Whenever January rolls around, we suddenly seem to discover new reserves of enthusiasm for improving our lives. The New Year is considered a clean slate, a time to set goals and get organized. This year, consider resolving to declutter your home—and keep it that way all year long.
Sure, keeping your home organized can be tough, especially if you’ve got kids, pets, or a general inability to part with all the stuff you’ve accumulated over the years. The good news is, once you get through the major decluttering, keeping your home clutter-free shouldn’t require a significant amount of time. Try some of these tips to get organized and stay that way.
Bring out the boxes. The first major step in decluttering your home is determining what you can let go. Go through the rooms of your house one by one with 3 boxes—one for things you want to keep but that need somewhere to be stored, one for things you want to donate or sell, and one for things that you’re going to throw away. It can be hard figuring out what you can part with, so ask yourself when you last used certain items. If it has been over a year, chances are you can toss or donate it. Be sure that you actually get rid of the items in the “donate” and “toss” boxes when you’re done, rather than just storing them away.
Keep organizing sessions short. Sometimes deep cleaning and organizing your possessions can be cathartic, but many people find that if they try to declutter their entire house in one go, they lose steam and never finish the project. If you’re having trouble getting motivated to start your decluttering project, commit to spending 15 minutes every day getting your house organized or decide to declutter one specific area at a time.
Break down the clutter with compartments. Some of the worst sites for clutter often seem to be drawers. You throw items in there, they get jumbled together, and then you don’t know where anything is. If this has been a problem for you, try adding compartments to your drawers and designating each compartment for a different type of item. Have kids with lots of toys? Consider implementing this compartment idea on a larger scale and get bins that can hold different types of toys and can be stored or moved out of the way when not in use.
File it away. We all accumulate mail and paper documents that we need to hold onto, and if you don’t have a designated space for this important paperwork, it can quickly get out of hand or even lost in the shuffle. If your documents have been piling up and you haven’t yet invested in a filing cabinet, it may be time to do so. Once you have one, you can organize your papers by type or purpose to make them easier to find in the future.
Don’t underestimate wall space. One common problem in cluttered homes is that there just doesn’t seem to be enough space to fit everything. However, if you have space on your walls, you can install shelves and use these as places to store items that you don’t have room for elsewhere, such as books, kitchenware, or even more compartments.
Solicit help. You are much more attached to your things than an outsider is so it can be helpful when you get stuck to ask for a trusted friend or neighbour to come in and give their opinion about what things you should be getting rid of. They can ask you honest questions about how often you use the items and help you decide if it’s time to say good-bye to some of them.
Set aside a few minutes each day for decluttering. Once you’ve gotten your home clean, keep it that way by setting aside just 5 minutes a day to tidy up items left sitting out. If they don’t have a designated space, create one or decide if you can throw it out. By putting just a few minutes into decluttering each day, you can keep your clutter under control.