Clearing and Decluttering your Home
Clearing and Decluttering your Home
Do you “live” in your house? Or does the clutter “live” in your house?
Sometimes you might have a hard time trying to figure this one out.
Maybe it’s been so long it has become a lifestyle. Maybe you’re thinking it may haunt you forever?
Do you have family that “live” with you and they dump the junk where ever they want because they don’t know anything else? Do you ever feel like you want to rent a hotel room to get away from it all?
Living in a cluttered home can make you feel tired and hopeless – like you’re not in control of your life.
Well if you’re thinking the clutter is too much in control, get yourself back in the driver’s seat and take control back!
Just imagine what a sense of calm you’ll feel when there is no mess scattered around. It will be liberating. Let’s us help you kick the clutter habit.
Be Prepared for Clutter Removal
Yes, it is a bit of an art, and it does take practice and patience. Starting the process may not be the easiest thing to do but as time goes by – the journey does come to fruition.
If you take it one step at a time you will make mounds of progress. You will see the act of removing clutter as an enhancement to your home decor and living environment.
The first thing to be done is to prepare to clear the clutter so you can put everything back in a way that makes sense, is organized and clean. You will most likely need some of the following items:
- Garbage bags – not only for garbage but the items you will be giving away.
- Boxes – these can be used for things you’ll be donating or giving away and for the items you find that belong in other rooms in the house.
- Clear storage containers and labels – These will be used for storing seasonal items (clothes, decorations, etc.), the memorabilia from your kids, toys, they’re great for the things that only come out occasionally and label them accordingly.
- Cleaning supplies – because when you’re down to the ground, you’ll want to clean and tidy up.
A cluttered home is visually and physically draining. Get ready to un-stuff the stuff and bring back the order to your home.
Evaluate Your Home
Take a moment to look around your home and assess its appearance. Rearranging your living environment will do a lot for reducing a cluttered appearance. It will also make your home more inviting to you and your guests.
Use your most critical artist’s eye. Go room by room, look at the overall picture and visually assess how the room greets the eye.
Look at the items you have on display, do you still like them or are they dated and you really haven’t seen them sitting there for years? Have they become an eyesore on your shelf collecting dust? If you don’t have any special attachments to them – get rid of them.
Use the same critical eye for furnishings and other accessories in a room. The arrangement of chairs, sofas, dining table, coffee tables, end or casual tables, table tops, lighting, fireplace, beds, and so on.
Too often we hang on to furniture just because it’s there. Get rid of worn out chairs and other items by either donating to thrift stores if it’s still useable, or trashing it if it’s in bad shape.
This kind of evaluation process can be a big step when decluttering your home and make it more attractive.
Fewer things are easier to maintain and makes cleaning quicker and easier too! Sometimes this can be the major culprit in rooms looking and feeling cluttered.
Making a new and Comfortable Layout
It might help if you have some graph paper – the kind with faded blue lines so that you can sketch your rooms to scale. If you don’t have graph paper, use plain or ruled paper and “guesstimate” the layout.
After you’ve sketched the outline of the room, cut out squares and rectangles for the furniture, lamps, coffee tables, beds, dressers, etc. Rearrange them to come up with a better layout, and then try it out for real!
If one designed layout doesn’t work, rearrange or remove a piece or two to get the desired uncluttered appearance you’re looking for.
There are also some very good computer programs for designing room layouts. If you are computer savvy and comfortable with purchasing a program written for this application, you might want to give it a try.
Pick up the Junk
When you are clearing the clutter from the room you are working in – be cold and calculating.
Ok, there are some obvious things you don’t need to hang on to:
- Moldy foods.
- Broken knick knacks.
- Old papers, books, and magazines that are ripped, stained, smelling of mold.
- Old furniture and accessories.
- Clothes that are stained, ripped, don’t fit, not your style.
- Anything you regret having and don’t remember why you got it in the first place.
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: if an item is not ripped, stained, and in good condition – donate it to charity. Someone will appreciate the effort you made to clean your house.
Set your boxes out so you can easily put donation items in one, things that go in another part of the house in another (don’t put these away until the room they belong in has been gone through and cleaned), one for the things you’re keeping in the room, and one for items that need to be stored.
Use garbage bags to put everything that is just plain clutter and trash in them. These items need to be scooped up and disposed of – never to grace your home again.
Don’t hesitate to enlist the assistance of another family member – especially if moving furniture is included in your plan of action. It saves wear and tear on your back plus encourages the rest of the family to “buy in” to the idea of clearing clutter from your home.
When you’re done, give the room a good cleaning before you put things back (vacuum furniture, clean counters, etc.) – now clutter is a thing of the past. Hurray!
Dust your hands off and give yourself a pat on the back.
Are You Having a Hard Time Deciding What Stays and What Doesn’t?
Everyone has family memories. If this is one of your tough decisions, put items safely in a storage container and store it.
If something hasn’t been seen, used, worn, etc. ask yourself if it be anytime soon. Chances are if you haven’t done anything with it in a long time – you most likely won’t in the future either.
Do you have a mess of papers but can’t seem to rid yourself of old paystubs, bills, credit card bills and statements? Do yourself a favor and toss them out. Most of these you only need to keep for one year.
If you have kids and you’re having a hard time deciding which toys to keep – look at what is truly important to them and what they actually play with. The rest can be donated to other kids that would love to play with the things your kids don’t.
Let’s be honest, some of us have way too many clothes. If you can’t part with things that you actually wear but you really don’t have the room for them, buy space saver bags or storage bins that store nicely under the bed or in a closet.
What Can I Do with the Stuff I Don’t Want?
If you have gifts you’ve received and don’t like – either give them to charity or regift them (just make sure you know who gave it to you so you don’t regift it back). Don’t feel bad about not keeping them; someone else will love what you don’t. Spread the joy!
If some of the things you are getting rid of are in good condition, have a garage sale. Take your stack of books to a store that will buy them back from you. Why not try and make a little money from all the effort you’ve put into cleaning your house up?
Share with family and friends. What you don’t want might be another’s treasure.
It’s Time to Start Fresh!
Don’t try and fill every nook and cranny. Keep it simple.
After cleaning the room, it’s time to start fresh and put only the things back you want, are important to you, you need, you will use for holidays, etc.
Think about the plan you created above for furniture your layout and accessories. Everything will have a home.
If someone takes a game down, when they’re done, make sure they know to put it back where it came from.
Organize like with like. If you don’t want your DVD collection on a shelf, buy a footstool that is also a storage place. These are also great for magazines, books, etc. Just be sure when you have finished the magazine or book you don’t hang on to them longer than necessary.
Over the years I have learned some things from friends and others that are actually really good ideas. Here’s a few:
- This is one of my favorites. Store sheet sets inside their matching pillowcase. Clever isn’t it?
- My girls have always loved their jewelry, a neat idea for bracelets and rings – a paper towel holder. You can use the counter kind or the kind that attaches to a wall. If you use the stand up kind with a small tube, the small tube can be used for rings.
- Get a cable organizer for the office or entertainment area.
- Another of my favorites and so creative is using spring rods to divide cupboards for items like cookie sheets, serving platters, etc. Ingenious!
Keep it Fresh
Do regular declutterings every so often so you don’t find your home overly stuffed again. Put a reminder on a calendar and stick to it. After all – less is more. More doesn’t always make you happier, right?
Clean as you go. After a time this will become a habit so your house is never a mess again.
If you do have an inkling to buy more, ask yourself if you really need it or if you have a place for it before you swipe the credit card.