Do you ever feel like you just have too much stuff? Does living in a cluttered space where you can barely move make you feel stressed?
Believe it or not, there are many benefits of decluttering that will positively impact your life, almost immediately!
Decluttering can significantly improve your mental health and overall well-being. Going through this process thoroughly can help reduce anxiety and finding items that were previously lost. Additionally, it can ease future burdens. Let’s say you need to make a sudden change to your living situation i.e. downsizing, whether it be due to a divorce, you’ve lost your job, or there has been a death in the family, your loved ones can rest assured that the process of going through various items will take far less time because you already began that process long ago.
When you stop to take a look at just how much clutter you have in your home and your living spaces, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed. Here’s a concise list of steps you should take to make the process easier for yourself.
Remove trash. Go around each room of your home with a garbage bag and throw away anything that is trash.
Start small. Begin your decluttering process by starting with small areas such as closets or kitchen drawers.
Get sorting. An easy way of going about this step is by creating three separate piles: keep, donate, and toss.
Give everything a home. If you plan to keep anything, do yourself a favor and find a specific area to store or display items you plan to keep. For example, eating utensils belong in the kitchen drawer, not your office drawer.
Store like with like. For example, tools should be stored with other tools. Mixing items will only create more chaos.
Establish the “one in, one out” rule. If you plan to keep something, plan to either donate or throw away something else. This will help you to keep the number of items in your home down to only what you regularly use.
Ask your loved ones questions before continuing to store something. If you have any items that you plan to pass down to your children or your children’s children, ask your kids what they would like to keep and what they are okay with never seeing again.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Remember the saying, “Slow and steady wins the race.”? Well, that holds true here. Do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed by trying to take on more than you are physically or mentally capable of. Instead, break down your process into small, easy tasks that are able to be completed on a consistent basis. That way, you won’t feel burned out and you’ll be able to look back on your work with pride once your process is finished.
Creating a home inventory is an effective and efficient way to help you organize your process of going through each room of your home. You will be better able to form a comprehensive list of your personal belongings and each items estimated values. This is extremely helpful and beneficial to you because it is your resource to use in case you need to file a homeowners insurance claim after a fire or other major disaster to happen to your home.
If you have a home office, the first thing you’ll want to do is organize your paperwork. What should you keep and what should you discard? Make sure you always keep important items such as birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, social security cards, military service records, pension and estate-planning documents, and life insurance policies. Your personal health and vehicle records are also important to keep in a secure file.
Rid yourself of any electronic devices you no longer use. If you have an old laptop or a digital camera that is missing a power cord, these items are now, sadly, useless to you. You can either throw them out or figure out a way to recycle them. Before doing this, be sure to remove any personal information from your devices.
Your children may have tested the waters of painting or sculpting. And every piece of artwork that your child hands to you is unique and special. If you save everything, you’ll soon have a massive collection on your hands. Remember, you still have a limited storage space. Instead of keeping everything, put your favorite pieces on display on an art wall.
Old photo collections are wonderful to have, but have you taken the time to organize them? Create a new album of physical photos or store them in a digital file that you can access later on.
Your garage may be one of the most cluttered spaces in your home. Use the walls of your garage to create more storage space. For example, you can use bungee cords, mason jars, and magnetic strips to effectively use wall space in order to store various items in your garage. Storing them securely against the wall can help you create far more storage space than you originally thought you had.
Your garage is probably one of the spaces in your home you frequently use and physically find yourself in. Be sure to lock up your tools in a safe and secure area. Get rid of any tripping hazards. Store ladders properly, so that they are safely out of the way. Fire extinguishers should be kept in a secure place that is also easily accessible.
Certainly, you spend almost, if not every day in your kitchen. Make sure you take the time to go through items in your refrigerator and pantry, paying special attention to expiration dates. Rid yourself of anything that has expired.
Over the years, if you haven’t taken the time to assess how much “stuff” you have, it’s not unlikely that you have duplicate items in your possession. How many spatulas or tongs do you have? How many cutting boards? How many drinking glasses? Donate anything you don’t need.
If, after going through your storage containers, you find that some of them do not have a matching lid, get rid of them. This will help you declutter and rid yourself of any items you can no longer use.
When was the last time you went through your closet? Are there any shirts or pants that you haven’t worn in years? Get rid of them. All those items are doing is taking up space. Perhaps there are some items you have outgrown? It’s time for them to go.