As spring peeks it’s head around the corner, you are probably beginning to feel the need to declutter your home. You may even have gone so far as to begin researching storage spaces to put all your winter stuff in. You can go even further by using these steps to cut down the clutter in your home and make it feel open and inviting.
1. Believe and Commit
The first step to cutting down clutter is realizing that you are able to remove items that don’t mean as much to you anymore. The reason you may be hanging on to that throw pillow is because fifteen years ago your sister gave it to you as a housewarming present. But every time you look at it, you feel depressed or obligated.
You can let go of that feeling by letting go of the pillow. Donate it or throw it away or give it to your local women’s shelter. We tend to want to hold onto things long after they’ve turned from joy to obligation. So, the first step is to believe you are capable of letting items go and then committing to making it happen. You can even write on sticky notes and place them where you will be reminded of your commitment.
2. Start Small
You don’t have to declutter the whole house in one weekend. Many people stop before they even start because they believe they have to get it all done at once. That’s an overwhelming task. You can start small. The best start is to make a list of the rooms or areas you want to declutter, then choose one of those areas on the list and set a timer for 20 minutes. You’ll only work on that area for that period of time, then stop for the day. For instance, take a closet in a spare room and go through everything in that closet.
Try the four box method. Use three boxes labeled Keep it, Donate it, Store it. Then have a trash can for the fourth box and label it Trash it. As you go through each item in the closet, determine which box it will go into and them put it there. Once you’ve finished with that small closet, do what each box is labeled to do. The box labeled Donate it will immediately go out to your car and you’ll drive to your choice of donation place and empty the box. The Keep it box should hold the least amount and its items will go back into the closet. Just start small and go from there.
3. Use the Six-Month Rule
Many people know the one-year rule that says if you haven’t used it or looked at it in a year, you should get rid of it. There is a slightly adjusted rule that works just as well called the six-month rule.
Barring holiday items, any item that you haven’t used or looked at in six months needs to be dealt with. Put it in one of the four boxes and then take care of it. As you review each item remember that if it brings you a lot of joy or has multiple uses and you can get rid of something else that is a single use item, that’s a good start also.
4. Invest in a Scanner
This age of going paperless has been difficult to embrace for many people. Some believe that if they can’t hold it in their hand, then it doesn’t exist. Therefore, many homes have piles of papers, bills, and cards just laying around taking up space.
Investing in a scanner will allow you to keep those important documents that you can’t live without by storing them on an external hard drive or in the cloud. Use the same method as you do with physical items. If you it’s special to you, such as cards or papers from your children, scan them or take a digital picture of them and store them so you can access them easily. There are some documents that you have to keep like birth certificates and marriage licenses. Those will be stored in a small fireproof safe that can be put away for peace of mind.
5. Hold a Yard Sale
Once you’ve gotten all the small stuff sorted out, you can turn to bigger items like those extra chairs you’re storing in the garage or that second printer you always thought you’d use for the kids one day. These items can be sold in a yard sale. If you are close to your neighbors or family, you can even make it a multifamily yard sale.
These are just a few steps to get you started on your way to removing the clutter from your home and enjoy your living space once more.