This is part three in a series about decluttering called “Cut Through Clutter.”
For part one go to Cut Through Clutter by Understanding the Psychology Behind It.
For part two go to The Best Books About Decluttering.
Now that we’ve learned about the psychology behind decluttering, and we’ve explored some books and methods about decluttering, it’s time for decluttering made easy.
Most of us aren’t experts when it comes to decluttering and organizing our homes.
And, unfortunately, it’s common to get about halfway or even completely through the job, only to discover we’ve gone about things in a poorly devised manner.
Perhaps you discover the process is taking much longer than you thought, and you end up with things strewn about the room for weeks because you simply don’t have the time to get back to the job.
That’s just one common example of why so many of us avoid the often stressful process of decluttering.
My goal with this series is to help you stay focused on your decluttering task by keeping things simple and even fun.
As a busy, working mom I don’t need any more stress on my plate and I’m sure you are in the same boat.
Decluttering made easy is our goal, so let’s first get started with some simple, but important tips when it comes to decluttering.
Decluttering Made Easy – Four Tips When Getting Started
Tip# 1 – Don’t Overdo It
As already mentioned, it’s unwise to get overzealous.
Thinking you will sort through an entire houseful of possessions in one day is unrealistic.
Doing this may even cause you enough frustration to give up on the project entirely.
Avoid burnout by setting aside a smaller time frame to complete one room or area.
Start with decluttering your garage or guest room. A space where you don’t spend all of your time, but have things stored that you need to go through.
By starting and finishing one space, you set yourself up for long-term success when it comes to decluttering your entire house.
Tip# 2 – Don’t Organize Before Purging
Part of the process of decluttering your home is organizing everything in a neat and tidy way.
And organization can be a lot of fun actually.
Pretty baskets for your kid’s toys or labeling bins in your pantry for snacks.
There are lots of really great (and beautiful!) ways to organize your things.
But first, you need to purge your home of all stuff that is just taking up space.
Many times, people want to skip to the fun part. So they go out and buy all those pretty things I mentioned above to organize all their stuff.
This strategy is usually a waste of money and time because it’s impossible to understand your storage needs until you’re able to assess your remaining possessions after the purging process.
Remember, decluttering made easy is our goal.
First start with decluttering and purging the items you don’t want to keep (either sell, donate, or throw out what have you).
After you’ve done all of that, then you can buy things to organize everything, or maybe even use what you already have!
You never know what you will find when you are decluttering!
Tip #3 – Don’t Do Half the Job
A big mistake made by many (myself included!) is setting items aside for a garage sale or donation to take care of “another day.”
You may think it makes sense to leave that bag of sweaters sitting in your closet until you go by the donation drop-off, but it actually doesn’t.
The reality is all of these things simply leave your decluttering project looking unfinished.
Take the extra effort to remove all unwanted items from your home immediately.
One rule of the Minimalist Game is you have to get everything by midnight each day. It forces you to declutter immediately and finish a space completely.
Tip #4 – Don’t Reward Yourself with More Stuff
Finally, no matter how much you may be tempted, never go out and reward yourself for all of your hard decluttering work by purchasing a new item.
Buying something new as a “reward” simply continues the cycle of the bad habits that led to your clutter problem in the first place.
The one exception to this rule could be the decision to buy a new dresser or another piece of furniture to replace something you may have given away along your decluttering journey.
BUT doing this isn’t adding more clutter, it’s simply improving aesthetics and replacing a functional piece of furniture that you once had.
Decluttering can be easy and you can avoid a lot of common decluttering mistakes along the way by keeping these four simple, but effective tips in mind.
Before you know it, you will be well on your way to an organized, comfortable space.
And, if you are looking for a reward for all your hard work, consider a nice cup of tea or maybe some coffee. I know just the blend! 😉
Be sure to check back next week as we continue down our decluttering journey with Part 4 – 6 Rules of Decluttering!