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Declutter Your Home: Become Clutter-Free and Organized!

Why Bother to Declutter?

When your surroundings are cluttered your mind will feel that way, too.

Decluttering and organizing your home gives you a sense of control and achievement. It allows you to feel more invigorated and alive.

By getting rid of excess baggage, you can make your home a calm retreat, an oasis from the chaos of the world and the stress that goes along with it.

Being in a well-ordered, organized space can free your mind to relax and think about the important things – spending time with your family and friends, or just relaxing and enjoying your leisure.

Messy Kitchen

How to Declutter:

Decluttering your home can be a daunting task! Definitely not something you can do in one session.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, take it one step at a time. Start small - with a single drawer or cabinet until you get into the swing of it.

Don't try to do too much at once - set aside a half- hour or an hour a week and do it in manageable chunks.

  • Before you start, decide where you will put things to get rid of. For example, if you plan to have a garage sale to sell some of your unwanted items, use a box and label it "garage sale" so you can put things directly in the box when you are going through your clutter. Also have a box or bag for trash and one for things that you plan to give to charity, to other family members, recycle, etc. 
  • Declutter storage space first. Once you get control of drawers, cabinets and closets it will be so much easier to find a home for everything. 
  • Clean out every closet, every drawer, every shelf in every room in your house. Don't forget to declutter storage areas, coat closets, linen closets, the basement, the attic, your car, the garage, the laundry room... Look at every single item critically and ask yourself if you really need or want this item. If you haven't used it in over a year, you probably don't need it. 
  • Be ruthless in deciding what to keep and let go. You can't succeed at decluttering unless you are willing to let stuff go.

The point of decluttering is not to deny yourself the things that you really want to keep, but to free yourself from the burden of having a lot of things that you really don't want or need. You will be surprised at how liberating it feels to get rid of a significant amount of junk - it's kind of like getting a haircut - that free and easy way your hair swings and how light your head feels!

Don't just move things around - you are looking for things to clear out!

Closets - Those clothes that you are keeping for when you lose 10 pounds? Get them out of there! If you do lose that weight, you will want something new and stylish to wear, not that old thing! Only keep things that you don't wear if they have special sentimental value to you, or you spent a lot of money on it and honestly think that you may want it someday. (I have a fur coat like this: I only wear it every couple of years, but I have had it for 25 years and it is nice to have on the rare occasion that I have somewhere dressy to go and it is truly cold.)

If you do have clothing items that you are keeping for sentimental or other reasons, but do not wear, store them away - somewhere other than your closet. You need to see the items that are available for you to wear when you go to your closet to get dressed each morning, you don't want to have to wade through a lot of unwearable stuff. That adds unnecessary stress to your life.

Drawers - Take everything out of the drawers (declutter them one at a time, or you will end up with a huge mess!) and eliminate what you don't need. Then, only put it back in the drawer if it makes sense there. A bottle of aspirin probably shouldn't be in the kitchen drawer - put it away with the other medications (after making sure that it is not out of date).

Bathrooms - Go through your medicine cabinet and throw away everything that is out of date. Also get rid of prescription medications that are no longer used. Go through all of your cosmetics - if it has changed color or texture or smell, get rid of it!

Bookcases - Get rid of books that you or your children no longer want. Also, go through knickknacks, papers, magazines, or any thing else filling up those bookcases.

Under the bed - if you have things stored under beds, be sure you declutter there, too.

What to do with unwanted items

Garage Sale

If you want to have a garage sale, check out these garage sale tips and make it a big success!

Consignment Shops

If you have unwanted clothing or furniture in very good condition you can sell them on consignment. Find out how consignment selling work and how to get the most from using them.

Run a Classified Ad

Where to advertise: You can pay to advertise in your city's newspaper, but it is pretty expensive and there are a lot of other options these days. Some (most?) newspapers have an online version, and some of them offer free classified online ads.

Writing your ad : When writing an ad to sell something, be sure that you include the most important information about the item. What you need to say depends, of course, on what the item is, but some things you may need to remember to include are:

  • Size
  • Condition
  • Color
  • Model number
  • Brand or manufacturer

Be sure, also, to use proper grammar and spelling in your ad.
Most importantly, include a telephone number or other way that you can be contacted.

Give it to Charity

Give things to charity that are truly usable that you don't want anymore. Maybe you don't want to take the time to have a garage sale or deal with consignment shops - then you should give unwanted items in good condition to charity. The key here, is that the things you give away are usable - they don't want your trash! If something is in poor condition you should probably throw it away instead.

Every area has it's own charitable thrift shops. Goodwill and Salvation Army are nationwide; there are probably others that I am not familiar with. Some charities will come to pick things up at your home. Others have drop-off points.

Throw it Away!

For the things that don't fit into any of the above categories, just throw it away! Please throw away clothing items that are badly torn or stained! I used to work for a social service agency that ran a clothes closet for children for which we took donations of used clothing. Most of the donated items were fine, but you would not believe some of the things that some people brought in! I would have been ashamed to give them to anyone! Just use common sense - if you would not put it on your child, what makes you think that someone else would want to put it on theirs?

Keeping your home clutter-free

  • Organize There are many options for home organization. To have an organized home, you can spend a lot of money on organizing systems, or you can come up with your own. I use empty boxes that checks come in to organize pens and things in my desk drawers.

  • Stop clutter before it starts! Keep everything in its place and don't let clutter get a chance to build up again.

  • Deal with paper Paper causes a lot of clutter. Bills, invoices, receipts... it's so easy to let it get out of control. Get a simple system going for incoming mail. You'll need a bin and a 2 tier tray one tray for items requiring action; the other for documents that need to be filed. Set up a filing system. Use a calendar for scheduling things such as appointments or paying bills.

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