Clutter is anything in your home that is not useful to you and that you do not love.
There are many reasons people accumulate clutter. Homeowners often don’t realize when their possessions have crept into this category. There is just-in-case clutter, nostalgia clutter, gift clutter, even guilt clutter. Whether it’s a box of old photos, a coffee maker waiting to be fixed, or a gift that you’ve never used, it’s sure to fall under one of these categories by the reason it still occupies the space in your home and life. Recognizing this can help you better deal with it and start prioritizing.
Rules for Decluttering
- If you haven’t used it, worn it or looked at it in a year, it needs to find a new home.
- Try to overcome guilt when it comes to old unused gifts.
- If you’re holding on to something old or broken “just in case” or you’re “planning to fix it”, and it hasn’t come up in a few months, it’s time to say goodbye.
- Digitize your memories. Taking a picture of something can replace holding onto the object itself.
- Don’t delay dealing with the growing piles.
- Plan out functional storage solutions you can stick with.
How to Start
- Don’t wait until you have a whole weekend to deal with it because it will never happen. Assign time every day for at least an hour and start the process.
- Work by category. The reason for this is to avoid just moving things from room to room, but really addressing them. Also, the same category will usually depart to the same destination so this also increases efficiency.
- Start with the easy stuff – low hanging fruit. This will create a momentum.
- Define CATEGORIES such as Clothes, Toys, Papers, Kitchen, etc.
- Decide on DESTINATION:
- KEEP – immediately identify location and storage solution.
- SELL – higher value items that can find a new home. You can take it to the consignment store, or find a buyer online through many different platforms.
- DONATE – items not worth the effort to sell but in good condition and useful for someone in need. You can find charities that accept different categories and also pick to support the cause dear to your heart. Make sure to keep the receipts for a tax write off.
- TRASH – things that would be of no use to anyone because of their condition or function. Make sure to distinguish what is junk and what can be recycled.
- Create different piles by destination and schedule to distribute without a delay.
- Consider seasonality of items. Both when storing the KEEP items and also for donations.
How to Stick With it It
- To create and maintain order, plan and set up adequate functional storage.
- Analyze habits that lead to clutter – shopping, accepting samples, giveaways and hand-me-downs, holding onto magazines and junk mail, making impulsive purchases, collecting.
- Introduce in-and-out rule. For something new to come in, one old item (being replaced) needs to go.
- Set a bin aside and as soon as you see something is not used or broken, separate it there. When the bin gets full, deal with outcasts immediately so the clutter can never grow.
- Schedule regular seasonal check points to do switchovers and asses what is not used any longer. April for spring cleaning, August for back to school, and December for year-end and new beginnings.
Once you start the process you will feel the sense of control and lightness. Your possessions won’t be taking over your life and as the load reduces the space will open up and energy will start to flow.