With the winter months right around the corner, many of us are anticipating more time indoors. It is around this time every year that I realize that I have accumulated some, (actually, a lot), of extra stuff around the house. Below is a helpful guide to decluttering your home so that the upcoming indoor months can be relaxing and peaceful, instead of cluttered and stressful!
Make a Plan
Just the thought of removing and organizing objects from our home can seem daunting and overwhelming! Making a plan, before taking any action is a good way to get used to the idea as well as organize and prioritize! A great first step is to think through each room of your house and target areas that you would like to clean-up and declutter. Separate each room into spaces and create a checklist of those areas. The wonderful thing about checklists is that once you complete an area, the checklist will give a visual of your accomplishment and will aid as a motivator to tackle other areas!
We all associate memories and strong feelings towards most of the things that we’ve held onto over the years. Recognize when this is the case, evaluate and think through the benefits of keeping those things. A general rule of thumb is to consider getting rid of something if it hasn’t been worn or used in the last year. Sometimes, it is helpful to put all things that hold nostalgic worth into a pile and then evaluate the most important ones to keep. If you are still wary, allow yourself to sleep on it and re-evaluate in the morning.
Once your plan of attack has been made, following through with that plan is the next step. Target your fist room that would give you the most satisfaction to declutter, and within that room a specific area. For me, and many others going through my closet would definitely be my first target. If you have a big project ahead of you, create a three-bin sorting method. One labeled, ‘keep’, ‘remove’, and lastly, ‘storage’. The great thing about the three-bin method is that you can visually see what you have a tendency to hang onto and switch things out amongst the bins at any time. Start fresh with each new room, so that having three rooms worth of objects doesn’t become overwhelming. Plus, you are looking to fuel your motivation with satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment, so completing a room in its entirety is the goal!
While you are decluttering a room, take a moment to envision what you would like each space to look like upon completion and set that as your goal. Flat surfaces tend to accumulate clutter a lot more frequently, so start there if you need a starting point. Lastly, categorize objects while you are decluttering. Put all like things together in a pile so that it will be easier later on which to keep and which to remove.
Once your decluttering is complete and you feel amazing, it is time to think through your method of attack and actually get rid of the items from your home. This step comes after everything you have labeled, ‘keep’ has successfully found a place in your home, so you hopefully can give your complete attention to the things you know you are removing for sure. Here are a few of the most popular plans of attack:
Throw-away or Recycle
Mainly for things that you are excited to get rid of, simply throwing them in the trash or recycling can seem quite liberating. Remember to recycle all items that include glass, plastics and paper, if your area services those objects. Sometimes things that fall into the recycle category can be missed, since we are all mostly used to recycling things that are related to food! If you have a huge project on your hands, sometimes renting dumpster is a worthwhile expense. Getting mass quantities out of your home at once, will save you multiple trips and time later on.
Donate or Freecycle
For most, donating items is the way to go since we know that perfectly good things can be put to good use for someone else. Mainly, all clothing can be donated as well as many things from decor to kitchen tools. This is a great option for objects that hold nostalgic value, as you know someone else will find good use for. An even easier option is to utilize freecycle.org. Simple post what you want to get rid of and people will come to your home to retrieve it.
Make some Money!
Although extra work, garage sales are a great way to make some extra money on things you don’t want anyway. This will require time and planning but the end result could be well worth it. Also, you can check to see if your neighborhood is hosting a garage sale that you can participate in. This way, you will get more foot traffic and increase the likely-hood that more of your items will sell. A little less involved, but also another great option is to post bigger money-making items on craigslist.
Decluttering your home can seem daunting, but breaking it down into steps can make it seem much more doable. You will benefit tremendously from making your space seem new and by creating a warm, relaxing environment to enjoy all winter long!