Its amazing how quickly clutter accumulates. One minute, youre moving into a gorgeous home and imagining everything you can do with the space. The next, youre staring at piles of clutter wondering where it came from and how youll get rid of it. Decluttering an entire house feels impossible when youre facing down overstuffed closets and a garage that hasnt seen a car in years. But while dealing with clutter is time-consuming, it shouldnt be difficult. Instead of letting your junk get the best of you, use these simple steps to declutter every space in your home.
- Make a Plan
Before digging out the storage bins (or if you need to buy them, Amazon sells them for $17.99 each), assess what you need to accomplish. List each area of your home that needs attention, from little areas like the linen closet to big projects like the attic and basement.
Think about your goals for each space: Do you want to be able to park in the garage, get dressed without digging through old clothes, or get rid of the outdated cosmetics clogging your medicine cabinet? Your vision for each space guides decisions regarding what to get rid of, what to keep, and how to organize.
- Empty it Out
Turn cluttered spaces into blank slates by removing everything from the area to be organized. While your house may temporarily look like a battlezone, this is the best way to assess what you have and visualize a reorganized space.
- Deep Clean
Once a room is empty, its the perfect time for a floor-to-ceiling deep clean. Cluttered spaces are an inviting home for dust and pests, so youll want to eliminate these indoor pollutants before putting everything back. In this case, youre best off hiring professionals.
- Sort into Two Piles
Forget the maybe pile. Effective decluttering only needs two piles: one for everything that stays, and one for everything that goes. Dont worry about selling, donating, or throwing away unwanted items yet; just focus on deciding whats worth keeping.
Resist the urge to keep things you dont use or need. If you didnt remember owning it until pulling it out of the closet, you wont miss it when its gone. Real Simple suggests asking yourself five questions if youre struggling to decide whether to keep something or get rid of it.
- Donate, Sell, and Recycle
Renting a dumpster and tossing all of your unwanted stuff into it makes for speedy decluttering, but its not best for the environment. Instead of throwing everything away, use your decluttering project as an opportunity to do good for the planet and other people (and maybe your wallet!).
Big-ticket items like furniture, appliances, and recreational equipment can be sold, but consider whether its worth the effort before listing your items. Whether you host a yard sale or sell online, youll need to coordinate with buyers and may walk away with less cash than youd hoped.
Items in good condition are great candidates for donation, whether to a local thrift store or a specific charity. If you have items that arent worthy of donation, recycle rather than throwing away. Some items that arent recyclable in household waste, such as textiles and electronics, can be recycled through other programs.
For everything thats left over, youll need to find a way to dispose of it. If you have a lot of bulky, hard-to-manage items like old furniture or mattresses, your best bet is to hire a company to handle this job for you. For a fee, junk haulers will load up all of those big items and take it to the local dump or recycling center, which is one less thing for you to deal with.
Once youve pared down your belongings to the essentials, youre ready for the fun part: organizing! This is a chance to make your house more beautiful and more livable, so take your time and think carefully about how to store possessions. If you do it wrong, you could find yourself facing the same clutter problem in a few months. But do it right, and youll finally have a clean and organized home you imagined when you first bought your house.