Maybe you’ve thought about getting organized and wanting to declutter your home. But when your house is full of stuff, even the thought of decluttering can send you into a full-blown panic attack.
Clutter is all around us in some form or another. If you’re like most of us, it accumulates in our homes silently while we are busy living our lives. No one intends to live in a cluttered home, but with years and years of life, and kids, and pets, and family…you get the picture….it just happens.
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Trying to figure out how to get rid of clutter can get overwhelming fast. Unfortunately this is something that I have passed down to my daughters, especially my middle daughter. We tease her about being a hoarder (I used to find wrappers stuffed under her bed when she was young because “She might need that”) but in all seriousness, the effects of clutter are no laughing matter.
In my experience, clutter can cause not only elevated emotions, but also lack of sleep and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed.
So how do you tame the clutter beast without going totally bonkers?
You declutter your mind.
No, this isn’t some weird hocus-pocus think your way out of your problems kinda stuff.
By declutter your mind, I simply mean to ask yourself a few questions that will help you start to see clutter for what it is. Let’s get to the root of your clutter problem. Hopefully these tips below will help you decide what to purge and what to keep.
10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Getting Rid of Clutter
Is it something I use daily?
Chances are, if it’s something you use daily then you have a need for it. So it’s not just random clutter laying around, it’s a necessity. That being said, everything has a place, and in order for your home to not feel cluttered you need to find that place for this daily user.
Do I need more than one of the object?
This is a big one! There are some things we have more than one of because it’s either convenient or necessary. For example: throw blankets, shoes, or books. But you likely don’t need two blenders or toasters. Maybe you collect things, which is fine, as long as you can do it in a way that is organized and isn’t making your house look cluttered. I collect coffee mugs and they are either tucked away in a cabinet or sitting on my coffee bar.
Is it something I use on occasion?
If so, how often? Maybe it’s not a daily user but you use it once a week, or even once a month. It’s probably a keeper. But if ‘on occasion’ means you use it once every few years, you’re probably good to part with the item. I like to go by the ‘If you haven’t used it in a year rule.’ Unless it’s seasonal (which even then you should use it once a year), you don’t need it.
If it’s something I don’t use it at all, what’s the reason I’m hanging on to it?
Am I holding on to it purely for memories associated with the object? This is an area where I get hung up. I own a lot of things that either were my mother’s (who passed away) or that hold special meaning and carry a lot of memories.
But as a friend recently said to me, “Your memories are forever in your mind, and having that object isn’t what keeps them alive and with you.” There is so much truth to this. So I have started the process of getting rid of clutter at my house, one object at a time. It’s not easy and I will definitely be keeping those special things from my mom.
If it’s simply for memories, are there other items that hold the same type of memories?
The thing is, not every one of mom’s items was special. What I mean is, she had things that aren’t necessarily my style or that I need, but I was keeping them simply because they were hers.
So now I’m weeding through the clutter and choosing a few special items to keep: The large pot she made her homemade spaghetti sauce in (that I still use to this day), the pan she made everything from meatloaf to cakes in (mom was a great cook) and a few others. It’s definitely hard but I am working on this.
Do I have enough room for all these items?
It might be that you truly do have the room and you simply need to get organized. Home organization and decluttering your home kind of go hand in hand. Make sure you have enough storage containers for the items you don’t set out. And for items you use daily, there are plenty of baskets, organizers, and shelves to keep stuff in or on.
Are there things I can part with now and replace later if need be?
A good example of this is clothing. Clothing that you’re not wearing either because it’s seasonal, because you’re only holding on to it for the memories (anyone else do that or is it just me?) or because you’ve outgrown it is something you can part with now and replace later on.
The thing about decluttering your house is that you can always get more stuff. Nothing is permanent. If you find yourself in need of something you got rid of a year ago, simply buy another one. You might even be able to borrow one from a friend or family member, or rent one (depending on the item of course).
Am I feeling overwhelmed by the task of decluttering?
I’m guessing your answer here is yes…I know mine is! Start with one room at a time. Pick your kitchen, living room, bedroom, or any other room you choose. Just one, and focus on that.
If that’s still too overwhelming, choose one area of your home. My next decluttering task is my desk and file cabinet area. You can break your room down into ‘projects’ and tackle them one at a time. It might be one cabinet, one table, one closet, or one specific area of the room. Choose just one, you can do this!
Will I allow someone to help me?
Sometimes bringing in someone to help can be very motivating. When it’s just us, we’re alone with our thoughts (and our clutter). Sometimes that makes it harder as there is no one there to encourage us and keep us on track. I don’t know about you but I can be very persuasive when telling myself that I need to keep something instead of get rid of it.
There are even professional organizers that help clear the clutter for a living. If having a friend or family member help isn’t cutting it, this could be something you might want to look into.
What are my feelings when I enter a house or room that is clutter free?
Do you feel peace? Calm? Like a huge weight is lifted off of your shoulders? Now think about if you had that feeling in your own home. I think that would be wonderful! Each time you complete a task whether it’s an entire room or one small area, you will feel that sense of peace that comes with an organized home.
My friend Melanie over at Simple Made Pretty has created a calendar to help you Organize Your Home in 30 Days. This could really help you get off to a good start when deciding what to purge and what to keep when decluttering your home.
Are you up for the challenge of decluttering? Let me know what you think, leave me a comment about which rooms or areas in your home you want to declutter and get organized.
Remember life doesn't have to be perfect to love where you are!