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  • Lisa Tharp

Effortless Strategies on How to Declutter Your Home for a Serene Space

Feeling overwhelmed by clutter? Learn how to declutter your home with our targeted strategies for a refreshed and organized space. This article will walk you through decluttering your home step by step, covering the most common clutter zones without setting unrealistic expectations. Get ready to reclaim your space and enjoy a more orderly home.


Key Takeaways

  • Start decluttering by setting clear, realistic goals, and be ready to adjust them as you make progress.

  • Use simple organizing methods like the Three-Box Method during the decluttering process and start with high-traffic areas for quick wins.

  • Maintain your decluttered home with daily habits, be intentional with purchases, and apply the ‘one in, one out’ rule to prevent future clutter

Embracing a Decluttering Mindset


The journey towards a clutter-free home starts in the mind. Embracing a decluttering mindset is a game-changer, helping us increase our productivity and focus. It also reduces feelings of guilt or regret that can come with parting with items. But how do we move past the emotions attached to our possessions?


First, envision the desired outcome for your home after decluttering, as this can keep your motivation and direction intact. Gaining a clear understanding of your reasons for decluttering establishes an anchor during the process, particularly when challenges arise.


Think of setting decluttering goals as turning on a GPS for your decluttering journey that provides clear focus and direction. Strive to make your goals simple, realistic, and independent of others’ approval. Clear articulation of your goals can help you tackle resistance or criticism effectively.


Keep in mind, decluttering resembles a marathon more than a sprint, hence setting a realistic timescale for your goals is of utmost importance. Enjoy the journey and the lessons you learn, adjusting your goals as deemed necessary. Celebrating even the smallest achievements during the process can boost your morale and sense of accomplishment, motivating you to continue.


Establishing Your Decluttering Plan

With a decluttering mindset and clear goals in place, you’re ready to craft your personalized decluttering plan. Initiate by determining individual goals for each room and interweaving decluttering sessions into your weekly activities. This approach ensures you progress at a steady pace without feeling overwhelmed.


Focus first on high-traffic areas and simple, impactful projects. Begin with an uncomplicated area to enhance early motivation. Set a clear stopping point for each session to conserve energy and ensure continuity.


To streamline your plan further, consider using organization methods like the Three-Box Method: one box for keeping, one for discarding, and one for items that need to be relocated. Maintain a visible decluttering checklist to monitor progress and streamline the decision-making during decluttering.


Lastly, gather all required supplies beforehand, including donation containers and trash bags. This way, you can have an efficient and uninterrupted decluttering process.


Navigating Through Common Clutter Zones


Every home has its own unique challenges when it comes to clutter. However, some areas are common clutter zones in most homes. Professional organizers recommend targeting these key problem areas for a more effective decluttering process.

Next, we’ll delve into these zones and outline practical strategies for efficient decluttering and organization.


The Functional Entryway Challenge: Coats, Shoes, and Mail

The entryway is the first space you encounter when you step into your home, making it a key area to declutter. Functionality should drive the planning of the entryway storage system, taking into account the specific layout, lifestyle, and climate. For homes without a dedicated mudroom, establishing a one-stop-spot for organizing jackets, shoes, bags, and other routine essentials can significantly enhance the entryway’s functionality.


Employing swivel hooks in the entryway allows for maximum use of the available space by providing specific spots to hang individual coats and accessories. A freestanding cabinet that incorporates a coat rack, shoe holder, and seating bench can help keep the entryway’s essential items neatly organized in a single area. You can also use an antique dresser in the entryway for a dual purpose. It offers storage for gloves, scarves, and creates an aesthetic appeal, as well as a dedicated place for keys and change.


Finally, establish a system for managing incoming mail as soon as it arrives, preventing an accumulation of paper clutter in the entryway. Regularly sorting mail as it comes in can significantly diminish the potential for clutter.


The Kitchen Conundrum: Gadgets and Junk Drawers

Kitchens can notoriously attract clutter. However, no need to worry! Begin by sorting your kitchen appliances into frequently used, rarely used, and never used categories. This simple measure can make a profound impact. Maximize space by storing rarely used appliances on higher shelves or storage areas and keeping frequently used appliances easily accessible.


Now, let’s tackle the junk drawer. Here’s how to do it:


  1. Start with a full empty out.

  2. Discard trash and relocate items to their appropriate places.

  3. Sort remaining items into categories.

  4. To identify rarely used tools, apply washi tape to them.

  5. Any item still with tape after a set time indicates it is unused and can be decluttered.


This way, you can ensure that your kitchen stays clutter-free, making cooking a more enjoyable experience.


The Living Room Layout: Streamlining Surfaces and Storage

The living room, being a high-traffic area that often lacks built-in storage, tends to accumulate mess swiftly. To declutter the living room, follow these steps:


  1. Remove all items from the coffee table and entertainment centers that are not related to television or home theater systems.

  2. Decide if they are used frequently enough to warrant their place there.

  3. Anything that belongs in another room should be returned to its proper storage space to prevent the accumulation of clutter in the living room.

Utilize decorative baskets or boxes to store remote controls and everyday items. This helps minimize clutter on surfaces while adding to the room’s decor.


With these tips, you can transform your living room into one space that is both neat and welcoming.


Dealing with Paper Clutter Once and For All

Paper clutter can subtly creep in and swiftly take over our spaces. However, a simple system can help you keep this paper menace under control. Start by gathering all papers in one location, such as from desks, cabinets, and kitchen counters. Once gathered, sort papers into clear categories: action, archive, household, recycle, and shred. For very important documents like passports or social security cards, use a fireproof box or safe for storage.


Implement visible and accessible systems for action items using inbox trays or desktop files, and labeled folders or binders for household paperwork. Apply the ‘one dot rule’ to process each paper once for immediate action or filing. Consider a vertical filing system which occupies finite space to avoid incremental paper clutter build-up. Maintain this system with a daily routine for quick sorting of new papers, and tackle actionable items during a weekly reset.


Lastly, reduce paper influx by transitioning to digital alternatives. Scan and digitize sentimental papers and utilize a paperless office setup to minimize paper use and storage.


Wardrobe Wisdom: Clothing Clutter Solutions


While clothing clutter can rapidly get out of hand, some straightforward strategies can assist in maintaining order. The six-month rule suggests discarding items not used in the past six months, except for holiday items and keepsakes. This encourages mindful acquisition of new items. Maximize your closet space by using double hang rods, the right hangers, file folding techniques, stacked bins, door racks, and alternating shoe placement.


For clothing care, here are some tips to follow:


  • Avoid long-term storage of knits on hangers

  • Use breathable garment bags

  • Be cautious with vacuum sealing

  • Always store clothes in clean, dry conditions

  • Regularly apply the six-month rule and adjust your decluttering strategies to ensure your wardrobe remains organized and items are used and enjoyed.

Sentiment vs. Space: Handling Emotional Items

Letting go of sentimentally valuable items can pose a challenge. However, it’s essential to remember that our memories reside within us, not within our possessions. Understanding this can make letting go of sentimental items a freeing experience. To decide which sentimental items to keep, use mantras such as ‘the best, the favorite, or necessary’. Ask if it sparks joy, and consider letting go of items you do not like or use.


Taking baby steps to discard multiple items each day, including unnecessary items, builds momentum. It’s okay to let go of gifts you don’t need or enjoy, while appreciating the thoughtfulness behind them. By having less stuff, selectively keeping sentimental items ensures the items retained hold greater meaning and aren’t diluted by the presence of less important items.


The Art of Letting Go: Selling, Donating, and Recycling Unwanted Items

Upon decluttering, you’re likely to find yourself left with a pile of unwanted items. Ensure these don’t evolve into a newfound form of clutter. A donation bin as a permanent solution at home encourages the habit of decluttering. It provides a spot to place items until they can be disposed of properly. Regularly sorting through the contents of the donation bin by your front door for disposal, recycling, or donating prevents buildup and second-guessing what to do with items.


Now, what about selling your items? Utilize online platforms like Craigslist for larger items, eBay for smaller shippable items, and Facebook groups for more community-oriented sales. Consider traditional yard sales for items that do not sell well online, ensuring they are priced beforehand for efficiency during the sale. Set a ‘sell by’ date for items to ensure that unsold items do not contribute to clutter, removing them if they do not sell by the established timeframe.


Lastly, choose meaningful destinations such as charities for donations. This imbues the letting-go process with purpose and eases the parting with items.


Maintaining a Decluttered Home: Daily Habits and Routines

Decluttering goes beyond a one-off task; it’s about adopting a lifestyle that maintains a clutter-free home in your everyday life. Be intentional with future purchases and apply the ‘one in, one out’ rule to minimize new clutter. Start and end each day with decluttering practices like making the bed in the morning, managing kitchen cleanliness immediately after meals, and conducting a brief home reset to wake up to an organized space. By following these decluttering tips, you’ll be well on your way to a more organized home.


Incorporate weekly routines such as a home reset and meal planning to stay ahead of clutter. Address clutter hotspots to keep your home streamlined. Encourage family participation in decluttering efforts by distributing age-appropriate tasks. Be adaptable to routine changes and don’t hesitate to request help when needed.


Specialty Spaces and Seasonal Items

Specialty spaces and seasonal items often manage to escape the decluttering process. Here are some storage solutions to help you organize them:


  • Under-the-bed storage bins can be an effective way to store away off-season clothes, making room for items that are currently in use.

  • Clear, durable storage bins are suitable for large seasonal items like holiday decorations.

  • Weatherproof containers can provide protection in spaces like garages or sheds.

Consider a semi-annual seasonal assessment to rotate stored items, ensuring functionality and easy access to the next season’s necessities. When packing seasonal items away, do so in reverse order to facilitate easier access when they are needed again. And always label the containers for quick identification.


Lastly, dedicate a specific area for umbrellas, rain gear, sports equipment, and instruments. This maintains order and prevents clutter.


Multipurpose Rooms: Maximizing Utility and Minimizing Mess

While one room, multipurpose spaces offer various functions, they can also rapidly accumulate clutter, making them both a boon and a bane. To keep the area organized, follow these tips:


  1. Assign a specific home for each item in a multipurpose room.

  2. Use labels for these spaces to easily locate items.

  3. Define boundaries for how much space each category of items can occupy to prevent overcrowding.

  4. Regularly declutter and reorganize to maintain the functionality of a multipurpose room.

By implementing these strategies, you can ensure that your multipurpose room remains organized and functional.


Different lighting fixtures can help signify different areas and their intended use in a multipurpose space. Secretary desks and computer armoires can seamlessly integrate into the layout of living areas that double as workspaces, without consuming excessive space.


The ‘Triple S’ system suggests setting short, simple, and specific goals for daily decluttering, which is more manageable than trying to organize an entire multipurpose room at once.


Tech and Toys: Organizing Electronics and Children's Play Areas

The varied sizes and shapes make tech and toys particularly difficult to organize. However, a few ingenious ideas can help maintain their neatness and order. Keep track of small video game consoles, tiny game cartridges, and controllers with stackable drawer organizers. Create a hole in the back for charging cables. Label video game accessories and use magazine holders for larger items and small bins for remotes. This keeps everything organized and easily accessible.


Hang storage solutions like a repurposed toilet roll holder for headphones and canvas pockets for tissues and wipes on the sides of furniture. Assess toys for wear and tear, functionality, and whether kids still play with them as part of play area decluttering. Organize all board games in one spot, stacking them according to shape and shelf space, and use oversized rubber bands to keep boxes closed.


Smart Storage Solutions: Utilizing Organizers and Furniture


Implementing smart storage solutions can greatly contribute to sustaining a decluttered home. Stackable drawers, over-the-door hangers, and organizers transform doors into additional storage spaces, efficiently using otherwise unused areas. Specialized over-the-door organizers can store a variety of items such as shoes, jewelry, and home essentials, adding storage in bathrooms, bedrooms, and kitchens.


Incorporating furniture with built-in storage allows efficient use of space and can be tailored to fit precise room measurements, maintaining a neat appearance. Entryway organization can be achieved using:


  • Floating shelves

  • Benches with storage

  • Cabinets

  • Targeted solutions for small items

This ensures a tidy and accessible space. Utilizing areas such as stair risers for built-in storage solutions can create new spaces for storing items like books, maximizing the use of every area in the home.


The Final Sweep: Ensuring No Item is Left Behind

The final sweep, a crucial step in the decluttering process, ensures every item is accounted for. Begin the final decluttering sweep by targeting small, specific areas and thoroughly dealing with clutter hotspots before progressing. Look for items that lack a proper storage spot, which are often missed during the initial decluttering rounds.

As you find items without a home, sort them into the five bins that were prepared at the start of the decluttering process:


  • Keep

  • Discard

  • Relocate

  • Donate

  • Sell

The final sweep is like the finishing touch on a masterpiece, ensuring your home is truly decluttered and organized.


Summary

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve journeyed through embracing a decluttering mindset, establishing a decluttering plan, tackling common clutter zones, dealing with paper clutter, addressing clothing clutter, handling emotional items, letting go of unwanted items, maintaining a decluttered home, organizing specialty spaces and seasonal items, maximizing utility in multipurpose rooms, organizing electronics and children’s play areas, utilizing smart storage solutions, and performing a final sweep. Let’s remember that decluttering is not about perfection, but progress. It’s about creating a home that serves you, not one that you serve. So, take a deep breath, embrace the clutter, and start decluttering. Here’s to a more serene, clutter-free home!


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the 20 20 rule for decluttering?

The 20/20 rule for decluttering involves asking yourself if you can replace an item for less than $20 and in less than 20 minutes. This rule helps decide which items to keep or get rid of.


Where do I start when decluttering my house?

Start decluttering room-by-room, beginning with the high-traffic areas like the kitchen or family room, and decide what to keep, toss, or donate to make the process easier.


What is the fastest way to declutter a house?

The fastest way to declutter a house is to start with a clean sweep, find motivation with built-in deadlines, and get some help from friends or family. Remember, don't just intend to declutter - take action and make it happen!


What is the 12 12 12 rule for decluttering?

The 12-12-12 rule for decluttering is about finding 12 items to throw away, 12 to donate, and 12 to return to their proper place. It's a simple way to tackle clutter and stay organized.


How do I deal with paper clutter?

To deal with paper clutter, start by gathering all papers in one place and sorting them into categories like action, archive, household, recycle, and shred. Then, create visible and accessible systems for your action items and household paperwork. Consider transitioning to digital alternatives to reduce future paper clutter.


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