You haven’t cleaned your place in months and the junk around the house has been piling up since the holidays.
You’ve been putting it off and putting it aside for so long, your place looks like the home of a potential hoarder.
It’s time to organize and declutter your house.
My decluttering project came a few months after moving into a new place after my separation.
Luckily, you don’t need a dissolved relationship to declutter the house. All you need is a simple action plan.
Here are some simple steps on how to declutter and drastically minimize all the junk in your life, but before beginning this project, it’s essential to get in the right frame of mind.
Set aside an entire day for the task.
Don’t try and cram the clean-up into an afternoon with a dinner date on the agenda for the evening or come home from work angry and begin to just toss stuff into the dumpster.
Either a lazy Sunday when nothing else in the world is going on or maybe even take a personal day off from work to get home life in order.
Another trick to getting mentally pumped for personal item dumping is to do an online search of bedrooms, offices, and basements to emulate.
Try Pinterest. (Yes, Pinterest.)
Create a vision board of the home office of your dreams and try and recreate it in your own abode.
Just don’t go out and buy MORE stuff.
This is all to minimize and not expand.
BUT BEFORE LEARNING HOW TO DECLUTTER – recognize the difference between decluttering and just reorganizing.
Besides frame of mind, the next important aspect of minimizing the clutter is to understand the difference between decluttering and reorganizing.
Reorganizing doesn’t always eliminate the influx of stuff. It just makes it easier to find.
Let’s use tools as an example — it’s great to collect all of the multi-purpose tools, screwdrivers, hammers, saws, drills and arrange the battalion neatly next to the workbench but how many flathead screwdrivers are really necessary?
Here’s a hint — one! Especially if the multi-tools and the drill also have flathead features.
The same goes for kitchen clutter — you don’t need a bottle opener for every single beer bottle in your fridge — office supplies, grooming products and any household elements where similar items tend to accumulate over time.
Once the decluttering is over, THEN the reorganizing can begin.
And one last thing! Ask yourself this question while decluttering…
It’s a simple question a person should ask when eliminating the excess in their life.
“Is this item useful or just fun to look at?”
Are you holding onto an item because it comes in handy or because it looks cool or because you “might” need it someday? Is it functional or just a conversation piece that takes up room in your life?
If the item is useful, and you don’t already own a hundred, hang onto it. If it’s just badass to look at and serves no real purpose, think about selling it, donating it or just dumping it in the toss pile.
Ok, now we’re ready…
How To Declutter – Steps To Getting Rid Of Junk
Step 1: Start small and finish small
It’s tempting to walk into a room of the house and just start rummage through all the rough spots.
The home office is atrocious, and it’s tempting to just start going through all the drawers, and the closet but then one discovery leads you into a different room, and now you’ve got to find a spot and STOP.
One mess at a time. One room at a time.
Trying to do it all at the same time just leads to frustration and a bigger mess.
Start with one drawer. Completely clean it out. Move on to the next drawer.
Continue until a room is complete.
Move to the next room.
Step 2: Take the “storage test”
Rent out a storage unit (or maybe a parent’s garage if you’re low on cash and they don’t mind helping out) and move EVERYTHING that isn’t furniture, or bolted to the floor, into storage.
Leave it there, untouched, for a week.
Take note of the items you genuinely need or went looking for after the move.
Those are the items to bring back into the house.
Anything else that went untouched for a couple of weeks dump or sell it.
Everything else can return back into the house but consider hiding it inside storage benches or other inconspicuous spots.
Step 3: Get a second opinion
Friends are there to help us in times of need.
Right now, you need an outside influence to really take stock of your life. Especially if you live alone.
A person who’ll step in and ask the tough questions like “what the hell are you still doing with a fraternity jersey?”
Enlist the help of a trusted friend or sibling to not only help with any heavy lifting but to act as a second opinion on “should it stay or should it go.”
If possible, find a member of the opposite sex.
Men tend to understand why another guy has seventeen jerseys hanging in his hall closet while women will sympathize with another female hanging onto their prom dress for a decade.
This doesn’t help the cause.
The opposite sex will be way more realistic during the purging process.
Step 4: Live by the “I didn’t buy it so screw it” Rule
How much of the stuff around your house are gifts you were too lazy to return, regift or just toss?
If you’ve got drawers full of sweaters from your aunt you’ll never wear or a closet full of gadgets with only one specific purpose, purge immediately.
Be sure to toss things you’re holding onto just because they were gifts or because you feel bad someone paid money.
Especially toss items sitting around just to display when the gift-giver happens to come over.
That’s just dumb.
Step 5: Think About It As A Side Job
Everyone loves to side job so why not make some extra cash AND clean up your life?
Having a ton of stuff might feel good but having a ton of money feels even better.
Do some online research before the big cleanse to find places to trade in your items for cash.
Take all of the money and take a trip or maybe invest in more storage options so this all doesn’t happen again.
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