Declutter Your Whole House in 3 Simple Steps
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Throughout our lives we accumulate a lot of things around us. We try to organize, categorize, again and again, until one day you realize that you just have too much stuff!
It’s everywhere, you already forgot about half of those things and you will never ever look for them again. Or you will, but you won’t find it, because those piles of clutter already swallowed it.
So, if one day you find yourself thinking “I might need to declutter a little,” you’ve come to the right place!
It’s a process
First of all, you have to be ready that decluttering is not that easy, it takes time and dedication. Especially if you have a big family and a big house.
It’s easy to hide clutter around the big house: some nick-knacks here, some junk drawers there. Over the years you got used to those things, it feels like it’s their place. But what do they actually bring to your life?
I don’t believe in those “declutter in one weekend” challenges. Maybe if you live in a rental apartment, where it’s just you and your partner – maybe. But the bigger your dwelling is, chances are, the more stuff you accumulated over the years. And it will take a while to go through all this.
But don’t be discouraged! I’m saying this not to talk you out of decluttering your house, on the contrary – I just want you to be fully prepared for this task!
Will it take time and effort? Yes. Will it be worth it? Oh, yes, it definitely will!
Before you start
How to understand if you need to declutter? Let me tell you, we all need to do it from time to time, even if your house is tidiest of them all. But, if you still have some doubts, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I feel stressed in my house?
- Do I have troubles finding things?
- Is it difficult to dust shelves because of the amount of stuff on them?
If you answered “Yes” to at least one of those questions, probably you need to get to work!
Where to begin
While some things are easy to throw away because it’s just junk, some other items might be very hard to part with. Maybe most of them. So, you need to be ready to make some ruthless decisions!
But you don’t need to start with the difficult ones. According to KonMari method you should start with the easiest category, which is clothes.
If clothes are too difficult to part with (we’re all different people, some maybe more attached to their clothes than others), start with papers.
All those manuals, old receipts, bills – all that stuff doesn’t have any sentimental value, so it must be easier to get rid of.
It’s important to start with something easy because you can gradually build up your resistance to clutter. And if at the beginning you would feel like it’s impossible for you to throw away all those craft supplies piling in the corner, after some practice you will find out that probably you don’t need them and they just take valuable space.
So, before you start decluttering you need to find the order that will work for you.
Many people swear by KonMari method, which is clothing, books, papers, miscellany, sentimental items. If you think that’s a perfect fit – awesome, go with it.
But we all are different, and our homes are not the same, and we have different number of things in each category.
I prefer to declutter big categories like clothes and papers first, and then go room by room. Because, to be honest, it’s too difficult to categorize all the miscellany items and gather them in one place.
I’ve already mentioned KonMari method a couple times here, because it’s so popular now, it’s hard not to talk about it.
But when I read that book, my favorite part wasn’t about the order of decluttering. And it wasn’t about how to store your clothes vertically.
It was about being grateful.
As a sensitive person I always find it difficult to throw things away. Every scrap of paper, every cute box – it was almost impossible to put them in a trash can, until I read Marie Kondo’s book.
She says that every thing has its own purpose, and when the purpose is fulfilled – we have to let it go.
That big serving dish someone gave you as a present and which you never used? Its purpose was to be a present, now as it is fulfilled, you can donate it, or give it to someone who would be happy to have it.
Those toys that your kids loved when they were younger? They fulfilled their purpose, now you have to let them go.
How about badminton set that you bought years ago and used only once? Were you happy to buy it and play that one time? Then it’s purpose is fulfilled and you can say “thank you” and give it a chance to bring happiness to someone else.
It became so much easier for me to give away things after saying “thank you.” Thank you for serving my family, for bringing happiness, for being a part of my life. Your purpose here is fulfilled and I let you go to serve other people.
What to do with the stuff I don’t need
First of all, a couple things that you shouldn’t do:
- Don’t store it in the attic or basement
- Don’t send it to parents
About storing things – they still take space, you still stumble upon them, and you still don’t use them. So why are they still here?
And about sending things to someone else in your family: if you’re 100% sure, that your mom will love some particular thing – by all means go for it and give it to her. But if you have any doubts – just donate it, sell it or throw away. Don’t just move your clutter from one house to another.
So, when you start decluttering you need to form four piles:
- Throw away
Remember that if you decide to keep something that needs fixing, you have to do it right away, otherwise just get rid of it.
Now let’s talk about the most important part. How to decide what should I keep?
You need to take a good look at each thing you have and think about two simple questions:
- Does it spark joy?
- Do I use it?
For example, my kitchen mixer doesn’t spark joy in me because it’s cheap and ugly, but I use it very often so it deserves to be here (until I can afford a better one).
When you go through your clothes, if they don’t fit, look too worn out, have holes or you just don’t like them – don’t keep them, make room for things that you do like.
When it comes to books, keep only those that you really love. If you have some that you didn’t read but bought a while ago – I bet you won’t read them after all.
While decluttering papers keep only really important ones, if you don’t have to keep it – throw it away. If you can find that information online – into the trash bag it goes.
Strive to be surrounded by the things you really love, not just endless clutter.
It might get a little tricky when it comes to not only your things, but the belongings of other family members. Here are a few tips that can help you get your family on board:
Be careful with their things – Sometimes you can be sure that the owner of this thing won’t need it and probably doesn’t even know that it exists. But if you have the tiniest doubt – it’s better to ask them to avoid drama.
Encourage everyone to declutter their things instead of doing it for them – Because it’s hard to decide for other people and it’s easier to do it together. Try to encourage and guide your family members through decluttering process, they might be reluctant at first, but when they see the first results maybe it won’t be such a dreaded task anymore!
Prepare a non-material reward – As long as you don’t want to bring more clutter after you’ve spend so much time decluttering, but you still want to reward yourself and your family for all the hard work. It might be a road trip, or a weekend away, or maybe even a big fulltime vacation!
Get to work!
Now we’re finally here – you have your boxes and trash bags and you’re ready! It’s time to tidy up your house once and for all!
So, the process itself includes only three main steps:
Look at each item
Decide whether or not you want to keep it (don’t forget about two decluttering questions “Does it spark joy?” and “Do I use it?”)
Designate place for everything
After you finished decluttering, find a place for every item, so after you use it you know where to put it back. If you store something in boxes – label them.
And don’t label anything “Miscellaneous”! This kind of boxes or drawers become black holes and you never know what’s inside.
Don’t bring more clutter
You worked so hard and you don’t want to be all for nothing, right? So, from now on, every time you want to buy something, think twice and consider this:
Do I really need it? What will it bring to my life?
And only after that, if you still feel confident about buying it, go for it!
Decluttering your home is a big task and can be scary at first, but you can do it!
Take one step at a time and stay hydrated!
And if you’re not ready to go through everything right now but want to kick-start your decluttering process – check out this post with 55 things you can throw away without any regret!
What’s the most difficult part of decluttering for you? Tell me in the comments below!
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