Tiny homes and minimalism aren’t the only reasons to declutter your home. There are dozens of reasons for getting your living space and life in order. Among the extremes are regaining your space if you are a hoarder and at the other end is the meticulous person that can’t stand having a single item out of place for even a moment. This isn’t about these extremisms although there are Far East philosophies (Feng Shui and KonMari) expounding on how a tidy life brings harmony and balance between the person and the individual’s environment.
This is about the average person that leaves unused Christmas wrapping paper and scissors on the dining room table or the person that constantly leaves a morning coffee cup on the bathroom counter in a rush to get to work. Or maybe you don’t care much about the clutter except that for the few weeks your home is being shown to perspective buyers or you want things a little neater when expecting company. Whatever your personal level of decluttering enthusiasm, it helps having an organized approach.
Get started by picking a room to start with and picking a place in your abode to segregate items ready to go to the dump, recycle, donate, or sent to an out of the way storage space. Your chore will be easier if you create separate piles for each so that these are presorted when you are ready to take them where they truly belong. Depending on the seriousness of your clutter, you may be able to declutter all of your rooms before making these trips or you may require several trips as you go through one room at a time. What you don’t want to do is handle this stuff repeatedly. Once something goes into a pile, the next stop needs to be permanently out of your life or into an out of sight and out of the way storage space.
Avoid overwhelming yourself by starting with one room at a time and even down to one section of the room at a time. Maybe start in the living room with the entertainment center. There are a few general rules that make it easier to decide what to do with clutter. One is the 90/90 rule. Ask yourself “have I used it within the last 90 days and will I use it in the next 90 days?” If not, it's time to say goodbye. But not everything fits in the 90-day timeframe. Some things are seasonal and a 6-month rule works better. Seasonal items that haven’t been used in 6 months and won’t be used in the next 6 months need to go. Between holidays or seasons, most of this stuff needs to go into easy to retrieve storage.
Back to that entertainment center. Do you have a collection of 300+ movies that you’ve watched 15 times and you’ll probably never watch again? Are 100 of them in VHF format and you don’t own a VHF player anymore? Or you do have a VHF player that you haven’t used in 6 years (to say nothing about using it within 90 days)? This stuff needs to be gone from your everyday living space and probably gone permanently. What about your collection of remote controls? Is one of those remotes for that VHF player that you no longer have? Time for it to go and all of those other remotes need a storage place out of sight. Even the TV remote that you use daily. Since you haven’t gotten up to change the channel for decades, you could probably use the little exercise it takes to retrieve the remote from a drawer in the entertainment center when needed. Make it a new habit to put all remotes away when not being used.
Don’t stop with the entertainment center or the living room. You can declutter most rooms or at least sections of them in about 15 minutes each. Take on one 15-minute challenge each day for the next couple of weeks. Move from one room to the next including the bathroom, bedroom, clothes closet, entryway, kitchen cabinets, kitchen, living room, desktop, and paperwork. Some people think this is a spring cleaning chore. But doesn’t it make more sense to do this in the winter when you’re stuck inside and could use all of your living space? This will free up your time in the spring to enjoy being outside in the garden.
Ultimately, there's no shortage of ways to declutter and simplify your life. The important thing is to be willing to let go of the items that no longer serve you to make way for new experiences.
Please comment with your experiences and thoughts on decluttering your home. Humor is welcome and appreciated.
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