someday and therefore have already purged a ton of our possessions, and B.) I know where everything goes. When everything has a home, tidying and decluttering become a seamless process.
Old catalog? Into the recycling bin. Hans' socks? On his nightstand because I hate folding laundry. Banjo's toys? In his toy basket. The movie we borrowed from my sister-in-law? In my purse so I can give it back to her at family dinner.
I sincerely hope that these tips help you conquer your clutter!
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What decluttering tips for your home do YOU have? Share below!