Decluttering your house is not an easy task. Whether you are opting for a minimalist lifestyle or just want your home to appear more spacious and organized, getting rid of junk item is the way to go.
Fortunately, there are countless decluttering tips and hacks available online to make things a tad bit easier for you. What most people fail to believe is that getting rid of the things that you don’t like, or have no use for, can make life a lot simpler and much more organized. After all, a home with furniture and accessories stuffed in every corner can appear rather chaotic and untidy.
Decluttering your house or flat should not be seen as a big or daunting ordeal. Although it might appear unmanageable, you can easily do it over a weekend – or even less – if you set your mind to it and plan ahead.
To get you started on decluttering your home, here are a few things you need to get a hold of:
- Trash bags
- Cardboard boxes for storage
- Permanent Markers
- A timer
- A cleaning cloth
- An all-purpose cleaner
Before you begin throwing things into different boxes, make sure to ask yourself these questions:
- Have I used this item in the last year or so?
- Will I use this item in the next 6 months or so?
- Am I only holding onto this item because it’s expensive?
- Am I only holding onto this item because it has some sentimental value?
- Is it something I would buy if I were out shopping right now?
- Is this item functional and in usable condition or is it worn beyond repair?
- If it’s broken, can it be repaired? If so, how much would it cost and can I take time out of my schedule to get it done?
- Does it make my life easier in any way or add to the value of my home?
- Do I have any duplicates or substitutes for this item?
Things you think you need but you really don’t
- Expired toiletries
- Expired Medication
- Irreparable appliances and gadgets
- Chipped dishes, glasses and mugs
- Worn out cooking utensils
- Clothes that don’t fit anymore
- Old towels
- CDs, DVDs & VHS tapes
- Old paperwork
- Toys your children have outgrown
- Old newspapers and magazines
- Old decorative pieces
- Books you haven’t touched in a while
- Random, outdated accessories
Tip for decluttering your house
Now that we’ve got all this sorted out, let’s begin the actual process.
Clear your calendar
At the beginning of the month, select a weekend that works best for you and make sure you don’t end up planning something in the days leading up to it. It’s important to get your game plan ready by Friday night so you can start right away on Saturday.
One way to go about this is designating your entire Saturday to declutter your home. You can then spend your Sunday sorting through the “maybe” pile — which is bound to be a lot bigger than you might have expected before beginning the cleanup. Throw out the trash and put stuff to donate in your car or someplace where it’s easily visible.
It’s really important to get rid of the “donate” pile as soon as possible. Otherwise, it’ll end up sitting around your house for another week or so. Moreover, if you don’t part with these items soon, there is a huge possibility you might end up reevaluating your decision and bringing them back into the house.
Make a timetable
The biggest question you are bound to ask yourself is where to start decluttering? Well, there is a rather simple solution to this problem.
Make a list of all the rooms and storage places in your house. Now write down the estimated time it would take for you to go through each of them. Please bear in mind that some rooms will take longer to declutter and clean than others.
For instance, decluttering your bathroom might take you between 30 to 40 minutes. However, sorting through your kitchen cabinets can take anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours. The master bedroom and children’s rooms are also bound to take a little longer.
In order to make sure you don’t end up spending all of your time (and energy) in decluttering one place or get sidetracked by going through old family albums, try setting up a timer. While the timer on your phone would work perfectly, it’s better if you use a kitchen timer. This is just to ensure you don’t end up scrolling through your social media feed or checking the messages on your phone.
Since decluttering your home can get a bit tedious, it’s only natural that you would start looking for a distraction. Playing music on speakers can be a good way to keep yourself from being sidetracked. You might even have some fun while getting the job done.
It’s also extremely important to give yourself short breaks in the middle. Just remember, you can’t work on an empty stomach.
Get your family on board
To be completely honest, your family can turn out to be one of the biggest obstacles in your mission to declutter your home. As soon as you mention the words ‘getting rid of,’ your children, parents or spouse are likely to develop a sudden attachment to every single thing they own – even if it’s buried deep inside their closets. Not to mention, they might also try to stall the whole process altogether.
If you are dealing with kids, try setting up an incentives system, where the child who manages to gather most items to get rid of gets a reward. It can be anything from a bar of chocolate to a trip to an amusement park in the near future.
On the other hand, if it’s the adults that you are dealing with, you can always try getting them on board by explaining the merits of a decluttered house. You should also assure them that you won’t throw away things that are important to them. Make sure to get their vote before you discard any of the items they own – unless it is something you know they don’t care about or won’t need anytime soon for sure.
Don’t clean as you declutter
One of the biggest mistakes people make while decluttering the house is cleaning things as they go. While it’s important to clean the items that you are planning to donate or even sell, it is certainly not a good idea to scrub the insides of your kitchen cabinets and wipe your windows while you sort through the clutter you have accumulated over the years. If you do that, you’ll crash and burn much sooner than you’d thought.
Instead, make sorting out the junk your first priority and postpone the cleaning and wiping till the next weekend. However, make sure to straighten things up once you are done with a room so that it doesn’t look messier than when you started decluttering.
Sort clutter into 3 categories
When you begin emptying your closets and shelves, divide things into three distinct piles: items that can be donated or sold, things that need to be thrown away, and stuff you are a little unsure about. Once you put the rest back in its place, put items that you want to donate and stuff you are hesitant to part ways within separate bags or cardboard boxes. You can even add labels to keep these bags from mixing up. Meanwhile, things you don’t need any more have to be placed inside a trash bag.
Please make sure the things you have kept aside for donation are not beyond repair or unusable. As for the expensive things you don’t want around anymore, try selling them on one of the many online portals. You can even post their pictures on Facebook groups dedicated to this purpose. This way, you can declutter your home and make money at the same time.
Don’t abuse the ‘maybe’ box
When you are decluttering your home, there is a good chance you’ll come across things that you had completely forgotten about but would be hesitant to throw away. These items will then make their way to the ‘Maybe’ box, which will fill up faster than you can say the word ‘declutter.’
Now, the key to not abusing this particular pile of sentimental stuff is to refer to the questions listed above and figure out if you would really have any use for this in the future. Once you are done decluttering, come back to this box and sort through the items again. It’s better if you can get someone else to do it for you, just so you don’t end up keeping everything.
Note: In case of old tapes and DVDs, go digital and save stuff on your computer. Don’t let CDs eat up your drawers.
What to do with family heirlooms?
The dishware your grandmother left you, the stamp collection your grandfather gave you and the antique tea set bequeathed to you by your great aunt may hold a lot of sentimental value but do they add to the value of your house? Probably not.
Generally, people don’t use things left to them by their deceased elders. However, unless you have all of this stuff displayed somewhere in your house, it might be a good idea to put them carefully in a box and store them somewhere safe. In case you don’t have a separate storage area, put these boxes under your bed or even above your cupboards, just remember to cover them up with a quilt or fabric that goes with the décor of your room.
Rearrange your furniture
Decluttering opens up your house in a way you can’t even begin to imagine. It doesn’t matter if your house is small or big, as soon as you get rid of all the unnecessary junk and put everything in its correct place, your home will appear more spacious and less overwhelming.
Rearranging your furniture at the end of decluttering can give a new life to your place and help you appreciate all the unused space that you hadn’t thought about before. Having less stuff in a room allows you to play around with different settings and change things up a little – after all, change is always good. Moreover, let’s not forget the right arrangement can make the room bigger.
Only exit the room once you’re done
It might sound tedious, but avoid leaving a room until you are done decluttering unless it’s time for your break. Even then, try and complete your work before getting up and moving on to a different part of the house. The reason behind this is pretty straightforward: if you exit a room in the middle of cleaning it up, there’s a good chance you’ll lose your motivation or forget what you had planned to do next. This avoidable hiccup can put your plan to declutter your home on an indefinite hiatus. It may even force you to spend more time than you had initially allotted for that particular corner.
Needless to say, decluttering your house is a tiresome process and you’d want to complete it as soon as possible.
Celebrate your success
Don’t forget to treat yourself once you are done decluttering the place. You can reward yourself by ordering some food or even watching a good movie with your family at the end of the day.
However, make sure you don’t reward yourself by buying something completely unnecessary. After all, what’s the point of decluttering your house if you are going to fill up the newly-freed space in your house with new clutter. To keep your house tidy and functional, repeat this process twice a year. Also, refrain from purchasing things you don’t need or like.
There you go folks, that’s how you can organize and declutter your home in a weekend.