"Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination." — Christina Scalise.Are you tired of feeling like your stuff has taken over your home? Like no matter how much you clean and organize, the clutter just doesn't seem to go away? If so, you're not alone. Like millions of others across the nation, you've realized it is time to declutter your home.
Annually, Americans spend $1.2 trillion on goods and services they don't need, leading to a build-up of 300,000 items in the average American home. Whether you seek a more minimalistic lifestyle or simply want to tidy up your home, decluttering can do wonders for the mind. Reclaim your space and put an end to clutter!
No need to overwhelm yourself. Build up momentum by spending 5 to 10 minutes a day decluttering. Then, create small, achievable goals. Start by giving away one item a day. As you get into the declutter groove, make your goals more impactful in terms of the desired result. For instance, if you have a lot of clothes, pack a box a day to donate until only your most-worn items remain.
When you have a visual guide for what you need to accomplish, overwhelming tasks become more manageable. To declutter, create a "read-do" checklist, which works like a recipe. You complete one task after another so that you can accomplish a specific outcome. In this case, you may focus on one room or group of items at a time. Today, you may target pots and pans, followed tomorrow by your books.
Pick one space in which to begin your decluttering journey. The goal is to spearhead decluttering that space to gain momentum as you tackle the rest of your house. Has your pantry been driving you crazy? Does your junk drawer haunt your thoughts? Has your laundry room spun out of control? Whatever area begs for your attention, focus solely on that space. Choose an area that will provide you with instant gratification.
Think of your timeline as a plan — where will you start and when. How you set up your plan will depend on what works best for you.
As you go through items, you'll need somewhere to put them. This is why you should develop a strategic sorting system. Feel free to use your own method or try out the popular three-box method. Gather three large boxes or storage bins and sort your items as follows.
If your closet needs to be decluttered, ask yourself some simple questions as you sift through each item. Do you love it? Do you wear it? Does it fit? As you answer these questions, have a box ready to donate. That will make purging your closet that much easier. If you're feeling overwhelmed, commit to a weekly clutter sweep. If you spend 15 minutes twice a week in your closet, you'll reclaim that valuable space in no time.
Consciously develop new, more productive habits. When items have a home, it's easier to keep things in order. So, if you take something out, put it back where it belongs. If an area starts to get crowded, minimize that space before it gets out of control. Creating new habits takes time, but if you do it over and over again, one day, it'll just click.
Have room under the bed? Take advantage of this storage opportunity. Do you have vertical space you're not taking advantage of? Add some shelves to store items that aren't used often, such as seldom-used kitchen appliances. Also, maximize your counter space. Whether it's in the kitchen or bathroom, clearing your cluttered countertops can make a space look much more neat and organized. Find a home for the items that once sat on the counter and, if need be, leverage the sorting system discussed above.
Do you have flyers, old magazines, and catalogs hanging around for no reason? It's time to recycle them. Old bills can go through a shredder, and all excess cardboard in your home should go straight into your recycling bin. Paper and cardboard have a tendency to pile up, so if you're looking for a small task, this is a great place to start.
Organizing and decluttering take time. Before you take on too much, be realistic about the time and energy a specific project will take. Don't pull everything out, only to shove it all back into your closet when you need to do something else. You'll be worse off than you were when you started. Life gets in the way — so always tackle projects in small chunks.
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