I love getting rid of things… almost too much. Just ask my husband when he can’t find something that I ‘mistakenly’ threw away. So when my sister in-law asked me if I had any tips on decluttering, I jumped at the chance to share what I’ve learned and my process for living an organized, clutter-free life.
Tips to Get Organized and Live Clutter-free
Thinking about all the benefits (making money, giving to a good cause, a clean and orderly house) can really get you in the ‘spring cleaning’ mindset! Decluttering leaves me feeling accomplished, ‘light’ from getting rid of things I don’t need, generous from donating items, and organized with a reconfigured space. It can actually be fun and rewarding… so pick a time and date, put on some music, and commit to the process!
Once you’re ready, here are some questions to ask yourself as you go through your stuff:
Is this item worthy of the space it’s taking up?
How often do I use it?
Is there someone else who could benefit more than myself from having this?
If I were to move and had to pack up my things, would I want to repack and bring this?
Could this be replaced by something newer, more efficient and/or that would better serve me?
If I haven’t used something in 6 months (or 1 year for clothing), it gets sold on Craigslist or donated. The same goes for items that take up a lot of space and are rarely used. Of course, if something is especially sentimental, priceless, or valuable, then I make an exception. I’ve learned (and promised) to run things by my husband before getting rid of anything to avoid future disagreements. If you live with someone, it is wise and often necessary to include them in the process.
My favorite way to declutter (and attack!) an area is to take everything out and sort it into piles of ‘keep, sell and donate.’ Next, I deep clean the empty area, and then place the ‘keep’ items back in a way that optimizes the space (where the most frequently used items are the most accessible). Shelves, drawer dividers and compartments will help you efficiently use and arrange your space. They are worth the investment and can be found second-hand or at the dollar store; I cannot recommend them enough (especially if you have limited storage).
If you are overwhelmed or have a tough time getting rid of things, ask for help. You can pay a professional or expert, or you might know someone who finds joy in purging and reorganizing (myself included!) that would love to give you a hand.
How to Stay Organized and Clutter-free
Once you have decluttered and organized your space, here are some ways to help keep it that way:
Before purchasing something, think about if you really need it and have room for it. This can prevent you from accumulating too much stuff.
When you run out of space or storage, refuse to purchase more—get rid of what you don’t need or doesn’t fit and reorganize your stuff. Living in a small place, or without a garage or extra storage, keeps you living a minimalist lifestyle (yes, I know there are cons here).
Figure out a schedule that works best for you to rearrange and minimize your belongings. I like to do a full sweep twice a year, but it can be done monthly, quarterly, annually, etc.
The most important thing is that you create a space that you enjoy, works for you, promotes a healthy lifestyle, and doesn’t stress you out! You can tackle it one area at a time, one room at a time, or commit an entire day or weekend to the cause. The more you do it, the easier it becomes, and the less you purchase.
I have come to value and appreciate the precious space that I have and have more peace when it’s not junked up. I’d love to hear your decluttering tips and recs below!