Here’s my dirty little secret – my house has clutter. It’s true! I am the type of person who color-codes her planner and has THREE calendars, but I also have piles of “stuff” in my house. Especially paper. It is my number one enemy.
I’ve been working on clearing it out, though, so I’ll take you through the steps I’ve been using to clear the mess and make your home an oasis.
Identify hot spots
What areas of your home are the worst for collecting clutter? Common hot spots include your dining room table, the floor of the entryway, kitchen or bathroom counters, or a corner of your bedroom. Once you have identified your home’s hot spots you can move on to the next step.
Set goals, whether it’s clear out your entire house, just that one junk drawer or anything in between. Make it manageable by then breaking it down into small pieces. Choose one small area to clear out at a time, or set a timer and only work for 10-15 minutes.
Get it together
Walk your house from front to back to front again collecting anything you find that doesn’t belong in the space you found it. Use something like a laundry basket that is large enough to hold multiple items, but is easy to carry around (handles are a bonus). Place your items in one spot so you can deal with everything all at once in a contained area, like your living room floor.
Sort it into piles
Now you can separate everything into one of four piles: Keep, Trash, Donate, and Sell. Trash items go in the trash (obviously). Recycle anything that is recyclable. Everything to donate can go into bags or boxes that you should then place in the trunk of your car so you can get them out of the house as fast as possible. Items to sell can be set aside (out of sight) for a yard sale or for selling online. Avoid letting things sit for too long, because then you’ve just made another pile to tidy up!
Now you get to sort the Keep items! Get all of the items for a specific room/place together and bring them to that space. Put them away immediately! If you don’t have a specific spot for them, designate one! Put most-used items within easy reach, and put lesser-used items out of the way, but where you can still get to them fairly easily. For instance, in my kitchen my everyday dishes are placed on the first shelf in an upper cabinet at almost eye level. My good china, however, is stored in the cabinet over the fridge. I can still easily reach it when I need to, but it isn’t taking up the most valuable real estate in my kitchen.
It’s okay to be sentimental
If you are keeping something for sentimental reasons, that’s fine! You don’t have to get rid of everything that isn’t useful. If you have an emotional attachment to something that isn’t necessarily useful, show it off! Hang it up on a wall, put it in a display case, whatever! Don’t hide something you love just because you don’t use it.
Make it a habit
Now that you have a head start on clearing the mess, you need to make a habit of doing a “quick tidy” everyday. Set aside 5-10 minutes to go through the house and pick up anything that doesn’t belong where you find it. Consider keeping a “lost and found” basket for those items, and have your family members be responsible for putting away their own things!
You should also be choosy about items you bring into your home from now on. If it’s useful, needed, or you just love it and plan on displaying it, great! Otherwise, be careful not to let “stuff” take over your space again.
Enjoy your uncluttered space, you’ve earned it! 🙂