With more people staying home than ever before, people are finally diving into a big declutter project in their house. If you’re new to this process, don’t worry. I’m here to help you prepare for this project so that it’s as easy as humanly possible in 10 easy steps.
10. Get Your Declutter Supplies Ready
You’re going to need a few things before you get started decluttering your house. First, save a few of those cardboard boxes you’re getting from those Amazon Prime deliveries. Even if you’re temporarily moving objects out of the way, you still need to put them somewhere. Those boxes are also going to come in handy if you want to donate anything. Also visit your local dollar store and buy garbage bags with the pull string, in case you plan to donate clothing or throw anything away. Cleaning supplies like paper towels and disinfecting spray are also a must-have, because it’s likely that when you move things around, you’re going to find dust along the way.
9. Try The Snowball Method to Declutter
For some people, the thought of decluttering their house seems overwhelming. They try to get started, but something always holds them back from finishing. If this sounds like you, try something called “the snowball method”. This is when you start out with a small project, and work your way up. As you go, your “snowball” gets bigger and bigger, and gains momentum, until you’ve cleaned your whole house. Some great places to start with the snowball method are small areas of your home like your closet, pantry, or bathroom.
8. Do 5 Minutes at a Time
If the idea of cleaning an entire room seems too overwhelming, start by going for just 5 minutes. You’d be shocked to see how much you can clean in that small amount of time. I personally do this when I need a break from the computer screen while working from home. It feels great to get up, clean, and get my body moving in a productive way for 5 to 20 minutes. Then, I can get back to working again.
7. Go Room-By-Room
One of the easiest methods to declutter your house is to focus on one room at a time. This way, you won’t get overwhelmed by the amount of work it takes to clean your entire house or apartment at once. Give yourself the goal of one room per day, or per week. Just like the snowball method, you’ll feel great after doing just one, and this might give you the motivation to keep going with other rooms in the house.
6. Work on One Item Category at a Time
Professional organizer Marie Kondo recommends focusing on one category at a time, rather than going room by room. For example, in her series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix, you’ll see her encourage clients to take all of their clothes from the entire house, because they might have clothing hidden away in the attic, hallway closet, or guest bedrooms. Once the clothes are in a big pile, you can begin choosing what you want to keep, donate, mend, or throw away. This process usually takes up to a week or two, but it seems to be one of the best ways to declutter a house.
5. Create an Organizational System That Works For You
A lot of the time, people can’t keep their house organized simply because they don’t have the system in place. Remember that your objects need somewhere to belong. If they don’t have a “home”, they’ll just end up creating clutter all over the place. I highly recommend watching The Home Edit, because they show you how containers and shelves can completely change how you organize the things you use on a daily basis.
4. Bring Items Together by Category
One of the best organization tips you can utilize is to bring together common items. For example, if you’re cleaning your bathroom, put all of your hair products in one bin, teeth products in another, etc. This makes it so much easier to find a “home” for those supplies. When you go shopping and you put things away, you know exactly where to store them.
3. Get Rid of The Things You Don’t Need
Preparing for lockdown is a valid reason to stock up on supplies. However, don’t hold onto things that are expired. Consuming expired food or personal goods can make you sick, and we need to all stay as healthy as possible right now. This is also a good time to take a critical look at all of the things you have been holding onto with the plan of using it ”someday”. Now that we have all had plenty of time on our hands to be bored out of our minds, how many of those “someday” products did you actually reach for?
2. Donate Unused Items
In the last entry, I talked about throwing away things you don’t need. A lot of those objects could be donated to someone who needs it. For example, canned food that you don’t actually plan to eat can be given to a food bank. Your excess clothing, puzzles, board games, and other unwanted items could be very useful to a family who recently lost their job. A lot of people go by the 20-20 rule. If the object is under $20 and you can buy it within a 20 minute drive of your house, it’s really not a huge tragedy if you give something away, only to realize you needed it later. I am someone who donates things constantly. Out of the dozens of times I donated things, I can only remember one time where I actually needed to re-purchase something I gave away.
1. Storage Tubs Are Your Friend
One of my “secret weapons” is that I organize my belongings in plastic storage tubs. After I follow steps 1 through 9, I’m still left with things I want to keep, but they have no “home” in my everyday living space. These are holiday decorations, sentimental items, or brand new things I plan to use once I buy my own house. For these, I use storage tubs and put them away in the attic of my parent’s home. Once a year, I go in the attic and re-visit these items to remind myself of what’s in there and re-evaluate if I should keep them or not.