“A place for everything and everything in its place”.
Do you have a place for everything in your home?
Or do things constantly pile up? Can you never find the thing you need right when you need it? Are you constantly putting things away?
Our dining table is a great case in point. It seems to be a general dumping ground: from half-finished art activities, to mail that needs handling, to bags of oranges that won’t fit anywhere else. Periodically it’ll get cleared down, but in less than 24 hours it starts piling up again – argh!
I’m interested in the concept of minimalism – it’s something I’ve learned a little about so far, and a topic I’ll be digging into more over the coming months. I’m pretty the sure the state of my home has a direct correlation to my state of mind: when everything’s tidy and put away, I feel a bit calmer, a bit more able to relax. But that is a rare occurrence and always short-lived.
With this in mind, I pulled together a selection of different strategies on how to declutter the home generally, along with specific tips for each room of the house.
Call in The Professionals
Did you know there are services out there that can help you with organizing and decluttering? Consider It Done is a great example of such a service in my hometown – if you’re short on time and your clutter is getting you down, then calling in the professionals can be a good way to quickly get on top of things once and for all.
A Packing Party
The Minimalist podcast is where I first started learning about the concept of ‘Minimalism’, and they often talk about ‘Packing Parties’. This is not for the faint of heart, it’s the ‘ripping the bandaid off’ approach to decluttering!
The concept is to pack a room (or your whole house) as if you were moving. Then over the coming days pull out what you need – you’ll soon know which things you need and use (and what you don’t.) Then you are free to sell, give away, recycle or throw away what you no longer need.
Take a DeClutter Challenge
The ‘40 Bags in 40 Days’ challenge is a slightly less intense way of tackling the clutter in your home. In this challenge, you commit to decluttering a bag of things a day over 40 days, by the end of which you should be in pretty good shape! Of course, if that schedule doesn’t work for you, you could go for something like a bag a week for 52 weeks.
If you’re anything like me, you start a decluttering task full of enthusiasm, eagerly pulling EVERYTHING out of the cupboard. Three hours later, you find yourself on the floor still surrounded by piles of STUFF, feel overwhelmed, and decide to just shove it all back in.
If that’s you, then this approach to decluttering might be better! Set yourself a timer for, say, 30 minutes, and make some decisions in that time about what you can give away and what you will keep. Definitely doable for those of us who are still working on Getting Unbusy…
DeCluttering By Room
Ahh kitchen counter-tops – the graveyard for many an unused kitchen appliance! Get your counter-tops cleared up and your kitchen will automatically be a nicer place to be. This article provides a quick and easy challenge to make your kitchen counter-tops a thing of glory.
Do you have dishes in the back of your kitchen cabinets that you haven’t used in last 2 years? I know I do. This article offers a really clear step-by-step process to sort through your cabinets and determine what to keep and purge. I have some sentimental items, like a 70’s beige and brown hand-mixer that I used in England growing up – the wire is fraying and I can’t even use the plug here in America: it’s time to let it go…
If the kitchen is a repository for never-used appliances, then the bathroom is where I store decades old makeup and expired medicines. Getting rid of those products that never really worked out for you and the indigestion medicine that is long past its Sell By date will free up space and allow you easy access to what you actually use. A great idea for storing makeup is to use a kitchen cutlery tray to keep it organized!
When the busy-ness of the day is done, your bedroom should be a place for rest and relaxation. I have a tendency to have things pile up on my dresser table, it can be hard to find a spot for my cup of tea! I’d need to set aside at least half a day to implement the full-on cleaning and sort-out plan outlined in this article, but you can be sure your room will be a pleasant place to be when this is done.
We were watching Mary Poppins last weekend and I found myself wishing I had some of her cleaning-up skills when it comes to my kid’s bedrooms. In the absence of my finger-clicking producing any magical results, this article provides some really good ideas to involve your kids in the decluttering process and help them to maintain a tidy room going forward.
The garage has become another catch-all spot for us for items that don’t have a home elsewhere. That usually means that when I actually need something, I can’t find it and have to buy a new one. This article describes creating ‘zones’ in your garage for different categories of item and once organized, doing a regular (weekly or monthly) sweep to make sure you keep on top of it.
Wardrobe or closet
Ahhh CLOTHES. I fall into the category of person that only wears about 5% of my total wardrobe. I have items that I’m still hoping I’ll fit into one day, clothes that are reminiscent of a particular time of my life, and items with tags on that just don’t suit me and that I’m never going to wear. Step 1 in this post lists some great questions to ask yourself when going through your clothing to determine if it’s a keeper or not (does it fit is a good one…) – I’m going to be trying this one soon.
We have SO MANY cords in the house for this that and the other – this article has some great tips for labeling and organizing your cords so you know what they’re for and don’t have to spend 30 minutes untangling them once they’re ready for use:
I get very nervous when it comes to important documents and only recently took the plunge to throw away a large pile of pay stubs from 15 years ago. Dave Ramsey is like the sensible grown-up in our lives – we can trust him when it comes to figuring out which documents we should keep and file, and which we can shred:
I hope you find something in the list you can implement – let me know if you have any success in your decluttering efforts!