One of your new year’s resolutions may be getting organized, or at the very least, eliminating some of the clutter from your space. If you’re looking to get your life organized this year, decluttering is a fantastic place to start.
There are a million and one articles online about decluttering and organizing and frankly it can get overwhelming if you aren’t a naturally neat person. So today I’ve rounded up some insanely simple decluttering tips to get you started.
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First: Why should you declutter?
There are a lot of reasons to declutter. An article on The Spruce shares 7 reasons that you should declutter. But the main reason to organize your space and get rid of things you don’t need is because it makes your life easier.
Less stuff means fewer things to clean, fewer things to organize, and fewer things to misplace. When you have less stuff, it’s harder for things to get messy, and you’ll waste less time looking for things because you’ll know where everything is. You may also save money, because when you know what you have, you won’t re-buy anything by accident.
Also, there’s a mental aspect to decluttering — humans are visual beings, and the sight of clutter can be enough to get our stress hormones going. If self care is one of your new year’s resolutions, decluttering should be a part of your routine.
How to declutter with our 10 favorite easy decluttering tips:
So now that we know how decluttering can help us, where do we start? Like I said earlier, there are a lot of guides out there on how to start something like this. And I’ve read them all.
After doing my research, I’ve compiled what I consider to be the best simple decluttering tips you can start implementing right this minute.
1. Use the four box method
This is a great method to use to get started on decluttering. Take four boxes, or bags, and label them: trash, give away, keep, or re-locate. Then, choose an area of your home and get going. (You can even do the “five minute pick up” challenge below for this.)
If you have a lot of clutter to contend with, or you’re limited on time (I get it), it’s best to start with a small area — like a drawer or box — that you can complete in the time you have. Don’t bite off more than you can chew; that’s how you will get overwhelmed and quit!
Once you have everything out of your drawer or box, return the “keep” items to their rightful place, and deal with the other bags accordingly.
2. Set a timer for five minutes and do a “five minute pick up”
This is an amazing way to get yourself going when motivation is low and decluttering feels like a huge chore — just set a timer for five minutes and vow to clean up for the full five. After the timer goes off, you have full permission to stop.
Maybe you’ll spend the five minutes organizing the papers on your desk, or maybe putting your clothes away. It’s up to you — but either way, you will be amazed at how much you’ll get done in such a short time span.
To take this even further, vow to do the five minute clean up every day for a week. If you just dedicate just five minutes a day to decluttering, you’ll notice a huge difference soon.
3. Decide which areas need the most help and focus on those
Which spaces are the most cluttered in your home? Which spaces cause you the most distress on a daily basis when you can’t find something? These are the places you’re going to want to tackle first.
Once you get the areas with the most annoying clutter out of the way, the other rooms/spaces will be a breeze. Prioritizing correctly is a decluttering tip in itself.
4. Vow to work in one room/area at a time
It may be tempting to tackle the kitchen after you found a mug in your bedroom, but refrain. Set that item aside or return it to its initial home, then go back to the room you’re working on. Don’t get sidetracked!
5. Ask yourself three questions when determining if you should keep an item
I like to ask myself the following three questions when I’m decluttering:
- Do I use this item?
- Do I love this item?
- Would I buy this again if I were shopping right now?
These questions will help you determine if you should keep an item and if it brings joy to your life. If the answer is no to all three, that’s an easy “donate”. If it’s no to a couple, think carefully about whether this item is really worth your energy to keep — most things probably aren’t.
This decluttering tip goes along the same lines of the Kondo method and only keeping items that bring you joy, although this one involves practical items as well.
6. Declutter first, organize second
You may be tempted to break out the pretty new containers and drawer organizers early on in the decluttering process, but I urge you to stop yourself. Organizing before you finish decluttering is really just making space for things you probably don’t need.
If you get rid of the items you don’t need first, then organize what’s left, your life will be a million times easier.
7. Vow to keep flat surfaces clear of clutter
I know I’m guilty of not doing this, especially because storage is so hard to find in small spaces, but if you commit to only keeping essential items on counters and tabletops, your clutter will decrease dramatically and your space will look a million times better.
Repeat after me: Flat surfaces aren’t for storage!
8. Turn the hangers around in your closet
I’m sure you’ve probably heard of this tip by now. If you haven’t, it’s a game changing decluttering tip for your closet.
The tip goes as follows: First, you turn all of your hangers backwards. When you use an item, you turn the hanger back the normal way. Any items that are still turned backwards at the end of a month (or three months, or six months, whatever time period you choose) should be donated.
This excludes items that aren’t in-season, as these should probably be placed in storage. This also forces you to ask yourself why you’re holding onto clothing items you don’t wear.
9. Get rid of your expired makeup and personal care products
Makeup has an expiration date and using it after this date is not the best idea, especially when it comes to anything that touches your eyes.
It can be tempting to keep the mascara you spent a lot of money on because you love the formula or brush, but if it’s expired it could be a health hazard. Expired makeup can lead to infections so check the date and get rid of it if it’s expired.
If you’re not sure what the lifespan on makeup is, this article lays it all out for you.
10. Make a little time in your day-to-day life for tidying up
Vow to clean and/or organize once a week, day or month — whatever you think will be doable in your life. When in doubt, go easy on yourself and don’t get overwhelmed! Maybe organizing one morning a month is what you can do to start. You can always ramp up later.
The idea behind this decluttering tip is as follows: It’s easier to keep a space clutter-free than it is to do a full decluttering session. If you carve out time in your regular life to organize and clean, you won’t have to spend hours on marathon cleaning and organizing sessions in the future.
I want to hear from you!
Are you going to declutter this winter? What are your favorite decluttering tips? What are you looking forward to in 2020? Have you tried the hanger method in your closet?