True confession time- I am in desperate need of a major organization overhaul. People visit my home and think I am a semi-clean freak. Clutter is off the counters, nothing is piled on the tables, dishes are washed. But what they don’t know is my “dirty” secret. My closets are stuffed with things we’ve collected over the years. As time passed in our marriage, I inherited stuff from my grandmother and from my parents. Not sure what to do with it, I stuffed things into the closet. And I literally mean stuffed. It’s time to finally become organized. I’m s-l-o-w-l-y working through my house and decluttering. I’ve decided to share some of the tricks and tips I’m learning on how to start to declutter your entire house (and organize) in hopes that it will help others like me.
How To Start To Declutter Your Entire House:
1. Realize that it will take a long time. As I noted earlier, this isn’t for people with a few pieces of paper and a couple of extra things lying around. This is a combination of items from 25 years of marriage and four households. I decided, with my busy schedule I’d plan a decluttering period of one year. That gives plenty of time to clean out every drawer, closet, nook and cranny, shed and garage without being rushed. I don’t expect it to take that long, but I can always add in my parents house (which needs decluttering too.)
2. Don’t take on an overwhelming amount at a time. I only have snatches of time, an hour at the most, before I have to stop and do something else. I break it down into “clean one dresser drawer” or “clean out the medicine cabinet.” I’m able to finish the project without stopping and feel a sense of accomplishment. If you are like my ADD self, seeing an entire overstuffed closet is overwhelming. I take one look and thing, “I can’t do all that! Ack!” And shut the door. Instead do one shelf or set the timer and do x amount of minutes. You still have more done than before you started!
3. Before you begin collect three (or four) trash bags. Use one for items to donate, one for trash and one to take things back to where they are supposed to go. Use the 4th trash bag for items you want to sell.
4. Empty everything from the area you are cleaning. Seriously, this makes it so much easier to get rid of it if it is already out of the drawer. It saves you from thinking, “Yeah, this thing in the drawer? I should do something about it.” But totally not doing anything about it and leaving it in the drawer.
5. Evaluate each item as you go. As yourself, “Have I used this/worn this/played with this in the last year?” If the answer is no, it can probably go. Some items might have a sentimental value and you want to keep them. I have a baby blanket my mom made for one of my kids shortly before she died. Am I using it? No. Am I keeping it? Yes.
6. Purchase/Find organization items to help you organize the stuff you have. I received several organization items for my kitchen from Hayneedle, which I will show in detail in another post, that saved me space and made it easier for me to find my kitchen supplies.
7. Give yourself “organization challenges.” I’m doing the “30 day organization challenge” where I get rid of one item a day for 30 days, but there are plenty of others available.
This is the first in a series of organization and decluttering posts, which will be written as I declutter and organize. 😉 What are your biggest challenges for organization and decluttering? What has helped you?