What Exactly is Decluttering?
The term decluttering has been a catchphrase for a number of years.
Some think of it as simply cleaning a house, but if you have worked with a professional organizer or have seen television shows about hoarding or cleaning, you know it can be much more than that.
So, what does it entail?
Strictly speaking, decluttering is the act of getting rid of mess and disorder.
This is generally a two-step process:
1. Getting rid of the current clutter you have in your home.
2. Avoiding additional clutter from building up in your home.
You may have heard the old adage, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” For those struggling with clutter, this often becomes a mantra or, more likely, a battle cry.
The trick is to start small when you begin decluttering.
If your home is cluttered, going through and getting rid of things will seem intimidating. It is easy to become discouraged and overwhelmed. By starting small, even with one single dresser drawer, you’ll see how much you can accomplish in a short amount of time. Quite often, with a small area, you can declutter and clean it in less than 15 minutes. Anyone can do this if is important to them.
Enlist the help of someone you trust. Perhaps your family is full of clutter bugs and they really are not interested or ready in moving out of CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome). If they will not assist you, ask a friend to help instead. Not only will your friend be there to give encouragement, they may also be able to help you with the hard decisions that often come up when deluttering.
A Quick System In Place
Label four boxes: Keep (this room); Toss; Donate, Give or Sell; and Keep (store elsewhere).
Place them close to the area where you will start.
Try to handle each item only once. When you pick something up, decide which box it belongs in. Keep it, throw it away, donate it or store it elsewhere.
Look at each item, make a decision and put it in one of the boxes. Try to make your decision quickly to keep the process moving.
When you review each item, think about how often you have used it in the last year.
Be honest with yourself. If the item has not been used in a year, it is time to let it go—either in the trashcan or into the donate box so someone else can use it.
Be aware of the things you bring into your home.
This is how I sort my mail: quickly go through your mail outside near the garbage can. Important mail goes under your elbow.
Everything else is probably junk mail and does not need to enter the house unless it has personal information accounts like credit card offers, which you can opt-out do eliminate this type of clutter from your life.
While you open your mail, write down important dates on a calendar. You can then file the mail if still needed or shred it if it has personal information on it.
One In, One Out
Adopt the one in/one out rule.If you purchase a new item, with this rule, you would also get rid of one item. This item could be something related to what you purchased or something non-related. The point is to get into the habit of removing one item each time a new item comes into your home.
When you have one drawer, stack, corner or box cleaned out, take a break. If your friend is still there, have a cup of coffee or grab a quick lunch before tackling another area. Before you know it, you will have a cleaned out dresser, cabinet or one less pile to look at. Then, do your best to keep that renewed area clean and clear from that point forward.
Congratulations on a (decluttering) job well done!