As the saying goes, new year – new you. We can all relate to wanting to start the year off with a fresh start. This applies to our homes as well. Throughout the year, we all accumulate “things”, be it clothing, shoes, beauty products, dishes, and even cleaning supplies. We constantly buy new items, but rarely get rid of any we already have. This leads to clutter weighing us down and making us feel unorganized. If you aren’t sure where to begin, or simply feel overwhelmed by the thought of decluttering, here are some ways to start.
Analyze and strategize: Start one room at a time and make a plan of what you are hoping to accomplish with each space. Make a list and give yourself a timeframe so you stay on track and accountable to get the job done. Be prepared by having enough supplies to get the job done. This means storage or trash bins, labels or post it notes, and of course cleaning supplies.
Prioritize what is needed and what needs to be discarded: Decide what items are necessary and what you should get rid of. The general rule is if you haven’t used it in six months, chances are you won’t use it or need it. So donate those unused items instead, as they are just taking up precious space.
Use the three bin sort method: Make 3 bins: Keep, Toss, Donate. This method will help you easily sort through clutter and decide what you keep or toss. You should be able to place every item in your home into one of these categories. When sorting, it’s best to make quick decisions, so you don’t spend a lot of time getting sentimental about objects. This way, you can easily find a place for everything.
Start with the busiest room: As we use them the most, these rooms are usually filled with the most clutter and will take the most time. Have a friend or family member help you so you don’t get bogged down and hold on to unnecessary things. This will also help motivate so you don’t get bored and want to quit. Don’t let “stuff” define you or deter you from your goal. Parting with things will give you peace of mind.
Less stuff means less cleaning: Remember, the more you have, the more time you spend cleaning. Do you have closets full of clothes? That means lots of time spent doing laundry and folding. Same goes with knick knacks. The more you keep, means more time spent dusting. Think about your cupboards. If you have a lot of dishes, you will tend to use more or even let them pile up, meaning more dish washing. This applies to cleaning products as well. Keeping a lot of extra cleaning supplies just adds to clutter and most don’t end up getting used. Instead, pare down what you don’t need and see how much time you save on cleaning.
Don’t forget the kitchen and pantry: Give yourself a fresh start for the new year with a clean kitchen, decluttered cabinets and a healthy pantry and fridge. Toss worn dish towels; cut them up to make rags or even donate them to animal shelters. Sell or give away small appliances and dishes you rarely or never use. Recycle or toss cups and plastic containers. We tend to keep these “just in case” but rarely ever need to use more than a few. One of the worst areas in the home is the panty. Since most canned or boxed foods have a long shelf life, we often forget about them. Toss all expired food and spices you’ve collected throughout the year, or donate any excess.
Last but not least, if you are finding yourself not able to get through on your own, it is a good idea to enlist the help of experts. It will save you time and frustration, and they can help pinpoint areas that can be improved. Additionally, if your project includes a particularly large area, garage, or yard, etc. hiring a junk hauler will speed up the process and get you back to enjoying a cleaner, more livable home.