When you think of the word declutter, what do you feel? Dread? Stress? Joy?
From my observations the more stuff we hold on to, the harder it is to declutter. Conversely, the more you do it, the more you’re able to do it.
I really believe it’s a habit you gain with practice.
But why is decluttering important? Well, I believe it’s a part of making our house a home. A place of relaxation, instead of stress and chaos.
That’s not to say that I think bare minimalism is the way forward, rather that I think it’s important to only hold on to that which we care enough to manage.
If you really want this part of your life not to be overwhelming, then I recommend you follow the maintenance tips 5, 6 and 7.
I declutter quite regularly but I still need to improve in this area. As such, I’ve included some tips I use regularly that help me declutter and some others I’ve discovered through research and I want to implement. For instance, numbers 2 and 7.
So here goes:
How to declutter fast
1. Start in one area, one room at a time
Decluttering in a methodical fashion is the best way to get it done efficiently and to start and finish tasks while maintaining your sanity.
If you go around decluttering one area and then one room at a time, you will feel less overwhelmed by the enormity of decluttering the whole house, and you’ll save time too.
You could start in one of the bedrooms at the top of the house, for instance, and then move down. Or start at the bottom and move your way up.
2. Use a big basket
Get some baskets and place labels with the names of the different rooms. Then place each basket near the front door of the room you’re decluttering, and then whenever you find items that belong to another room simply place them in the relevant basket.
When you’re simply tidying your house, you can do something similar and walk around with a big laundry basket and reassign items to the different rooms as you walk around.
3. Keep bin bags nearby
Have bin bags ready near you to throw away all and any materials that need to be chucked. If you do recycling, you can even have separate bin bags for that too.
Where I live I have to sort the recycling into the different types – plastic, paper, glass – so it’s useful to separate all the items straight away, rather than having to reorganize them later.
4. Keep a donate box nearby
Finally, get a couple of boxes ready for donation and take them around with you to the different rooms. If you’re not sure whether some items are to be donated or not – let’s say your husband or children’s items- and you want to check with them first, you can also have a separate box for this.
I know all this means a lot of boxes, bags and bins, but you can do this in stages. Or you can put things in piles on the floor and then at the end put them in the relevant boxes, bags, and baskets.
Do whatever works best for you.
I like having the bin bags next to me, the donate boxes near the door (I make piles on the floor and then take them to the boxes), and the baskets also near the door. (But I only go round with the baskets to the different rooms, after I’ve finished all the bin and donate items.)
5. Create a decluttering routine
Create a weekly, biweekly, or monthly schedule for decluttering different areas or rooms in your house.
I like including this in my TOMM cleaning routine so I usually do this every two or three weeks on Wednesdays, which is my focus cleaning day.
6. Declutter hotspots every day or every few days
Hotspots are areas of your house where things tend to get dumped.
The entrance hall table, kitchen table, and bedroom chair are good examples of this, but they may be different in your home.
Work out which are the hotspots in your home, and then create a 5 minute routine of decluttering that area regularly. (Every day or every two or three days.)
You can also organize the hotspot by placing a couple of small boxes/baskets on the surface.
In my home the hotspot areas are the entrance hall shoe rack (we use the surface to put down keys, but usually other things end up on there), the kitchen table, and the little side tables in the living-room.
Because I know these are hotspots, I now go round them regularly looking for clutter to tidy away.
7. Declutter items that belong in a specific category
You can assign days for decluttering specific items: papers, clothes, toys, books, etc. If you decide to do a decluttering session once every two weeks, you could write down in your calendar/planner what items you will be decluttering that day.
I find that paper is by far what needs decluttering the most, because the children do a lot of drawings and crafts, and I need to go through their works of art and keep some, and recycle others.
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