How to Declutter your home and life
WOW - I looked at my desk again - what a mess. How long have I been trying to get this decluttered.
Well enough I said to myself - I will do it!
I also started thinking that a messy desk (and bedroom) leads to a messy life - so I really wanted to learn how to do this minimize or declutter thing.
So if you want to learn how to declutter your home and your life - start here.
I have later on a declutter checklist of your house room by room which will cover the top tidy tips for each room.
I decided I had to change - it was starting to cause me a little bit of stress.
Plus I was worried after I saw a “hoarder” TV program that if I did not put a stop to it then I might get to a position where it was really bad.
I needed to declutter my home.
Motivation on how to declutter your home
Before you start you need motivation to declutter.
Are you trying to genuinely declutter or are you just wanting a “spring clean”.
I suggest not calling it a “spring clean” because that tells the brain it is a once a year activity. You “wizz around” for a day and feel good about the effort.
However you then also say to yourself - well next year I will do better. That's no good - you want to declutter like a mother!
Do you want to go the full monty - because you are getting your house ready for sale?
Or maybe you want to once and for all declutter your home. Like starting a new chapter in keeping your home looking great.
Whatever your reason you need to define your motivation to declutter as it will give you purpose.
The Definition of Declutter
Having a declutter definition helps. So write down your definition.
Here is how I define declutter.
- To me it means to simplify and get rid of mess and disorder.
Writing down your goal and putting in a place where you will constantly see it increases your chance of success more than 10 times!
The FRIDGE is a great place for your declutter goal or list- you will see it first thing in the morning and many times during the day.
One person I know put an A4 piece of paper with their goal on the inside of the front door!
Do not immediately go and buy storage containers. The local storage store has lots of lovely colored containers - but the last thing you need is to have them before you have decluttered your first target area. You will just try to fill them up with stuff that you really should get rid of.
Throw out first - then you can go to the container store. Firstly you can use the shopping trip as a reward. Secondly you will not know what you actually need because you have not discarded what you don't need yet.
Note! You will also find it much more satisfying when you go to buy storage solutions having discarded stuff you no longer need.
I certainly felt a real sense of accomplishment when I got rid of stuff for my office. This was my first area I targeted. I then just purchased the containers I needed for that decluttered area.
So - Buy Storage Second
Also do not bite off more than you can chew. Break it down into small chunks.
Where do I start decluttering
Start Decluttering in small areas first. Somewhere small so that when you start decluttering this small area - you finish it and you feel good. This will motivate you to continue.
The 7 minute declutter
Choose a simple task first. After my desk, I selected the medicine cabinet.
A laundry cupboard is also a great place to start.
Why? They are small and you will feel a great sense of accomplishment when you have decluttered your first area.
Now! Open your cupboard and focus on 7 random items. Clearly say to yourself-
Do I really need this?
Have I used it in the last 12 months?
Do I really love this item?
Does this piece deserve the space it takes up in my home.
Remember your Objective. It is to put stuff in the trash or donation bag.
Not to move it around your house - or put it in the garage or under the stairs.
DISCARD - DISCARD.
If the answer is no then out it goes. And I mean out - have a trash bag with you and put it straight in there.
If you want you can have a second trash bag for stuff that you will donate to a charity.
My suggestion if you do this 7 Minute Declutter for seven days - you and all your family will notice a difference.
You will also feel a great sense of accomplishment.
After 3 days if you want to buy some organisers from a storage solution outlet or site then go ahead and reward yourself. You will find if you wait to buy - you will save money as you know more accurately what you need.
Now, if you can select for the next 7 days another 3 areas to attack! (do more if you can) after one month you will have really accomplished most of your decluttering.
Any areas that have not been done - you now have the experience to tackle them and will feel confident about doing so.
The sense of accomplishment you have is also important. Do not forget to reward yourself.
Do not forget to write your goal down on your Fridge or Mirror or similar - it helps.
This was my desk before I decluttered it.
Room Declutter Checklist
The Bedroom Declutter
Make your Bed
The biggest piece in your bedroom is your bed.
It will immediately help. It only takes 2-3 minutes to make a bed. So take a pledge now you will make your bed before you leave the bedroom every day.
I did this about six months ago and I found it made a big difference to my whole day.
Strange I know - but it is true. Try it!.
Now move to the top of your dressers etc. Take a close look and remove everything from the top and put it back where it belongs - or chuck it out if you have not used it for more than 1 year.
If you have decorations - unless they are really sentimental and you want them there - my strong suggestion is to get rid of them. There is nothing like a clean top when you are in a declutter phase. Sure you may put something back later - but because you have made such an effort to declutter your whole house you will think twice before doing so. You will only put back what is really important to you.
Now check your nightstands. Same principle as your dresser. Clear it. It goes in the drawer if you really need it - else out it goes. If you have books or magazines -You know what to do!.
Now tidy any wires coming from chargers - you can buy some really cheap cable ties and holders these days that really make a difference and keep them in place.
Put it away nicely - take the time to fold it. If it is dirty, put it in your dirty laundry hamper. If you do not have one - walk it to the laundry now and start a wash!
Lastly, take a look around, it should be all clear and clean if not deal with an item I have not mentioned using the guiding rules - you will be impressed. You are ready to move on to the next major room.
The Kitchen Declutter
Depending on your kitchen this room can be one of the most challenging. But again start in a small focused area - nail it and move on. First clear completely this small area. Wipe it down. Put some shelf or drawer liner if it needs it. Then group similar items together - e.g herbs and spices and put them in one section.
Now move on - one area I had fun with (not really) was all my coffee mugs I had collected over the years - I have 14. Really I can only use 2 or 3 - so after some soul searching I kept my favourites. And the rest went out. I missed them for a few days. But honestly, after I had finished my decluttering and organising my kitchen I felt so good I never even missed them again.
So just step through each area and in your kitchen, move out, clean, decide what you need and then put them back in an ordered way. My friend actually made a map on the back of each kitchen cupboard door as to where everything belonged - so her partner and kids knew where to find things. But, more importantly, where to put them BACK.
I found it took me 10 days to really declutter my kitchen. I could not discard some items - even though I had never used them. In the end I just put them in a box and gave them to charity.
My Desk After Decluttering
The Living Room
One of the most heavily used rooms is the living room and is one of the hardest to keep clutter free. It gets used all the time, by family members and visitors and often there is little storage in a living room. So you must choose storage locations for necessary items like remotes, book, ipads or tablets etc.
Once you have decided on this and placed those items there - put on your declutter face - and go for it. Clear all surfaces, have a paper towel and spray cleaner with you to wipe off the dust or In my case - coffee stains on tables. One thing I found - after I had wiped off the dust - I did not want to put things back on top as it looked so nice being clear and clean.
If you find toys, books, placemats put them back in their place or ask family members to store them in their room by politely leaving them in a box outside their door. Or, place neatly in their room so they can put them away,
Any mail or advertising material put them all in their place or bin them.
The House Entrance
I possibly should have covered this first because having a clean and decluttered entrance does wonders for your motivation each time you walk in or out of home.
No matter what your entrance size - the best way is to have it as clear as possible. It is an entrance way after all - for people to walk in an out of - and items like shoes, coats umbrella are best placed in another room like the laundry or a cupboard.
If you must have shelves there - make them clean and tidy and clutter free. This is an area you may have to check often as other family members have a habit of leaving shoes, bags or other things they mean to put away later. But often they never do.
However, one of the things I found is that this is a good training ground. By that I mean - the items left there - lets say by “mistake’ is usually a single item - not too hard to find a place for.
So by politely talking to my family members telling them of my goals (and they can see the steps I have made on my seven day blitz). I can use this area to train them to put THEIR things away.
It is worth training others in your first seven day blitz, as they see your goal written down on the fridge. (and you probably have talked to them about it and asked for their help) so usually just a little bit of gentle reinforcement is well received and acted upon.
How can I declutter my home in 30 days?
Here is an overview of our 30 day checklist - we have put the top 3 items in each category.
We have again organised this list by room. And also added an outside of the house list also.
30 Day Decluttering Checklist
Entrance to House
- Place shoes out of sight in a closet
- Dust off any entrance mat
- Take away cobwebs or dirt tracked in the house
- Clean off the desk - start a clear desk policy
- Pickup any books and place them on a shelf
- Vacuum under the chair you sit on
- Clean sinks
- Wash the floor
- Clean around the kitchen trash can
- Wash the laundry floor
- Put lids on on all containers/bottles
- Wash any dirty laundry
- Clean the toilets
- Hang up any towels
- Generally get all untidy items in their place or in a box to deal with using our 1-2-3 rule.(need to link to this and name it above)
- Make any unmade beds. (Get into the habit of making them each day before you leave the bedroom)
- Remove any clutter from nightstand and dressers - if you can not put something away put it in a box to deal with afterwards.
Outside the house
- Remove dead leaves and stuff from outside your entrance way
- Wash your windows
- Roll up any yard hoses
Other Items to Consider
- Clean your cars
- Do a corner cobweb inspections around the corners of your rooms.
- Change any burnt out light bulbs
Conclusion: The Benefits of Decluttering
As you step by step declutter your home you may notice you have an increased sense of confidence as noted by Physhologytoday.com
They also note that it can lead to increased energy, reduce anxiety and other benefits.
For me I just like the feeling I got when I decluttered my office.
I felt that I could tackle any project with renewed vigor.
You know, I actually jumped straight onto one particular project that I had been putting off for ages - It felt really good.
It did take me quite a while to fully declutter my home - I got 80% done in the first 5 weeks. But the final room - the kitchen took me three weeks. But I got there.
Madison from Best Company has also written are great article on spending more time at home.