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So you want to live in a clutter-free home, and you’ve decided to tackle the hard stuff.
That’s good news! It’s a step towards feeling better and living a simpler life.
Many things will change as a result of your efforts.
Feelings of oppression, confusion, lack of clarity, it will all shift. As will the emotional stress you feel when surrounded by so much stuff you don’t really use or need.
So good for you! Sending lots of good energy so you finish the job!
This is not a guide on decluttering your entire home, it would be way too long. It is however a good start for major areas of the house that tend to attract clutter.
For example, the paper piles, the kitchen, the bedroom, the closet, and the bathroom!
Here are the first steps for decluttering your space the easy way.
Make sure you set time aside to work on a specific area. Choose the weekend or just 15 minutes per day, whatever works for you. Mark it on your calendar and start your mission of having a clutter-free home.
Before you start your mission towards a clutter-free home, be very clear on why you’re doing it.
You’ll be putting out a lot of work, and you might feel stressed which may decrease your motivation.
But if your reasons are clear, if you know why you want your home to be clutter-free, then you seriously increase your chances of succeeding with flying colors!
So let’s get into it.
Simple Questions Checklist
If you’re having trouble knowing what to keep or what to give,
ask yourself these simple questions.
DECLUTTER PAPER HOTSPOT
A hotspot is where you end up piling stuff that has no home! Paper hotspots are the worst.
Make sure you have a 3 tray bin next to your hotspot. Open your mail and file it immediately into these trays.
Use tray number 1 for the bills you need to pay and essential documents and tray number 2 for papers you need to file (like bank statements).
Throw out the junk mail before even opening it. But if you really need to hold onto something for later reading, then put it in bin number 3.
However, if after a few days you’ve not gone back to those important readings, well, it’s because they weren’t so important, right?
Most kitchens also have hotspots…
Look at that junk drawer, for example, or the corner of your kitchen table?
Use drawer dividers in that junk drawer and store only the things useful to you.
A clutter-free home is also about the tiny stuff we have no idea what to do with but keep just in case.
If you hesitate on an item, it should go in a box and put away in a closet.
If after 3 months, you don’t even remember what’s in the box, well, give it away. As is.
REFRIGERATOR: A clutter-free home also includes places like the fridge. What does yours look like? When you open the door do you stay calm? Or is it a complete mess?
First, declutter anything expired, usually found in the back, and get rid of all carton packaging (recycle).
Then get some acrylic bins and reorder the items for easy access.
COUNTERTOP: Do you really use all those high tech machines? If you want a clutter-free kitchen, be honest about which appliances you use, and those you wished you use – but don’t.
You love baking or cooking and actually give it a try often enough, then keep your machines close at hand in a cabinet. Not only does it make cleaning more manageable, but clutter-free countertops are visually motivating to continue the mission!
PANTRY: Get rid of everything that’s expired. Use the lower shelves for daily use, and on the upper shelves, put away extra groceries that keep well like pasta or canned goods.
Always know what you have.
To help, make an inventory, and stick it inside.
CLEAR OUT THE FRONT ENTRANCE
Is your entryway like an “open hotspot” for shoes, coats, bags, and whatever else no one wants to put away?
This makes for a very messy entrance where tripping over shoes is a daily affair.
And not good for a clutter-free home.
Invest in a coat rack. Or some cool hooks to hang bags or hats. Have an inviting entryway with a specific place for easy hanging and storing.
Make sure there’s a hook for each person and or a basket for more bulky items especially in the winter season.
Keep a little decorative bowl or small box near the door for small things like keys, change, or subway tickets.
PRODUCTS TAKING OVER THE BATHROOM?
Such a small space yet so much stuff overflowing from everywhere! You could probably spend a good hour in the bathroom sorting through all the products to make it part of your new clutter-free home…
Start with the medicine cabinet, place any expired medication in a bag, and give it to a pharmacy.
Then there’s the makeup. Anything expired has to go because it can cause allergies. If you bought one lipstick thinking it was the greatest ever.. but found another to replace it.. then toss the first one.
No need for duplicates, especially if you’re not using them.
Remember to always check expiration dates. For example, mascaras last about 3 months if you use daily. After that, all the bacteria in the tube is just not something you’d want to keep.
Check here how long to keep makeup.
OPEN THAT CLOSET!
Is it possible to have a clutter-free home when the closest is just a huge messy pile?
It’s hard but you have to be a bit ruthless when sorting out closets or they’ll take over like big bad monsters and swallow you whole!
First toss anything that’s ripped, torn, stained, too small, too big. Yes, ruthless but that’s the easy part 🙂
Then make 3 piles, one for donating, one to keep, and one for “I’ll wear it someday.”
We all have good reasons to keep stuff. Especially if you’re a girl and love clothes.
We keep thinking…if there’s a special occasion if this if that… just in case.. never know when I’ll need it… but it’s sentimental… those shoes, I paid a fortune for them!
But obviously, some things are better off elsewhere.
So try this test: Hang your clothes in the same direction. Once you’ve worn something and ready to put it back in the closet, make sure you hang it the other way.
Do the same with your shoes. Line them all up in the same direction and once you’ve worn them, put them back in the other direction.
It will give you a clear idea of what you really wear. If by the end of the season, you haven’t worn something from the “I’ll wear it someday,” then give it away.
If you have space in your closet but lack drawers for t-shirts, pants, or anything foldable, then your best bet is to use hanging closet organizers.
Those with the opposite problem: small closets (like me) plus a serious lack of drawers, then a simple metal rack for hanging your clothes is the way to go.
Out of season clothes: sort them out and give away what you didn’t wear this season.
Again if you don’t have big closets, then use vacuum bags to store the out of season clothes you’ve carefully chosen to keep. Big space saver!
Most bedrooms have that one chair, or corner of the room where clothes just pile up until you can’t even see the chair anymore.
If you’re motivated to have a clutter-free home, then that chair has got to goooo.
Your bedroom should be a harmonious safe haven. Not a fling it anywhere zone.
When you go to sleep, chaos is the the last thing you want to see.
Imagine waking up in the morning to a calm serene-looking bedroom! How does that feel? Pretty good, I know 🙂
So start picking up all that stuff. Be ruthless with what you keep and what you’ll put away. It’s an ongoing process, not a competition to get to a finish line.
One last thing to do daily: Always air out your bedroom for 15 minutes each morning, then make your bed. It gives off a clutter-free feeling almost immediately.
Download Your Checklist
Use this simple 12 point checklist to help keep your home clutter-free daily
3 TIPS FOR A CLUTTER-FREE HOME
- Before you start, make a vision board of how you’d like your home to look.
Or take a few minutes, close your eyes, and do a simple visualization.
- Remember that every item, object, piece of clothing, or anything else you own needs a home.
- Always declutter before organizing. It’s tempting just to put things away, but your mission of having a clutter-free home is to put LESS away, right?
- You probably know that sentimental Items are the hardest to let go of and deserve a whole other article. But just try to make the distinction between the person and the item itself.
For example, the presents you’ve received and felt you had to keep. Or when you wore that dress on your first date. Or when you find your kids first school notebook and go down memory lane.
Losing a loved one can also cause us to hold onto items. But it’s important to make the distinction between an item and a memory.
For example, when my father died I kept 1 thing that most represented him. It was a simple cap.
CLUTTER-FREE HOME: MISTAKES TO AVOID
- Don’t tackle everything at once! Start small, like 15 minutes small. So you can actually finish a section or a room before life gets in the way again.
- Don’t buy organizers, hangers, and new material before you start seeing things clearly. Declutter first, then take the right measurements and only then buy what you need.
- Don’t keep items out of guilt. Even if t’s a present if it’s new if the bottle is still full, yet, you don’t like the item, have no use for it, or just don’t enjoy it – then give it up.
No regrets, let it go.
- Don’t go searching back through a pile you’ve decided to give away. Once you’ve filled up a bag or box with stuff you’ve decided to let go of, do it asap. Faster than asap. You can see why right?
- Don’t forget to take before and after pictures! You’ll feel so proud of yourself and so happy to be in your clutter-free home 🙂
A FEW INTERESTING BOOKS on Decluttering
Organizing your Professional Life by Marie Kondo
The No Nonsense Home Organization Plan by Kim Davidson Jones
Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K White
Cluttered Mess to Organized Success by Cassandra Aarssen
FOLLOW THE STEPS to a clutter-free home
Decluttering doesn’t stop at the places I’ve mentioned as all homes and apartments are different. Some have additional space like the laundry room, basements, attics, guest rooms, outside gardens, and so on.
But by starting with the basics, I’m sure you will feel so free and light that this will motivate you to pursue your efforts.
From the moment you set your intention to change the way you live inside your home, the rest is a matter of effort and time. And of course, you can do it, even if it feels overwhelming or time-consuming at first. This feeling will dissipate.
Just remember to start small but always keep your intention clear. Know why you want this! And before you know it all your small steps will lead you to a beautiful serene space.
And you’ll be happy to be home 🙂
Don’t forget your 12 point checklist for daily upkeep.