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Strategies To Make Decluttering Much Easier

Apr 19, 2021  |  Ben Spivack

Strategies To Make Decluttering Much Easier

Decluttering is hard work. While on the inside we want to be minimalists and live with barely used closets and plenty of cabinet space, the reality is the majority of us are hoarders. We like stuff, and accumulate mountains of it. But if you’re tired of experiencing an avalanche everytime you open a closet door, then it’s time to prune.

While that is a dreaded task for most, we have you covered with tips on how to declutter. Some parts will be relatively painless (like convincing yourself to finally throw away that broken gadget,) and others might trigger an inner tug of war (like boxing up that one sweater you haven’t worn in three years but has a permanent residence in the back of your closet.)

In the end, you will be glad you went through the process and did it. It won’t be easy, but these decluttering tips will get you one step closer to a tidier and more tranquil home. Say goodby to your hoarding problem! 

Do The Easy Stuff First

It’s a proven scientific fact that accomplishing one small task on your checklist motivates you to continue forward and to tackle the harder things on your to-do list. So start small in your decluttering journey and do the easy things first. Toss out broken items that no longer serve a purpose; items that have missing parts; clothes that have holes or permanent stains; and furniture that has been taking up space in your basement that you know you will never use. Decluttering the “no brainers” will motivate you to move onto the harder items.

Give Your Fixer-Uppers A Time Limit

Part of the problem with decluttering is that we hold onto fixer-uppers with the intention of fixing or flipping them in the near future. But that future gets more and more distant with each passing month (or year!) To avoid that trap, take out a big cardboard box and toss every one of your “fixer-uppers” into it while decluttering.  Once that box is full, write “ONE MONTH” across it. You have exactly one month to make those DIYs happen, or else you donate them.

Put Your “Maybes” Into A Box

The next problem with decluttering is hanging onto your “maybes.” These are the clothes you rarely wear but are worried you might want later on, or the pieces of decor you have that are shoved into a closet but might work a few months down the line. These items take up space and make you run into the same dilemma every time you declutter, making you wonder if you really would regret donating them. To answer that question, put all your “maybes” into a cardboard box and stash it away for three months. If you don’t go into that box to take something out within that time period (and even better, you forget about the things inside it,) you will know for certain that you won’t miss those items after donating them. 

Find A “Home” For Each Item

If each item in your house has a “home” (i.e a storage bin, drawer insert, or shelf compartment,) then you will know exactly where each item is supposed to go after using it. But not only that, organizing your items into “homes” will make you hyper-aware of how many things you own. If you are struggling to organize your items onto a shelf or into a drawer while setting up these homes, then you will realize you have to get rid of the items that don’t get used enough to justify a space in your drawer or shelf. This will make it easier to let them go.

Work In Sections

Decluttering can feel like a mammoth task when you decide to tidy the entire house in an afternoon. But there’s no need to stress yourself out that way. Instead, opt to declutter one room a day, making it less overwhelming. You can take that even further by committing yourself to decluttering one closet/cabinet/desk/dresser a day. You won’t get tired this way, and will make smarter decisions while decluttering. 

Focus On How Decluttering Will Change Your Life

We often declutter for a reason, and it might help you to let go of more items if you focus on why you’re trying to prune them in the first place. For example, does your laundry and folding take up your weekend because you have so many sweatshirts and t-shirts? Do you get frustrated when you have to dig to the back of the cabinet just to wrestle out the blender? Donating that bag of clothes or those old kitchen gadgets will be a lot easier when you realize your stress levels will drop once you do so.

Do The 12-12-12 Challenge

What is the point of making the hard decision to declutter if you only end up getting rid of four things? If you find it hard letting go of your things, then participating in a challenge might help. The 12-12-12 challenge dares you to throw out 12 things, donate 12 other things, and return 12 things to their proper “homes.”

Do Before & After Photos

Take a “before” photo before you start tidying the cabinet or closet, and then take out everything you would like to get rid of but are having a hard time doing so. Then take an “after” photo, and see how organized and less chaotic that space looks if you just did the brave thing and donated your unnecessary items. Seeing how great the photo looks will motivate you to do just that.

Follow these decluttering strategies during your next deep-clean, and you might just get rid of more than you previously thought possible.