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It’s so easy to accumulate “stuff” in the home… children’s items, family items passed down, holiday gifts, purchases of items on a “give away” sale at the store, clothing that doesn’t fit anymore… the list goes on and on. It makes perfect sense though! As humans, we naturally want to keep things because it fits our survival instinct of holding on to items that can help keep us alive and safe. Fortunately, we’ve moved past that stage in our evolution of beings, but the old habits still are ingrained in our DNA as people.
What can be done to break the clutter cycle and pare down to things that really matter? Here is an easy, hassle free way to de-stress the process of going through things in the home, one project at a time:
1. Set the clock for one hour.
Choose a room in the house, for example – the office, and tackle piles of paper by organizing them into recycle, shredding, filing, and scanning to digitize. Desktop machines that don’t take up much room, such as the Neat Digital Scanner, can be used to scan receipts, documents, and photos so you can get rid of some of the extra paper clutter. Once you see the desktop again, you’ll be inspired to sit down and become productive with work, a special project, or just to stand back and admire your clean office. Try this once every month or two and you’ll be surprised at how effective this can be.
2. Fill a trash bag once a week for donation.
On Saturday mornings, I like to grab a trash bag and almost make a race out of it. Sometimes I head over to my daughter’s room and quickly go through her drawers or closet, and grab clothing that doesn’t fit her or that I know she won’t wear again. You can do this with any closet or storage area in your home, and try not to overthink it, just go with your instinct of whether or not this item is needed in your life as you either add it to the bag or keep in on the shelf. Then, locate donation centers in your area such as ARF Thrift Store, or the American Cancer Society Discover Shop. Tax write-off receipts make the drive worth the trip.
3. Make a decluttering checklist.
It sounds obvious but try and create a prioritized list so that you’ve given yourself clear to-do items that are manageable. The first few items should be areas of your home that really bother you every time you look at them. And they can be small areas, they don’t have to be the entire room. For example, it might just be the area under your bed, the hallway closet, the entryway, or the pantry. When completed, cross that bad-boy off and you’ll be surprised how thrilling that is each time.
4. Declutter with a friend.
Are you having a hard time deciding if you really need that sixth folding chair in the garage? Maybe you’re not the most decisive person, but your friend or sibling is. Invite them over, offer to pay them for their time with a home cooked meal or with wine. I like to bring over my outspoken friends who will really look at me with a side eye when I’m contemplating whether or not that dress from eight years ago is still in style. A little pressure goes a long way when it comes to decluttering, and some tough love to help you pare down from the people who really love you.
5. Remove duplicates.
Best way to start with this one is with a little organizing. Start by keeping or putting like-things together. For example, keep all your screwdrivers in one drawer, instead of multiple places like the closet, the garage, and the toolbox. That way you can start to see if you have duplicates of items that maybe you don’t need. Last time I did this, I realized I had three staplers. No matter how much stapling I do, I’ll never need two staplers – so off to donation they went! I like to use convenient, inexpensive containers like these to keep all my things in drawers and shelfs organized, it’s just a total stress-relief to me knowing everything has its place.
Decluttering can be overwhelming for sure, and often times, it’s just the idea of getting started, or rather – where to start – that is the most difficult. Hopefully this list has helped a little in getting you motivated to find small ways to bring joy back into your home.
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