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How to Declutter Your Space: A Step-by-Step Guide

  • 6 min read

how to declutter - donate items you do not need.

In our fast-paced world, clutter is not just physical junk. It's mental noise, distraction, and unnecessary stress. Whether it’s the pile of unread mail on the kitchen counter, the overflowing wardrobe, or that “miscellaneous” drawer (we all have one), clutter can inadvertently become a reflection of our mental states.

As the saying goes, “Clear space, clear mind.” Let's dive deep into the importance of decluttering and the steps to achieve a clutter-free sanctuary.

 

Why is Decluttering Important?

Enhances Mental Well-being: Physical clutter can often lead to mental clutter. By decluttering, you’re not just creating space in your home but also clearing your mind of unnecessary stressors. Learn more about how organization and clutter can impact mental health.

Boosts Productivity: It's easier to focus and complete tasks when you're not constantly searching for things or getting distracted by the mess.

Promotes Mindful Consumption: The act of decluttering makes us more conscious of our consumption habits. It helps in recognizing patterns and thinking twice before making impulsive purchases in the future.

Saves Time: Ever spent an eternity looking for that one item? With fewer things and a proper organization system, you save a tremendous amount of time.

Rejuvenates Your Living Space: A decluttered space is aesthetically pleasing. It makes the home feel more inviting and can even have a positive effect on your mood and energy levels.

  

Why do people have cluttered spaces?

Clutter can accumulate in homes for a variety of reasons, and understanding the underlying causes can help in addressing the issue more effectively.

Here are some potential possibilities into why people might have clutter in their homes:

  • Emotional Attachment
  • Procrastination
  • Fear of Waste
  • Impulse Purchases
  • Decisional Avoidance
  • Poor Organization Systems
  • Sentimental Value
  • Lifestyle Changes
  • Financial Constraints
  • Overwhelm or Mental Health Struggles
  • Hobby Collections
  • Time Constraints.

 

While decluttering can provide numerous benefits, it's essential to approach the process with sensitivity and self-awareness. It's important to understand why we hold onto things as it will help us let go of them. Learn more about why clutter happens: Reasons for Cluttered Homes: Why People Struggle to Let Go of Stuff

 

How to Declutter Your Space: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. Categorize: 

Start by grouping items together, e.g., clothes, books, gadgets, and so on. This makes it easier to decide what stays and what goes. If you're feeling overwhelmed, start with sections, like mentioned above. Choose a drawer, choose a box, a corner of the home etc...
If you find categories overlapping, focus on the area only. Take everything out or aside and only put back what makes sense there.
For example; you have a pet section in the basement but there is a leash upstairs in your foyer closet. Ask yourself "does this item belong here?"
If you use the item regularly and it makes sense to live in that spot, you can keep it there, even if it doesn't match the category. Try to think logically: does it match the category? and how do you use it?

2. The Three-Box Method:

For each category, have three boxes labeled – 'Keep', 'Donate/Sell', and 'Trash'. This simplifies the decision-making process. 

If you have people regularly over, you can a 'Return' section if there is a lot left behind (or if you have borrowed anything you need to return).

Ask yourself these critical questions when sorting 'Keep' items: for each item, ask, “Do I use this regularly?”, "When is the last time I used it?", “Does it bring me joy?”, or “Would I buy this again?”. If the answers are mostly no, it's time to let it go.

3. Establish a Home for Everything:

Once you’ve sorted out what to keep, ensure every item has a designated spot. This makes tidying up more manageable in the future. 
That dog leash in your front foyer? Put in a hook, specifically for that leash! This will ensure that it is put back in the same spot every time. 

4. Labels, Labels, Labels:

Labeling not only helps you keep order (especially during the decluttering and organizing process), but it also helps and friends and family that are living there or coming over to lend a hand.
Start off with using simple masking tape and a sharpie as piles and categories change and evolve during this purging and sorting time. There is nothing wrong with a handmade label, especially if you have nice handwriting!
Once you are compete and happy with establishing a home for everything, you can upgrade to a label maker. If that's not an option, get fun colored tape at the dollar store. Use scissors to make the edges neat and stick to the same font across all your labelled items. You can lose the labels once it's become a habit to keep things in their spots.
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Started organizing and suddenly feel overwhelmed? 

Your in the middle of organizing a drawer in your kitchen and suddenly, you turn around and all your cabinets are emptied, your front closet is in the middle of a purge and you are holding your ski boots... Well maybe not this exact scenario can happen to everyone but its normal to have one space spill into another while you are organizing and what you thought would take 15 min is now 3 hours in and a massive mess.

In these moments of feeling overwhelm. Stop. Reassess. Can you see categories that you've made? have you been putting labels in the sections to help you keep track?

If you are fully stuck on what to do next, start with removing unwanted items. Forget about what goes where for a moment. Just get rid of stuff that doesn't belong. This includes any garbage that may have procured while organizing an area, any dirty dishes you used, the pile of other peoples things your made, the pile of stuff that goes upstairs. 

Getting rid of anything that doesn't belong in the space you are organizing will help you see what you need to organize. Put it in its spot (or at least in the room) if it belongs somewhere else in the house. If it's garbage, throw it out. If it's something borrowed that you need to return, put it in a box and put it on your front step, or in your front closet. 

The idea here is to clear out anything that doesn't belong from our eye sight so that we can focus on sorting what stays.

 

 

Extra tips on successful decluttering:

  • Start Small: Begin with a drawer, a shelf, or a corner of a room rather than tackling an entire room at once. This prevents the process from becoming overwhelming. If you have the time and mental space to clear out more, then go for it! Being on a roll happens, and when it does don't stop. You can also hire professionals, like us, to help you sort through and organize your home with you. Contact us to help you declutter your home!
  • Digitize Where Possible:From old photos to documents, kids' artworks, the collection of birthday cards...  if it can be digitized, do it. This not only saves physical space but also ensures that memories and essential files are backed up.
  • Involve Family or Housemates: Decluttering can be more fun and efficient when done together. Plus, it ensures everyone takes responsibility for their belongings.
  • Celebrate The Wins: Remember to acknowledge and reward yourself for the progress you make, no matter how small.

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How to stay organized!

Now that you've decluttered your space and everything has a spot, keep it that way! Don't let yourself get down when you see things accumulate, or when your items start growing... We are used to a type of lifestyle and this new one will take some time and reminders to get used to.

My top two rules for a simpler life: 

  • Implement the One-In-One-Out Rule: For every new item you bring in, choose one (or more) item(s) that goes out. This ensures you're not accumulating more than you need.
  • Schedule Regular Decluttering Sessions: Clutter can easily creep back in. Setting aside time, whether monthly or seasonally, can help maintain a clean and organized space.
For more tips on staying organized, check out: How to Maintain Your Home After a Professional Organizing Session

 

As you start to declutter, you might just find that it's not only your space that feels lighter, but your mind and spirit as well.

So, take the plunge, and embark on this transformative journey today and always remember we are here to help.

Do not hesitate to contact us and receive a free consultation! 

We will:

  • declutter any space you want or need
  • organize with practical systems, solutions and functional storage
  • provide all materials and procure all necessary items to complete the transformation
  • complete any handy work including patching that hole you made 2 years ago, installing shelving units, hanging painting etc...
  • provide optional design and decor suggestions and solutions
  • finish off with an optional deep clean to leave your home sparkling and new so you can enjoy the newly organized and relaxing space

We guarantee that the organizational systems we teach you, and put in place, will stay! Now is the time to get organized and start living in a home that you love!

Decluttering is not just about tidying up or making space. It's a lifestyle choice that embodies intentionality, mindfulness, well-being, and sometimes a little extra support.