Does it seem like if you could just clear the clutter, everything would be easier? While decluttering won’t bring world peace or make your kids unload the dishwasher without being asked, it can certainly be a mental game changer — giving you a space that is renewing and refreshing.
Get Everyone Onboard
In order for the decluttering process to be a success, it is essential you get everyone onboard. Without a buy-in from the entire gang, it is incredibly hard to banish the clutter for good. And, without everyone being part of the process, you run the risk of tossing something you didn’t realize was a ‘can’t live without’ for one of your family members.
Plus, getting everyone onboard means you can divvy up the tasks. For instance, ask each of your family members to declutter their own bathroom. Or talk about which ‘cluttered’ areas bother your everyone on a daily basis. Have each person tackle that area. This will help them be invested in the process.
Take ‘Before’ Photos
Before you get started, take photos of your house. They don’t need to be high quality. Just use your phone and snap a quick pic of each area before you begin decluttering. Not only will this let you see the progress you have made, it can serve as a reminder not to revert back to your old ways.
Start the SORT (and give yourself time to finish completely)
Focus on one section of the house. A room. A table. A hallway closet. This will help you avoid getting distracted so you can finish that area completely. Go through every item and sort each into one of three piles: trash, keep, and donate.
To make the process easier, begin by tossing all the ‘no brainers.’ These are items that are broke, worn-out or way past their expiration date. They immediately go into the trash pile. Then keep working through the rest. As a rule of thumb, if you haven’t used something in the past year, it should go (either in the trash or donate pile).
You want to make sure that you have time to declutter from start to finish. Pausing mid-way through can often cause you to lose your gusto — inevitably leading to you keeping things you shouldn’t.
Take all the items in the trash and donate pile and move them out of the space where you are working. Better yet, take the trash directly to the trash bin outside and put all the donations in your car for a quick run to your local Goodwill.
With all your keep items left, now is the time to start organizing. One of the essentials is to make sure every item has a clear home. This will help you know precisely where to put each item back after you have used it.
Another way to help you keep things organized and know where things are when you need them is to label. This is particularly helpful when it comes to giving your kids independence so that don’t have to ask you for something every time they need it.
Celebrate a Job Well Done
Once you have finished decluttering the house, take some intentional time to celebrate. Make a fun family-style dinner or have a movie night. It doesn’t have to be big an elaborate. The idea is to do something that allows everyone to enjoy the space and celebrate your hard work.
- Set Rules. Once you are done using something, return it to its home. For kids this rule can play a really big role in keeping their room clean. To help them, use clearly labeled bins that can help corral smaller items.
- Put Appliances Away. It is really easy for the kitchen counters to become an appliance warzone. Don’t let them takeover. While everyday-use appliances can certainly have a home on your counter, stash the other occasional-use ones in a cabinet, pantry or nearby closet to keep your counters clear.
- Give Gadgets a Home. Place a small tray or bowl near the front door for each family member to stash their gadgets and small items, like keys. This will cut down on the ‘where are my sunglasses’ drama in the morning. It can also encourage some tech-free time.