It is not always possible to come home to a spic and span house all the time, especially when you have active kids and/or pets exploring their environment. However, it is still possible to maintain certain level of cleanliness and orderliness and keep things organized. The less the clutter in your space, the more stress-free and happier you will feel. Here are some easy ways to declutter quickly and regain control over your space and time.
1. Start small
You can even start by decluttering your handbag. Remove things you do not need. Use the ground rule that : “If You Haven’t Used Something For More Than A Year-Chances Are That You Won’t Ever Use it again”. Throw away things you do not need. Promise yourself a treat as you tackle one area per day at a time. More importantly, give yourself a time frame to do so.
2. Get a declutter buddy
If you have massive amounts of stuff lying around, do not go through it all alone. Get your spouse/friends/relatives/kids to help. You can treat them later to a nice meal to show them your gratitude. If needed, get some paid help as well.
3. Be brutal
Many times, de-cluttering is difficult because we tend to hoard things which have a sentimental value. Old photos, newspaper clippings, books, apparel items, greeting cards from friends etc are nice to have but they take up space and over time start fading in appearance and value as well. If possible organize these old keepsakes in nice boxes-but be selective about it. Ruthlessly throw away stuff you have not used for decades-no matter how cute/sentimental they may be.
4. Give away, throw or keep?
Decluttering becomes a lot simpler if you can categorize stuff into 3 groups: give away, throw or keep. If you are giving things away, you could contact organizations that take old clothes, books and furniture. In some cases, your friends and family might want to keep some stuff you no longer need. Throwing away is best done in compliance with the town’s garbage disposal rules.
5. Manage paper work
Paper clutter is one of the most unmanageable types of house or office clutter. In order to reduce this, you can use following steps:
- Use technology and automation instead of hard copies where possible. Have soft copies with back up on cloud.
- Keep paperwork organized- important bills, property or insurance documents can all be stored in sturdy files and kept under lock and key.
- Have a closet dedicated for newspapers and magazines. Recycle them from time to time.
- Keep a pen and paper near the phone at all times. This way, you can quickly note down important messages.
6. Explain the importance of decluttering to kids
Show kids through practice that a well organized and clean home is peaceful and reduces stress. Teach children simple ways to store craft and art supplies as well as books neatly in well demarcated places.
7. Create memory boxes and scrap books
If you wish to keep greeting cards, photos or newspaper clippings you could use a memory box. Label them to make them look pretty.
8. Closet declutter tips
If you haven’t worn something for 6 months, you won’t wear it again. Donate it to charity or throw it away. Buy less clothes and wash them even lesser to make them last longer. Old clothes clog our landfills and take years to degenerate- so recycle them as much as possible. Use old T-Shirts creatively to make attractive head gear. You can even use old clothes as a rag to wipe down furniture or floors. Here are some closet clutter elimination tips:
- Clean out the closet every 15 days.
- Organize clothes in categories-lingerie, pants, shirts, skirts, blouses and tops. This way, you can find them quickly and no item will get left behind, or forgotten. Hang expensive dresses using clothes hangers.
- Use closet tools to organize better- boxes, shelves, hanging shelves etc to store extra stuff neatly and create more closet space.
9. Make the beds daily
Simply by making the bed every morning after waking up will help your room look beautiful. As soon as you are up, fold the comforters and straighten the sheets and pillows. Change and wash the bedding linen every 2 weeks or more to prevent allergies and also keep them smelling great.
10. Create a declutter routine
Weekends are the best days to dedicate to your decluttering project. Create time in your schedule to clean the bathroom and closets weekly. Spend time each evening de-cluttering the kitchen, wiping down surfaces with vinegar and straightening the things in the cabinets.
11. Keep an organized laundry area
Have a clean and clutter free laundry room. Keep a couple of baskets for soiled clothes, white clothes, kiddie clothes and delicates as well as for kitchen rags. Straighten, iron and neatly fold clothes as soon as they are dry. Install shelves in the room to store laundry essentials. Set up an ironing board in the laundry room itself if the space permits.
12. Take one thing out for each new in
This ‘declutter diet’ principle works well for people who buy a lot of stuff. For every new thing in, if you remove one from your house, it will remain clean and spacious and prevent unnecessary hoarding.
Use these 12 tips and ways to declutter your house and life starting today.