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8 Easy Ways to Start Decluttering
8 easy ways to start decluttering are my favorite tips for working toward a clutter-free home. Clutter is one of those things that I loathe, because I firmly believe that a clean space is a happy space. A clean space allows me a clean mind, and I’m a lot more productive.
Clutter affects so much more than simply being an eyesore in your home.
How Clutter Affects You
- Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli and that causes our senses to work overtime on that stimuli that isn’t necessary or important.
- Clutter distracts us by drawing our attention toward it and away from the things we should be focused on.
- Clutter makes it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally.
- Clutter constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done. This often feels overwhelming.
- Clutter causes anxiety because it feels so overwhelming, not knowing just how much effort it will take to clean it up.
- Clutter creates feelings of guilt because we aren’t more organized, as well as embarrassment when unexpected guests drop by.
- Clutter inhibits creativity and productivity by invading spaces that allow most people to think, brainstorm, and problem solve. It often feels like the clutter is literally taking up valuable space in our brains and minds.
- Clutter is frustrating because it prevents us from finding anything quickly or efficiently.
Where To Start
Clutter can be a scary thing! Here are a few tips to keep you on task.
Only spend time on one specific daily task. Start small. Like the refrigerator, for example. Think of small, confined spaces like that in terms of where to start. A bathroom shelf is another great example. Forget the kitchen, just focus on the refrigerator. Forget the bathroom, just focus on the one shelf.
Do not get side tracked or distracted. I’m the worst at this one. I am easily distracted by pretty much anything and everything when I’m struggling to focus on a specific task that already feels overwhelming.
Work at a time of the day when you have the most energy.
Avoid thinking too long about whether to keep or discard an item. I tell myself, “don’t strain your brain.” I like to sort things into three piles, the keep, discard, and maybe pile. Once I’ve made it that far, I’ll go back to the maybe pile and re-sort it and it really helps get rid of more.
Avoid cleaning during the declutter. Cleaning isn’t the goal here. That can be accomplished later. Focus on decluttering and make that your priority.
Set a timer. I set timers in my house constantly, for a variety of things. Because it helps to keep me focused. What may seem like 30 minutes is only twenty, and I need to keep going. This also means that I feel accomplished once the timer goes off, because I survived and was productive.
What To Ask Yourself When Decluttering
Am I Saving This “Just In Case”?
Just in case of what? How likely is that to actually happen? Being a prepper, this one can sometimes be difficult. But I also have to remind myself that if I’m not using it, it isn’t useful.
I have a firm belief that everything needs to have a purpose in my home, and that is how whatever that thing(s) is earns space on the shelf or drawer.
Do I Have Duplicates
I don’t know how many books I’ve donated to the little free libraries in my neighborhood simply because I found duplicate books. But books aren’t the only thing. How many times have you been unable to remember if you have something (or where it is) and buy another, just in case, and to save you the time if you’re actually out?
I used to do this all the time. It is also really frustrating not being able to remember if you have something or not, then coming home to find you’ve ended up with duplicates.
Is This Something I Have Worn/Used In The Last Year?
If it hasn’t been actively used in the last year, it has no place in your home. One of the things I do is give myself X number of days to determine if I have space for something and if it will actually be useful to me in my home.
Usually that time is seven days for smaller things, and 14 for large items I’m considering upcycling. Then I put it somewhere that I’ll see it (and be annoyed) by it, forcing me to make a decision.
Can I Borrow This Item If I Need To?
How difficult would it be to borrow an item if you ended up needing it after you got rid of it? That would be an important factor in decluttering.
Do I Have Space To Store It?
Knowing your space and the capacity is one of the essentials in prepping and organization for me. I know I have room for X number of almost everything in my house, and I make certain to not exceed that number because I simply don’t have the space for it to be stored properly.
If things are not stored properly, they end up on the floor. That is one of my pet peeves when it comes to clutter. Having to weave my way around things piled up, and being unable to find them easily.
Does This Item Need Repair To Be Useful?
If an item needs to be repaired to actually function and be useful, there are two choices. Either get it repaired or get rid of it. There is no sense in keeping something that doesn’t work. If you absolutely cannot get rid of it, have it fixed.
Am I Keeping This Item Out Of Obligation or Guilt?
I’ve heard so many people keep things because they’re afraid the person who gave it to them will be mad if they get rid of it. Here’s the thing though. If it was a gift to you, it is your property. Not the person who gave it to you. Do with it what you want, not what anyone else wants.
Do I Love This Item?
Do you love something? Does it have meaning, sentimental value, or something else that makes it truly special? If so, then keep it. Find a place for it to keep it safe and secure, but feel free to keep it.
If you don’t love it, it could definitely be time to get rid of it though.
8 Easy Ways to Start Decluttering Notes
Decluttering seems like a really daunting task when it has gotten completely out of hand. But you really can make it happen, and then be able to keep a much cleaner and happier home, which also means less cleaning overall for you! I call that a win/win!
8 Easy Ways to Start Decluttering Discussion
Do you struggle with the need to declutter your home? Have these tips helped you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!