How To Purge Clutter and Downsize Your Belongings
I bet you have some junk lying around the house. That’s ok, we all do. Regardless of how much stuff you have, you most likely can benefit from decluttering.
A messy home can cause stress and make you feel overwhelmed.
If you want to learn the basics of decluttering, then you came to the right place. I will give you tips and guides on how to organize and tidy up your home.
Why Should You Organize Your Home
That’s a good question!
I mean, what’s so bad about living with junk surrounding you?
Simplifying your life and organizing your home helps your quality of life but it’s also a good thing to do for the planet.
The less you own, consume or buy will help lessen your carbon footprint.
What Is Clutter?
Clutter is anything in your house that doesn’t add value to your life. It is a collection of things lying around in an untidy mess.
Clutter is anything that has no place to live in your home. It is anything that no longer serves a purpose, is messy or unclean.
Clutter is anything overwhelming, chaotic or disorganized. It is stuffed and overflowing. It is anything that is challenging to manage.
When Is Clutter A Problem?
If clutter is interfering with your quality of life than it is a problem. Also, if your home doesn’t bring you joy and instead makes you feel overwhelmed then it is a problem.
You may waste time looking for things you can’t find and be zapped of energy because of piles of stuff in the way.
In hoarding situations, a house full of clutter can cause fire hazards and health complications because of dust and mold. These are extreme cases and not common but if you find yourself in that situation, then take the tips I give you seriously and start tidying up.
Why Should You Declutter?
Regardless of how much clutter you have in your home, organizing and simplifying your belongings will bring peace of mind and improve your quality of life.
Decluttering helps simplify your home and brings more peace and clarity into your life. It helps relieve stress and provides a sense of control and accomplishment.
Tidying up any mess helps clear up extra space in your house and allows you to live more in tune with a green lifestyle.
How To Declutter and Get Rid Of Stuff
Ok, that all sounds great! You want to live an uncluttered and clear life. But how do you even begin to declutter and get rid of stuff?
Before you start, make a plan. Having a goal will help reduce any frustrations as you go.
Do you want to tackle your whole house by the end of the year? Do you want to take it slow and go room by room? Or do you want to take it one day at a time or set aside specific weekends to purge?
No matter how many rooms you need to clear out or how much clutter you have to get through, setting goals will help you create a plan to stick to.
Purge Your Stuff
You have a few options for disposing of items that you no longer need.
- Donate- Items that you no longer need may have use for someone else. Take any items you are purging that are in good condition to a second-hand store or donate to a local charity.
- Recycle- Not everything is trash. Recycle any glass, plastics, and paper. Take electronics to the nearest e-waste center.
- Have a garage sale- You may be able to make some money off your clutter. Lookup if your neighborhood has special garage sale dates or find a weekend that works for you.
Create A Sorting System
Below, I go through some ways to sort out items while you are decluttering and organizing. Find a way that works for you.
The important thing is that you create a sorting system and stick with it. It helps you stay organized and clear on what you want to keep, what you need to donate, and what to throw away.
10 Tips To Declutter and Organize
Here are 10 tips to help you declutter and keep your home organized:
1. Ask Yourself 3 Questions When Paring Down
When you are decluttering and organizing your home, ask yourself three questions:
- “Do I need it”?
- Also, “Do I use it”?
- And, “Do I love it”?
Do you really need it? Is the item something necessary, like a coat or a chair or kitchen tools? Or is it something extra? Sure, you need some storage containers, but do you need a stack of them? You need clothes to wear but do you need a walk-in closet stuffed with them? Decide what you really need and what you can let go of.
Do you really use it? You may have 4 pairs of the cutest shoes, but only really ever wear one or two. The others are kept in your closet because you may wear them someday. But that someday may never come and they just take up space and collect dust. You may love the idea of them but they just aren’t a part of your life. If they are in good condition, they can be used by someone else. Declutter your closet, drawers, and cabinets and donate anything that you don’t use.
Do you really love it? Does the item bring you joy? Do you smile when you look at it? Or does it feel like it’s in the way or shoved out of the way? Out of sight, out of mind. If your processions don’t lift you up when you use them it may be time to let them go.
When organizing and you asked these three questions about an item and you said “yes” to at least two of the questions, go ahead and keep it. Put it somewhere where you can see it, use it, and enjoy it.
If you didn’t answer yes then that means it’s something you don’t need, use or love, so why the heck keep it around? Say goodbye and let it go. You will feel so much lighter.
2. Give Away One Item A Day
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t know where to start? Start with reducing your stuff one by one, one day at a time.
Start a donation box and once it is filled donate to charity or take to a second-hand shop. As time goes by you will notice a transformation of clutter in your home.
3. Fill A Trash Bag
Want to go a bit bigger? Grab two trash bags and take a quick spin around the house.
The idea is to clear superficial clutter from your space. Fill one trash bag with trash and in the second fill with things that can be donated or sold.
You can do this simple, quick routine every day and make a huge difference. Do it as many times until you feel you are really on top of the clutter.
4. Make A List
Create a list of places and areas in your home that needs to be decluttered. Begin with the easiest and when you are done with one area, stop and move on to the next area on the list.
You can start with drawers, closets, or whole rooms. It can be as easy or difficult as you make it. Make a list and start checking off as it fits in your schedule.
5. The Four Box Method
When you declutter an area, use four boxes to help you. One for trash, one for donating, one for keep, and one for relocate.
Each item in every room should be placed in one of the four categories. Don’t look over any item. Think of the three questions, do I need it, do I use it, and do I love it as you fill-up the boxes.
After you are done with an area, throw away the trash box, take the donate box to a local charity or second-hand store, organize the keep box, and find a new place for the relocate box to a better spot in your home.
6. Manage Mail
Mail can pile up and become an overwhelming pile (or piles) in no time. Have a designated area to put the mail that you can access easily and go through often.
Manage your mail to help tidy up your space and keep clutter out. Sign up for online bill pay, ditch junk mail for good, and opt-out of catalogs and magazines you don’t read.
Save time and have peace of mind by not having a paper trail to mess with.
7. Commit To A Clutter-Free Home
When you start cleaning up and organizing, stick with it. Commit to having a clutter-free home for good.
To be frank, don’t half-ass it!
Finish what you start. Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, don’t just leave in the sink. When putting on your PJ’s don’t just throw your clothes on the bed, hang them up or put in the laundry.
Every little thing counts in having an organized and tidy space.
8. Minimize Nostalgia Belongings
Mementos from your life or from your loved ones are harder to part with because when you see them, you relive a story or a memory. But does it serves a purpose?
If it doesn’t, let it go.
Realize that you aren’t really holding on to the memory, that will always be there, but really you are just keeping old things that you no longer need.
Go back to the three questions, do you need it, do you use it, and do you love it? If you only answered the latter, then it’s time to say goodbye.
9. Try the One-Month Cardboard Box Test
Not sure what you use and what you don’t in your kitchen, your home office, or bathroom? Try the one-month cardboard box test.
Empty drawers and cabinets into a cardboard box. For one month, put an item back into the drawer only if you take it out of the box and use it.
If it’s still in the box after four weeks, you probably don’t need it. Donate it.
Keep in mind if it’s something that you only use seasonally. Like a soup ladle. I only make soups in the winter so if I did the cardboard box test during the summer, I would be missing it when winter rolled around.
10. Everything Should Have A Place
All items should have a place where they are kept. If you find a random item it should be easy to put away. An item that has no specific location when not in us becomes clutter.
If you don’t have a location for an item and you don’t have a need or use for it, it may be time to donate or throw away.
Clutter-Free Home: Room By Room Tips
When organizing your home, remember the three questions to ask yourself. Do you need it, do you use it, and do you love it?
If you only answered one of them yes then it is time to say goodbye. Also, if you haven’t used something in over a year then it is time to let it go.
Here is room by room tips on having a clutter-free home:
Decluttering In The Kitchen
Go through the pantry and clear out any expired foods and cleaning supplies that are taking up space.
Clear out the junk drawer and recycle carryout menus. Most restaurants have an online menu when you need to find something to eat.
Donate or sell any unused kitchen dishes, utensils and kitchenware. How many plates, bowls, and cups do you really need? Be realistic. Donate and sell what you no longer need.
Decluttering In The Living Room
Clear out magazines and newspapers for recycling. Switch to online subscriptions when available.
Gather music and movies that you no longer use. Look for streaming services and donate bulky cases to charity.
Do the same for books. Sell at second-hand stores or donate to the library. Look for ways to read digitally to help keep clutter out of the house.
Declutter any nik-naks and homewares and donate or sell at a garage sale. Boardgames can be donated to schools, playgroups, or assisted living homes.
Decluttering In The Bedroom
Donate any bedding and blankets to a local homeless or animal shelter. Make sure they are in good and clean condition. Turn any unpaired sock or old clothes into cleaning rags. Donate clothes to charity or a local second-hand store or host a swap party with friends.
Also, do the closet hanger experiment. Place a unique colored hanger in your closet with all your clothes to the right of it. After you wear an item of clothing, hang it up to the left of the colored hanger.
Do this for six months. All the clothes on the right side of the hanger that you don’t wear regularly, you should consider purging and donating.
Decluttering In The Bathroom
Clear out any out of date medications, makeup, and skin care products. Take medicines to your local pharmacy so they can discard safely. Take any unused or gently used bath products to the women’s shelter or donate to charity.
Only keep what you use. If you haven’t touched something in over 6 months, it’s time to let it go. What hair tools do you no longer use? What products have you been given as a gift that just sits in the drawer?
Go through everything and ask the three questions if you need it, use it, or love it. Toss whatever doesn’t serve a purpose in your life.
Conclusion For Decluttering and Simplifying Your Life
We all have stuff that we no longer need, like or use anymore. Some of us have more than others. But you can create a calmer environment in your home, spend less time searching for things, and have less to clean and dust.
Getting rid of junk helps simplify your life.
Start at your own pace and make a commitment to declutter tidy up your home. Go one day at a time or take on a whole room to purge. I bet you have some junk lying around the house. That’s ok, we all do. Regardless of how much stuff you have, you most likely can benefit from decluttering.
You got this!
Follow These Tips For Decluttering To Help Live A Minimalist Lifestyle That Is Good For the Planet
How do you organize the clutter in your home? What is easy for you? How has it impacted your life? Share in the comments.