5 Ways to Declutter Your Home


Clutter leads to disorganization, and disorganization leads to stress, yet when it comes time to declutter, we don't know where to begin. We are emotionally attached to our junk, so letting it go becomes wrenchingly difficult. Since you really don't want to become a hoarder, try some of these tips and watch your home become the tidy space you daydream about.

1. Choose your first success. Attempts at decluttering are only moderately successful because many people get more and more annoyed by the clutter until one day they snap. "This has to end!" they announce while attempting to declutter then entire home at once. Clutter takes months and even years to accumulate, so it's unrealistic to think it can be fixed in a day or even a weekend. To truly eliminate clutter, you must have some successes on which to build. Therefore, instead taking on the entire house, choose one area to organize. Start with the kitchen counter or an end table. Once that area is successfully decluttered, celebrate your success, choose your next target, and enjoy the rest of your day normally.

2. Declutter on a schedule. Make a decluttering appointment on your calendar. Since the task is huge, it's easy to procrastinate. Decide that you will declutter the laundry room from 10:00 until 2:00 on Saturday, and then keep that appointment. You can complete your decluttering session in one of two ways. Simply stop what you are doing or finish the task. If you stop, praise yourself for keeping the appointment. If you choose to finish the task, really finish it. Take the discards to the garbage can, put the donations in the car, and carry misplaced items to their appropriate homes.

3. Make yourself decide. Sometimes, we are more emotionally attached to our stuff than we want to admit, and this attachment gives us paralysis when we try to declutter. Help yourself move forward by using the four box system. Mark the boxes "put away," "donate/sell," "store," and "trash." Put everything you touch into one of these boxes, and then follow through with each box. Put away items. Start a garage sale stash and mark a date on your calendar. Carry storage items to the attic and trash to the trash can. 

4. Declutter like a scientist. Imagine your cluttered home as a Petri dish and the clutter as growing and spreading bacteria. Now imagine applying the "cure" to one spot in the dish. The "cure" eliminates the bacteria in that spot and keeps it away. Next, administer the "cure" to another spot and continue the process until the dish is free from bacteria. Approach your home in the same manner. Declutter your coffee table and continue to protect it from clutter until everyone's habits are changed. Once the coffee table is "cured," declutter another eyesore and protect it until it is also "cured." Eventually, your home will be clutter free.

5. End homelessness. The cause of clutter is homelessness, so it's time to end this scourge. When the same items clutter your kitchen counter every day, they don't have a logical home. Give each item a logical place to live, and encourage these items to go home rather than loiter around your kitchen. Getting additional accents and chests can give cluttered items a new home.

We may never completely overcome clutter. After all, we will always get junk mail, and kids will always bring empty lunch boxes home from school. Nevertheless, if you use these five techniques, you can create an organized home and tremendously reduce the amount of stress that results from disorganization.

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