Inevitably, every person reaches a point where they’d like to begin a decluttering journey. Whether it’s a packed closet or a messy house, the process itself can be daunting. Recently, men and women met in an online discussion to reveal the best tips that will kickstart your decluttering journey and ensure that you’ll be well on your way to a more organized life.
1. Take Inventory
One of the most recommended ways to begin decluttering is to grab a pen and paper and take a thorough inventory of everything that may need to go. For each room, take note of any container you have and a quick description of what’s in each one. Like budgeting your income, this method gives you a fresh perspective and lets you see the road ahead concisely.
2. The Bag in the Closet
Many people swear by the “bag in the closet” method and credit it for making the decluttering process infinitely more manageable. “Put a bag in a centrally located closet,” instructs one woman. “As you’re going through your day, when you happen to see something and think, ‘Hmmm, I don’t really need that,’ take it to the bag immediately. Then go on about your day. Stick the bag in your car trunk as soon as it is full. Put another empty bag in the closet. Next time you drive by a thrift store, unload the trunk.”
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3. Listen to Podcasts and Audiobooks
Surprisingly, hundreds (if not thousands) of podcasts and audiobooks directly relating to decluttering are at your fingertips. If you crave expert advice, you owe it to yourself to start listening to cleaning podcasts, at the very least. You’ll never know the tips and tricks you can uncover, making your journey far more straightforward and less aggravating.
4. The Container Concept
By first filling containers with your favorite things, you can visualize what does or doesn’t belong. One person puts it all into perspective. “Your dresser (or closet or whatever) is as big as it is; it can only hold what it holds,” explains one woman. “So fill it with your favorite clothes first, and whatever doesn’t fit, doesn’t fit and needs to go. Same concept for bookshelves, kitchen utensil drawers, anything.” I know I have some clothes in a bottom drawer that wouldn’t make the cut!
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5. Take Baby Steps
It’s time to acknowledge the elephant in the room: the entire decluttering process will take time. It isn’t something you can check off your list in one day! Here’s a tip: Take it one area, room, or piece of furniture at a time. It will be a long, arduous journey, but taking baby steps and knocking off one thing at a time will go a long way into keeping your mindset positive!
6. Ask Important Questions
Many men and women advise you to ask yourself vital questions when beginning to declutter. Questions like, “When was the last time I used this?” go a long way! When I ask myself this, I realize that I haven’t worn many shirts or clothes in over a year; that tells me that I should move on from that item without a second thought.
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7. Begin to Compartmentalize
It’s time to start placing items in mental categories to make throwing them away easier. “Start with all that is trash, broken things, clothes with holes in them, paper just lying around,” one savvy declutterer reveals. “Look at things that you see in the open. Next, go room by room and remove things you do not love directly. Then think about things you have multiples of; how many pencils do you need?” This person raises a valid point: Why keep anything you don’t love?
8. Set up Reminders on Your Phone
Even something as simple as setting up a reminder on your phone that says “Declutter for 15 minutes” can motivate you to make much-needed progress. We’re on our phones all day anyway — surely we can use those magical devices to help us organize our lives! You’d be amazed how much work you can get done in just a quarter of an hour.
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9. The “Point and Declutter” Strategy
Figuring out where to start can be challenging, but many people advise you to point at something, anything, and start there. “I was overwhelmed with a closet; it contained boxes and boxes of old business records, empty boxes that might get used, dozens of rolls of partially used wrapping paper,” confesses one woman. “I was staring at a box of cords and remote controls from when we moved in 2009 and never used. I began by just doing one thing and gave myself 30 minutes. It gave me a great jumping-off point.”
10. Take Your Time
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there’s an easy solution: Slow down. Remember, decluttering is not only a process, it’s a state of mind. There’s nothing wrong with taking your time — even if you feel behind schedule. Keeping a positive mindset is crucial, and if you’re feeling stressed that you haven’t made enough progress, you should step back and move a little slower. There’s no rush!
11. Get Some Help
Countless people confess that enlisting the help of friends and family can give a much-needed boost to the decluttering journey. Two sets of hands (or more!) are better than one, and many men and women are shocked at how quickly and efficiently they can declutter when someone is helping them. If you’re doing it alone, it’s time to reach out and see who can lend a helping hand.
This article was produced and syndicated by Happy Organized Life.