If you have a problem these days, chances are there’s an expert out there, which applies in the decluttering world. Experts abound, both online and offline. So how do you know where to start, and can you declutter on your own without professional help? Here are some decluttering tips to keep your home organized and help you take on clutter and win.
The First Rule of Decluttering
You’ve probably read somewhere at some point that if you haven’t used something for more than a year, then you should throw it away. That’s a great starting point, but we’d take that a step further — in most cases, if you haven’t used something in the last six months, it’s time to move on. Think of it as proofreading your home.
When you were writing an essay in school, you’d go back and edit out any unnecessary words in the proofreading process. Those items you haven’t used in 6 months are just like those unnecessary words — it’s time to delete them from your home. Take a long hard look at the items cluttering up your rooms, and be honest. Chances are there’s a ton of things you no longer need that are just taking up space.
Reset Your Mindset to Declutter Mode
Almost all of us have a few things lying around because we think we may need them someday. It’s just human nature. Some of these items can be relatively expensive and valuable to someone else, just not to you. It’s time to change your mindset; you can always buy something later when you need it.
If you look at an item in your home and sigh with resignation, it’s probably clutter, no matter what it originally cost. Consider giving it to another family member, donating it or selling it. If the time arrives in a year or two, when you need that item, you can always buy another one then. Please don’t hold on to stuff because you might need it someday; someday rarely ever arrives.
The Gift of Clutter
It’s a good feeling when you receive a gift, but sometimes it’s a gift you’ll never use. Most of us will hold onto that gift for a long time because we don’t want to offend the family member or friend that gave it to us. The truth is, the best part of that gift was that you meant enough to them that they wanted to give it to you in the first place.
Like every other item in your home, give your gifts the 6-month treatment. If you haven’t used them in 6 months, find a better home for them. This approach doesn’t mean you didn’t appreciate receiving it, and chances are, after six months, your friend or family member will be more worried about the next gift they’re going to give you.
The 6-Month Declutter Box
There will be times that you’re just not going to be able to bring yourself to part with something after six months — that’s okay. A great way to deal with this problem is to grab a storage container or box and place these items inside there. Think of it as the 6-month declutter box. Leave these items in this box for another six months, and if you still haven’t used them after a full year, it’s time to make the tough decision and move on. If you’re holding onto something because of sentimental value, try and keep it in the family, or if your reluctance to part with the item is because of its value, try and sell it.
When You Shop It’s Time to Declutter
Another excellent method for keeping clutter under control is to declutter every time you go on a major shopping spree. It’s okay to reward yourself with something new, but in many cases, when you feel the need to shop, it’s because something else needs replacing. Don’t hold onto those items. Before you head out on that shopping spree or shortly after you get back home, clear out those old items you no longer need. It’s easier to keep clutter under control if you stay ahead of the clutter creep by discarding the old when you bring in the new.