Disorganization causes 80% of all household clutter, according to one study by the Soap and Detergent Association. For those looking to declutter their homes, however, getting started often seems like a daunting task — especially if you’ve just moved, or your home is on the larger side. From preparing yourself mentally before you begin to making yourself actually get started, here are just a few fundamentals when it comes to getting the job done successfully and with as little stress as possible.
Set goals before you begin
Physical and mental preparation are key to successful organization, with one important aspect being to let go of any guilt beforehand. This will make a world of difference when it comes to actually being able to part with items and meet your organizational goals, especially if you have a difficult time parting with things that others have given you. Making a plan that includes a task list and creating a set schedule before you begin decluttering is also necessary to ensure productivity, and will allow you to set and reach your goals clearly. This will be particularly beneficial if you have a larger house, or if you plan to declutter your home over a longer period of time, since you’ll have a written record of what you plan to accomplish.
Choose an organizational system
After preparing to declutter your home, actually getting started and making progress often follows with difficulty, which is where having some kind of organizational system or strategy in place will help greatly in getting the job done productively. One smart way to do this is by doing one room at a time, and tackling the rooms that need decluttering the most first. This allows you to break up the task of decluttering into smaller, more attainable goals.
When it comes to actually sorting your belongings, using a system such as the “four box technique” will help in prioritizing your things. With this method, you simply label four different bins (keep, donate, throw away, and store), which will allow you to have a visual aid as to how much you’re keeping vs. donating. If you’re finding difficulty in deciding what to keep, one rule of thumb is to keep in mind whether or not you’ve used the item recently, which will aid in determining how useful it is to you. When putting things away again, it’s also important to keep elements like convenience in mind to ensure that things stay organized in the future — for instance, designating a place by the door for your keys will prevent you from misplacing them.
Make a plan for your unwanted clutter
Perhaps one of the most important things when preparing to declutter your home is having a plan for getting the unwanted items out of your home once and for all. If you have the time, organizing a garage sale or setting up a page to sell the items online is one way to do so effectively while making a profit, which will be useful in getting your money back out of those expensive, lesser used items. For instance, if you put some thought and planning into a garage sale, you can easily make between $500 and $1,000, according to the New York Times. Any items that you don’t sell can be just as easily donated to local organizations that will give them a second life.
Decluttering and organizing your home is often distressing — especially if you’ve recently moved and your things are in disarray, or if your home is particularly large. However, by preparing beforehand, having a system, and considering resources for getting your clutter out of your home, you can effectively organize everything you own.