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Clearing the Clutter: 6 Tips for an Organized Home

Coffee mug, blanket and magazines on a couch
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A leaf blower is my dad’s preferred method of decluttering. If it was up to him, I would just blow the clutter out through an open door. Powerful, but not exactly effective. I follow a less messy way to declutter. Just about every week I decide I need to clean out some part of my home.  With this much experience and practice I’ve developed a clear plan for how to declutter with minimal stress and maximum results.

A decluttered home is so beneficial. When there aren’t boxes and gadgets falling on top of you each time you open the closet door, your home becomes easier to live in. When everything in the house has a purpose and a place, it’s easier to think clearly throughout the day. Not to mention there’s way less to clean.

First, you need to formulate a game plan.

Decluttering isn’t like cleaning. When you clean you just go into each room and see what needs to be done. That kind of mentality leads to bigger messes and frustration when you declutter. Without a game plan you’re setting yourself up for giant piles of stuff on the floor, half cluttered rooms and closets, and more irritation than inner peace. It frequently results in an unfinished project that will only drive you nuts until you decide to give decluttering another go.

Prioritize the larger undertakings.

The best way to go about decluttering is to move from one room to another with the largest projects going first. Starting with bedroom closets is a good idea because clothes take the most time to sort through. As long as you see each room or closet through until it’s completely done before moving on to another messy spot, you’ll be able to complete your project in an efficient and timely manner.

Designate your donation locations.

You should also think about where you want to take the items you no longer want, but can still hold value for other people. If you want to donate clothing to one place and home goods to another, then decide where ahead of time.

Check around for a local nonprofit who can use the clothes, like a homeless shelter or non-profit thrift store. Churches and preschools are excellent places to donate toys that your children no longer play with. Be sure to call ahead of time to see what the organization’s exact rules are for accepting donations. As you go about choosing the items you no longer need or want, decide where you’ll be taking each item so you can place it in the proper box.

Make it manageable.

If you have a lot of decluttering to do, then it’s a good idea to break up your project into stages. For example, in stage one clean out all of the old clothes your family no longer wears and box them up for donation on one day. After you’ve tackled each closet, dresser, and wardrobe, load the boxes of clothes for donation in your car and take them to your donation spots.

Don’t try to declutter absolutely every room on the same day. This is how you become burnt out and too overwhelmed to finish the job. You can begin the next stage—toys or home items—on another day soon after. You can only declutter for so many hours before you throw your hands up in defeat and go find a straw for that bottle of wine.

Have designated boxes or bags.

Even if you’re productively decluttering, piles of items on the floor is counterproductive. They can be designated piles for stuff to toss and stuff to donate, but piles on the floor are still messy. It’s best to have trash bags handy for the items you won’t donate, and boxes for the stuff you’ll take to the thrift store. This way everything is already divided up and ready to be taken out of your house.

If you plan to take your donation items to different places, then the easiest thing to do is to label cardboard boxes with the name of their destinations. This keeps you from becoming confused about what needs to go where.

Play some music.

There’s no avoiding the fact most people avoid decluttering because it’s one of the least entertaining pastimes. Even the Seven Dwarves knew the importance of whistling while they worked. A solid playlist makes all the difference when you go toe-to-toe with your clutter. Fast-paced, happy songs will save the day, but make sure to avoid the slow jams like they’re mean girls in junior high.

Put together a playlist to keep you energized through the day and crank it up. As long as you’re dancing and singing while you declutter, the time will fly by. The right music will keep it from feeling like work. Trust me, decluttering in silence makes for slow, unhappy work.

Kicking clutter out of your house and life is a major, sometimes painful, undertaking, I know. It can be less miserable if you implement these tips though. Go in there with your game face, a plan, and a positive attitude and that clutter will be banished from your home in a matter of days. Don’t forget the celebratory margarita once you’ve got it all done. Okay, okay, you can have one after each closet is cleaned!

Follow Terra on Instagram: @terrabrown3

Last modified on January 10th, 2018

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