Easy Steps To Start De-Cluttering Your Home
If the word “de-cluttering” is even on your radar, it probably means you know your home needs it. These days, many of our homes have been become overrun by our ever-growing collection of “stuff” that ranges from clothing and accessories, video games, an assortment of electronics, paperwork, books, toys, makeup and hundreds of things we never use anymore but haven’t bothered getting rid of.
- De-cluttering your home is a simple way to bring more peace, order and simplicity to your life. It can give you rooms you can walk through without tripping on things. Drawers you can open and easily find what you’re looking for. A garage that actually has room for your car. A spare bedroom that doesn’t resemble a storage locker. A basement that’s more than a place to hoard dusty, old boxes of things that have been there so long you don’t even know what’s in them.
- You will spend much less time cleaning because you won’t have to move so many things around just to have empty surfaces to dust and vacuum. With less time spent cleaning, you’ll have more time to spend with your loved ones or doing the things you enjoy in life.
- It will be easier to find things you’re looking for, saving time and frustration.
- If you ever need to relocate, packing and moving becomes easier. Why pay to haul all your junk and clutter from your old home to your fresh new one?
- A clutter free home is more relaxing. More inviting. Less stressful.
- You won’t have to run around searching for places to hide all your clutter and junk when company’s coming.
- When you see how much better your life is in a clutter-free environment, you’ll be less likely to waste money on things you don’t really need.
- Charities benefit because when you go through your home, you’re sure to find lots of things you no longer want or need, but can still be of use to someone else.
Are you convinced yet?
If so, gather a few sturdy garbage bags, some empty cardboard boxes or crates and a Sharpie and get ready to start!
Start with your easiest room
Beginning “de-clutterers” need to take baby steps. Tackle only one room at a time and don’t move on until it’s done. If you do a little de-cluttering here and there throughout your entire house, you will probably get overwhelmed and give up.
Head to the room that scares you the least with your garbage bags and boxes
Start gathering obvious garbage. Anything worn out, old, broken, outdated or in too bad of shape to give to charity. Don’t be a wimp about this part. If you have trouble getting rid of things, have a no-nonsense friend or relative help you. If you come across stacks of paperwork, it’s best to put this aside to go through later when you have more time to separate true garbage from anything important or documents with personal information that you need to put through the shredder. If you’re someone with a collection of old appliances or electronics that don’t work and need to be repaired, get rid of them. Unless you feel they have real value, chances are they’ll just sit there broken, collecting more dust and taking space. If you’re de-cluttering a bathroom, be sure to throw out old makeup, expired medications and beauty products. Expired products aren’t only taking up space, they could be unsafe to use.
When you’re done with this step and hopefully have a full garbage bag or two (or ten!), all the other stuff will be easier to sort into the following categories:
These items will be obvious to you. They’re things you use, things you love, and things you don’t want to part with. How much you want to keep is entirely up to you, but keep your space limits in mind. If you don’t have much storage space in your home or live in a small apartment, consider adding the things you can do without to the “sell” or “donate boxes.” You can always rent a storage unit to make more space in your home, but that’s an on-going monthly expense. And, if you do decide to rent a storage unit, only use it for things you definitely want to keep, and not just another place to dump junk and clutter you can’t decide what to do with.
Mark one or more of your boxes “DONATE” and fill them with the things you no longer want, but are still in good enough of condition to be used by someone else. Charities are always in desperate need of clothing for adults and children, bed linens, blankets, shoes, small appliances, toys, books, furniture, working televisions and more. Check your Yellow Pages or search online for charities in your area. Many will pick up the items from your doorstep and save you the trouble of hauling them to a drop-off center. I’ve listed some links to help you find charities at the end of this article.
Mark one or more of your other boxes “SELL” if you have items that are of value and plan to sell them. When you’re done de-cluttering, you can sell your items on eBay, Craigslist, Amazon.com or a variety of other websites. You can also take household items, furniture and clothing to local consignment shops or even hold a garage sale to get rid of everything at once. See the links at the end of the article for some ideas of where to sell your stuff.
Don’t slow down your de-cluttering process with indecision. If you really can’t decide what to do with certain items, toss them in the “DECIDE LATER” box and go through it when you have more time. Just don’t let the box sit there forever and create more clutter.
Some Final De-Cluttering Tips
Doing a full de-clutter of your home is a huge accomplishment. De-cluttering isn’t a one-time project, though. Things eventually start to accumulate again. Outgrown children’s clothing and toys build up, paperwork accumulates, knick-knacks start piling up. If you continue to do a little de-cluttering here and there as needed, it won’t ever become a huge chore.
Every time you’re in the store or mall, think about the purchases you’re making. Are they things you really need or want or are they just contributing to the accumulation of more “stuff”?
Involve other family members if possible so the work will go faster. Tell them about the benefits of clutter-free living. If they realize it isn’t just cleaning, but something that will make their lives simpler, free up their time, generate cash from the sale of unwanted things and help others through charity donations, even reluctant family members can be convinced to help.
Learn More About De-Cluttering
Some De-Cluttering & Home Organization Links
- HGTV De-Cluttering Page
Declutter the most-used spaces in your home. The housekeeping experts at HGTV give decluttering tips for kitchens, closets, bedrooms, and garages.
- Easy Cleaning and Home Organizing Tips | Real Simple
The best tips for cleaning and organizing your home including garages, closets, kitchens, bathrooms, and more at Real Simple.
- Peter Walsh's 10 Tips to De-Clutter Your Home - Oprah.com
Is clutter taking over your home? Organizational expert Peter Walsh has these tips to reclaim your space.
Some Charities To Donate Your Stuff
- Donate to Goodwill
- The Salvation Army
- Nationwide Charity Donation Pick Up - Donate Clothes, Furniture, Books, Toys, Clothing, Other Donati
Donation Town is a nationwide directory of charities that will pick up clothing donations and other household goods donations. Find a charity will come to your home to pick up your donation for free. Donation pick up is free, easy, and tax deductible
- Vietnam Veterans of America Pick-Up Service
Vietnam Veterans of America offers free pick up clothing donations and other household items donations. Donate clothes, toys, shoes and other houshold items.
- Purple Heart Pickup Service
Clothing donation pickup by Purple Heart Pickup Service. Donate used clothes for pickup in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia.
Info on Storage Units
- Tips For Renting a Storage Unit
If you’re considering renting a storage unit, here are some helpful tips and advice to make this process go as smoothly as possible.
Some Places Online To Sell Your Stuff
Buy and sell electronics, cars, fashion apparel, collectibles, sporting goods, digital cameras, baby items, coupons, and everything else on eBay, the world's online marketplace
- Amazon.com - Sell Your Stuff
- Sell.com : We help you Sell
Sell.com, merchant advertising and e-commerce solutions. Buy or Sell: pets, autos, homes, computers, and fashion for sale by owner.
- Half.com: Sell Your Textbooks, Books, Movies, Music
© 2012 carolynkaye