De-cluttering your home, which can be a challenge, is possible. Whether you are tackling a small de-cluttering job or you are taking on your entire home, the approach is basically the same, relatively easy and it will work if you stay true to your mission.
5 easy steps to de-cluttering
Step 1 – Make the commitment
Start by making a commitment to yourself. You can do it and you will do it! You are tired of being too embarrassed to invite friends in for dinner. You are tired of that out-of-control feeling. You are going to rid your home of clutter. You are on a mission and you are going to accomplish it!
Step 2 – Develop a plan
You need a plan. If your home isn’t seriously over-cluttered, you may be able to get the job done in a few days or over a weekend. Pick a date and circle it on your calendar to make it official. Have all family members pitch in, including the kids who can take responsibility for de-cluttering their own rooms.
If your home is seriously cluttered you will need more than a few days. Don’t consider the project insurmountable. It isn’t. Break it down into small incremental parts – one step at a time, one room at a time, one closet at a time. Set reasonable goals and you will succeed.
Step 3 – Take action!
Get going immediately before you change your mind. Stock up on trash bags and bins for easy sorting and tossing. Designate a bin for items that need to be trashed. Have another bin for items to be recycled. Have separate bins or bags for clothes and items you are keeping. Anything you haven’t worn or used in the last six months or year should go. If you’re not sure about an item, toss it. You need to be firm. Also, get rid of duplicates. If you have more than one of the same item, keep one and get rid of the other. One is okay. Two is clutter.
Assign some bins for gently used clothes, toys, books and miscellaneous items to be donated to charities. Get the charity items out of your home and delivered as soon as possible. Don’t store them in the garage for some indefinite time in the future.
Get the whole neighborhood involved in your de-cluttering project. Group support works as a great motivator. Organize a “neighborhood de-clutter day” tag sale. Your over-cluttered neighbors will love the idea. Pick a date, do some advertising, hang a few signs and get rid of your clutter while making a few extra dollars in the process.
Step 4 – Organize
Once you have de-cluttered, organize the remaining items. Organization is one of the most important steps in the de-clutter process. Without organization, the clutter soon piles up and the cycle starts all over again. The wise old adage, “A place for everything and everything in its place” must become your mantra.
The easiest way to organize is to use organizers. There are organizers to accommodate every size, shape, purpose and price range. Organizers can easily be found online and at your local stores. There are organizers that fit in drawers, over doors, under beds, in closets. There are shower caddies for the bathroom, shoe racks for the bedroom, rotating carousels for the kitchen cupboard, overhead racks for your pots and pans. Plastic containers, stackable bins, shelves and cubbies work great in kids’ rooms for keeping toys, craft supplies and other items organized. Keep a “drop-off” bin in your back hallway or garage. Encourage family members to drop things in the bin they no longer use or need.
Step 5 – Seek support
If you work better in a structured environment, consider hooking up with the FlyLady a fun online support site that helps people tackle clutter and other household tasks. The FlyLady advocates the “15 minutes a day” approach. She warns that clutter attracts clutter, creating hot spots throughout your home that continue to grow as you continue to clutter. If you join her site (which is free) you will receive regular emails of encouragement and small daily tasks to complete. Before you know it, your home will be delightfully clutter-free!
If your clutter problem is far too much for you to tackle, coming close to qualifying as a fire or safety hazard, consider hiring a professional to do the job. There are many companies that specialize in de-cluttering peoples’ homes.
The easiet way to successfully de-clutter your home is to make the commitment to do it and then follow up with a plan. Set reasonable goals and make incremental steps toward progress. Some de-clutter jobs will take only a few days to accomplish. Others will require a longer range plan and possibly some outside help. With determination and a continued commitment, your home will be your haven again, looking good and clutter-free!