People tend to go into cleaning mode once the holiday festivities have passed. Some even make reassessing and reorganizing their things part of their goals or resolutions for the year. Still, for many, decluttering a home is an overwhelming task. For others, the idea of owning less is simply challenging. Whether you’re downsizing, simplifying your life or space, or just wanting a fresh start, decluttering doesn’t have to be as painful as some make it out to be. If you’re ready to start 2022 off on the right foot, check out these tips on how to declutter your home.
How to Declutter Your Home: 7 Tips
1. Make a Schedule and Checklist
Organizing and decluttering your home takes time and energy. That’s why it’s helpful to schedule a specific time to do it.
Start allotting five minutes at a time for small spaces or items. When you’re ready and able to, block out at an hour of your time for each area, corner, or room that needs decluttering. On weekends, allocate longer hours for bigger items and spaces.
It’s also useful to have a decluttering checklist to help you know where to get started. Write down all the things and spaces you need to organize. You can even add when you want to have this done.
2. Put Away Things You Don’t Need
People often hang onto things they think they’ll need — and then end up not using them again. Over time, this results in extra items scattered around the house.
To fix this, you can:
- Discard outdated medications, makeup, and skincare products.
- Eliminate multiples of an item (unless they’re essentials, like batteries or lightbulbs).
- Put away or return anything that is in the wrong spot.
- Put away books or outgrown toys from the living room.
- Throw out empty tissue boxes, pens that have gone dry, or chargers that no longer work.
As a rule of thumb, it’s best to put away (or donate) things you haven’t used in more than six months or more.
Now, decluttering your home doesn’t mean you have to throw away everything. Chances are you still have usable items, just too many of them.
For example, go through your closet and identify items you haven’t touched or worn in a few months. If you have two to three of any kind of clothing, it’s time to give away the extras. Similarly, if the kids have outgrown their books, clothes, or toys, it’s a good idea to bin these for donation.
These can be shared to a charitable organization, a donation center, or another person. Remember, these could be items that another person will want or need.
4. Find a Decluttering Method that Works for You (and the Fam)
The process of how to declutter a home will look different for everyone. That’s why it’s helpful to find a method that suits you best.
The 12-12-12 challenge allows you to identify 12 things to throw away, 12 to donate, and 12 more to return to their proper places.
Another option is the five-box method. Get five bins or baskets and label them as put away, recycle, fix, trash, or donate. Go through each room in your home and place items into one of the following boxes. This may take a while, but you’ll see how many items you own and know what to do with them.
Finally, consider adopting a policy where everyone at home returns an item where they took it from (or to its proper place) after they use it. Shifting everyone’s mindset and making organizing a daily habit will help make decluttering your home an easy task.
5. Maximize Home Storage
Use clever, space-saving container ideas to help you maximize your storage space.
Here are some ideas:
- Add pocketed containers for your jewelry pieces.
- Boxes and trays can help stack items in cabinets or under the sink.
- Create boxes for kids’ toys to be stored neatly in the living room.
- Repurpose empty bookcases.
- Use your bedside table or desk drawers to store items fitting for the room.
- Utilize the space under your bed for bigger items.
You’ll be surprised at how much storage space you actually have, such as between shelves, under the bed, or vertical spaces in the garage or attic. Plus, they camouflage into your existing furniture or home design.
It also helps to label your storage boxes. This may sound like a time-consuming process, but it’s so satisfying and worth the effort when you’ve stacked your items neatly in storage areas. This also eliminates the need to wrestle through things and create a mess when you’re searching for something.
Essentially, these creative solutions will help house all the things you want to keep — but in a smart, neat way.
6. Look at Things from an Outsider’s Perspective
Consider this: Declutter your home as if you’re looking at it from a new visitor’s POV. Have a walk through, write down your observations on cleanliness and organization, and make the necessary changes.
It also helps to take before and after photos of each area. For instance, head to your kitchen and snap pictures of the counter and drawers. Clean off items in the photo that you see do not belong in the space.
It’s also beneficial to have a friend or family member go through your home and suggest big items to discard or donate. Good, honest pals will push you to let go of things you don’t need and what you can hold onto. If you want to keep some items, they have to agree with your reason. If they don’t agree, get rid of it.
7. Declutter Regularly
Decluttering is not a one-time thing. You go shopping and you receive gifts from friends, so it’s natural to accumulate new things over time.
One of the best tips for how to declutter your home is to do it regularly. Some may do it every month, while others may choose to wait three to six months.
Keep in mind that decluttering your home is a regular process. Whichever interval works for you, be sure to organize time on your calendar, make it a priority, and stick with it.
Keeping your home organized can sound like a daunting task. Sometimes, it can even be tempting to keep things the way they are. But knowing how to declutter your home will help ensure your home gets a fresh start into the new year.
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