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Decluttering Your Home 101

February 2020

We’ve all been there. We have inevitably been at home, looked around and realized that our place has gotten out of control with clutter and things we don’t really need but haven’t taken the time to re-organize, put away or purge from our lives. Maybe you went on a shopping trip only to open a closet or pantry and realize that you have nowhere to go with what you just bought or already have something similar to that. Perhaps you travel a lot for work and come home only to do laundry and re-pack for the next trip but look around and discover that the piles each week only get bigger and is wreaking havoc on your Zen like home life when you are there.

Our home is meant to be our haven, safe place and where we want to spend our time when we aren’t working. Coming home is meant to “spark joy” as Marie Kondo would say, not stress us out. If clutter is sucking the joy out of your life…it is time to make a change. Clutter can completely kill that happy vibe but with the new year starting we thought these tips may help you re-organize, de-clutter and put a system in place to allow you to come home to a space that truly makes you happy and stress free.

According to the Neat Method founders Molly Graves and Ashley Murphy, they believe that people generally fall into one of three personality categories when it comes to clutter. Figuring out which one you are will help you recognize the areas you need to work on to make some changes in your life. Let’s get to it!

Too Busy = Too Many Extras: You buy items you already own because you don’t have a system in place for where to store them or, when you need to find things fast, the time to search through all the possible storage spots.

Constant Worrier = Must Save Everything: You’re concerned that you “might” need something in the future, so you save everything, “just in case.”

Overwhelmed in Life = Overwhelmed at Home: You don’t know where to begin—so you just live with the chaos.

If you are looking for more tips on organizing you can check out any of Marie Kondo four books on organizing and decluttering your life. She even has had a show on Netflix that shows her helping people tidy up their lives. If you haven’t watched it, now is the time to curl up and watch a few episodes to jump start your own de-cluttering goals for 2020.

Looking for more ideas if you have limited time but want to accomplish a little something every day to declutter your life? Give some of these a try…

  1. 10-minute Trash Bag Tango:

Yes, we said it…and it’s a thing. According to organization guru Peter Walsh, this is a great way to start seeing some progress if you are feeling a little overwhelmed and aren’t quite sure where to begin. Have your own little dance party with your favorite Spotify playlist and two trash bags. Pick an area or room of your home to focus on. Put trash in one of the bags and designate the other bag for things to donate to charity; clothes that may no longer fit, something decorative you don’t really like anymore, things you could sell at a yard sale or just items you no longer want in your home anymore. Challenge yourself to focus on a new area, drawer or room in your home for 2 weeks to a month and before you know it, you will rid yourself of clutter and feel more at peace with your space.

  1. Get in the habit of creating a decluttering routine.

Finishing a task believe it or not helps with keeping clutter and disorganization out of our lives. For example, if the dishwasher has been run, unload it right away so you can put new dirty dishes in it rather than let them stack up in the sink or on the counter. Fold clothes and put them away right away instead of having piles. Take something out? Put it back when you are done using it. These logical yet simple tasks are often the small things that overwhelm us and allow the clutter to get out of control.

  1. Purge your closet

We all have way more clothes than we need. Chances are you have a set wardrobe you frequently wear and there are several items you could part with without even realizing it. A great way to do this is to turn all of your hangers the opposite direction. For the next 6 months every time you wear (not just try on) an item, return it to your closet and flip the hanger to face the correct way. By the end of this 6 month challenge you will find plenty of clothes you no longer wear that can be purged and donated.

  1. Edit some cabinets and drawers

Only have a 10-20 minute window of time? Perfect. Here are some little things you can do to feel accomplished that don’t take up a lot of time. Take a few minutes to fold kitchen towels, refold a disorganized linen closet, tidy up your underwear and sock drawer (get rid of socks missing their counterpart J), organize your medicine cabinet, work-out drawer or random “junk” drawer. We all have little nooks, crannies and drawers that get out of control but take very little time to reorganize. Check expiration dates, purge your expired fridge condiments (those expire faster than you think) and take a breath of fresh air feeling satisfied that you are crushing this tidying up mentality one drawer at a time.

  1. Create a system for your mail

We get it. Mail can be overwhelming to go through especially if you travel a lot and have several days’ worth to go through all at once. Create a system that helps you make it more manageable. Get a bin to put your mail in close to the door and set it in it right when you come in. Then set aside a few minutes each day or every other day if possible, to organize your mail into specific piles. If you haven’t switched to online payments, this could be a great way to minimize your paper trail, be prompt with payments and avoiding late fees if your clutter is keeping you from paying them in a timely fashion. Your credit score will thank you later for that tip. Separate mail into the following categories: bills, personal correspondence and invites that require RSVP’s, circular flyers, catalogs, magazines, membership renewals, donation requests to charity, credit card offers and junk mail. Keep your bills all in one space, add any invite or event with details to your calendar or phone, recycle the previous months magazine or catalog and replace it with the new one. Get a bunch of catalogs you no longer want. Go here to cancel receiving some of those catalogs Shred any mail that you don’t need and help decrease the piles that creep up all over your home.

  1. The box challenge

Struggling to get rid of some things? This is a great test to see if you really need something, especially in your kitchen. Empty a drawer or several (if in the same room) and put the contents in the box. Every time you need something in the box over the course of a month, put it back in the drawer. By the end of that month you will have the gadgets and things you use the most and can then look at donating the remaining items in the box to charity.

Tidying up and decluttering can be a stressful process but once you start and see the fruits of your labor, it will all be worth it and you will find a calmer peace in your own home and enjoy your space so much more.

Looking for some creative ways to organize your space? Check out all of the organizational tools, baskets and containers at The Container Store. It will inspire you to get ideas of how to organize your home in a way that is best functional for you.

Make a real effort to be consistent with your decluttering routine. Schedule it like you schedule a workout, yoga class or happy hour with friends. Make a plan and stick with it. Follow the 12-month rule and consider purging things you haven’t used in the last year. If you can’t remember the last time you used it or if you will use it again, it is something you can probably part with. Give back anything that isn’t yours. Why store other people’s belonging that only add to your clutter? The trash can and donating pile is your friend. If it no longer serves a purpose in your life, get rid of it. It will open you up to many new experiences and create less stress in your life.

Good luck decluttering and tidying up…you got this!