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Spring is officially here and with the new season comes a new opportunity to get things cleaned up and organized in our homes. I am on a perpetual mission to declutter and organize our home but every now and then I get on a special kick to get the extra things out of our house. Spring cleaning season is one of those times.
I don’t know how we collect so many things. We don’t buy a lot of things. We throw things away. But somehow we still have so much stuff. I feel this every time I misplace something or can’t find something because it’s gotten pushed to the side under some pile.
I am even more aware of this when I toss things into the donate pile and don’t see a real hole where the thing used to be. Meaning, we still have enough stuff to fill our home even without the thing(s) we just got rid of. I think it’s even harder with Little. Baby gear is so big. And we want to have more children so we’ve saved a lot of it. We’ve also loaned some of it out, but more on that later.
So, we’re cleaning things out. I’m not a minimalist, but I don’t like to keep things that don’t have purpose to me either. Today I’m sharing some thoughts on the process of decluttering and some encouragement if the thought of going through your own things seems a little daunting.
5 Tips to Declutter Your Home
It’s okay to start small
Decluttering and organizing your entire home can seem like a daunting task. Especially if you are not already in the habit of it. Don’t let the size of the task or the number of things distract you. It’s ok to start small. Pick a drawer, a cabinet, a corner and start there. As you get into it, the larger areas will start to come more easily. I feel so much better even throwing 10 papers in the recycling bin just knowing that they are no longer laying around the house being useless. Every little bit counts. Starting small also means that you don’t have to spend hours cleaning and organizing. You can do a little bit at a time and still make an impact.
Decide which areas need the most work
While it is okay to start small, you should think about your entire home and decide which areas will need the most work. This will allow you to set some realistic expectations in terms of how long a space might take. It will also allow you to decide which spaces to work on when.
Commit to one space at a time
This is more of a personal preference for me. I like to finish what I start so if I am cleaning out the closet, I want to focus there until it’s done. If you are starting this process for the first time, or the first time in a while, I encourage you to commit to one space at a time. You’ll feel encouraged to see a full space cleaned out and organized. I always feel more motivated to move on once I see a space that is totally clutter free. It pushes me to make the other spaces like that as well.
Decide whether to keep, toss, or donate your things
Once you’ve started the process, you will need to make decisions on your things. I recommend a thorough clean out at least twice a year where you actually touch everything in a space and consider why it’s in your home. Do you use it often? Does it make you happy? Is it particularly special? Do you have a clear purpose for it in the future? These are all important questions to ask yourself.
I don’t like clutter, but I do keep a lot of things that others would toss. When I go through those same questions, there are some things that I just want to keep. Cards are a good example for me. They don’t serve a current purpose, I don’t look at them often, but they are special to me. For those things, it’s good to think of a clear organization system that you can stick to so they don’t start to overcrowd and clutter your space.
Other things need to go. For these items that you aren’t using and can part with, decide whether to toss or donate. Our rule of thumb is that if it isn’t in good enough shape for us to use or for our family to use, we toss it. If it can be useful to someone else, we donate it. Designate a space in your house to make a separate pile for things to donate. You’ll want to document all these things later especially if you will donate them to a charity and receive a tax write-off for them.
Remember that keeping your home free of clutter is a routine not a one time event
The most important thing to remember when trying to get rid of clutter is that decluttering is a routine and not a one time event. Think of it. No one intentionally sets out to fill their home with clutter (I think). But somehow, overtime things just start to pile up. In order to truly keep your home clutter free, you have got to be intentional about routinely going through things. This means being diligent about tossing papers into the recycling bin. It means thinking about the clothes that are already in your closet before buying new things. Or just donating clothes that you don’t wear anymore. Whatever it looks like for you, keeping things organized takes practice and commitment. The one and done mentality won’t work. That said, if you are willing to commit, it is entirely possible to keep things organized and clutter free.
Do you have a regular cleaning routine? How do you stop clutter from piling up in your home? What are your spring cleaning plans?