The Clutter Bug. We all know him. The slick soothsayer scampers from table to desk, kitchen to bedroom, piling papers and clothes, convincing you that you’re organized despite his evidence to the contrary.
It’s overwhelming. Even worse, it’s a creeping sort of chaos. You often don’t notice your Clutter Bug until you trip over a shoe you haven’t seen in weeks.
But all hope is not lost. While there’s no method to his madness, the Clutter Bug has one big weakness: organization. It's time to vanquish him once and for all — here's how to declutter your home in six easy steps.
1. Get in the Decluttering Mindset
Let’s get Zen. Take a look at the things you seldom use and consider if you need them. Throw out or sell what you don’t, and you’ll only have to clean or organize what’s left.
Before you sigh and reach for the 30-gallon trash bags, walk through every room and just look. If you don’t have a strong reaction to an item, that’s a sign it’s time to say farewell.
Ridding yourself of unnecessary junk is important. Your living environment has an impact on the person you are right now and the one you want to be. Get in the decluttering mindset, and you’ll find your spirit revitalized and energy renewed.
2. Start with Your Storage
We’re guessing that if your home is cluttered, your storage space is also cluttered. Let’s start there so you have more room to store later when you declutter your home. If you haven’t used an item in the past year, you should probably pitch it. Make sure items are organized against the walls, with similar objects, and even elevated wherever possible. Think of your garage or storage unit for what it is — four walls of real estate.
Don’t have a dedicated storage space? Consider converting a part of your garage, building an outdoor shed, or using your guest room closet for storage. If none of those work, consider renting a portable container to store the items you don’t need on a daily basis. Storage space — even a small one — will go a long way in helping you declutter your home.
3. Confront the Elephant in the Room
Not all clutter is small. Your room might be cramped because of that giant, unused sectional. Or that oversized replica of a storm trooper. Or that extra painting taking up far too much wall space. You already have a gym membership — could your exercise bike go? The bigger the item, the more likely it’s taking up unnecessary space.
4. Consolidate Seasonal Items
Do you own a Christmas tree? How about an inflatable Santa and eight not-so-tiny reindeer? Ornaments, decorations and costumes could be taking up valuable real estate in your house. Don’t overlook the turkey fryer or good dishes you only use at Thanksgiving or Christmas, either. Declutter your home by consolidating these items and tucking them away for seasonal storage.
Even though you don’t use them often, seasonal items are usually things you’ll want to keep, so they should be the first to be moved to a new storage space. Packing and gathering similar items together means you’re already halfway there to getting the declutter help you need!
5. Sort and Purge
A good rule for decluttering is if you haven’t used it in three months, sort through it. If you haven’t used it in six months to a year, throw it out.
Pull things out of your drawers and closets. Lay them out so you can see everything. This is especially useful for clothes and kitchen items. Seeing items individually can make it a lot easier to let things go.
Did you know in 1930, the average woman only had 36 pieces of clothing in her closet? Today, the average woman has roughly 120, most of them going unworn.
Here’s your game plan:
Sell or Donate:
- Clothes that don’t fit or that you haven’t worn in six months
- Furniture and decor items that don’t fit your current style
- Unused items from your last move
- Unopened, unused gifts (sorry every body who gave socks)
- Old computers and unused TVs (Make sure your data is wiped and these are properly disposed of)
- Expired food or medicine
- Broken items
- Half-finished projects
- Clothes and shoes that are too far gone to donate
- Old magazines
6. Give Each Room the Final Walkthrough
You’ll need a big box for the final step. Carry it with you as you walk from room to room collecting odd items you don’t need to have on hand, but you want to keep.
Move through each room quickly. If you need to think too long about whether an item should stay or go, put it in the box. Once it’s nice and full of everything from that set of kitchen knives you don’t actually use to Grandma’s gifted holiday coasters, put it in storage. Open the box back up next year, and if you still find you don’t need certain things, it might be time for step five again!
Kick Out That Clutter Bug
That’s it. You’ve done it! The Clutter Bug has been banished from your home and you can now enjoy a more organized life. That wasn’t so hard, right?
But you’ll have to remain vigilant against his slippery ways. The best way to keep organized is to maintain a daily, weekly, or even monthly decluttering system — whatever works best for you. Just be sure to stick to it. Get a jump start by checking out all the other ways you can organize your home. For more declutter help, be sure to read some of our other storage articles.