It doesn’t take long for clutter to take over a house.
You used to be neat, tidy, and only keep the necessities in your house.
You struggle even to find the things you need because your entire house has been overtaken by clutter. You have far more stuff than necessary, and you aren’t even entirely sure where over half of it came from – or why you have it.
If you’re face-to-face with a cluttered home and feeling overwhelmed, let’s go over a couple of creative ways to declutter your home and life, here.
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You know you want to live a simpler, uncluttered life, but you don’t know how to get there. If you’re stuck wondering “what are the steps to decluttering?” or, “how do I clear my clutter and get organized?”, here you’ll learn exactly how to start decluttering when overwhelmed by the mess.
➡️ (But first – you should glance at this book. It took the world by storm back in 2011 and it’s STILL one of the most popular decluttering and organizing methods available.)
Not only will you learn how to start decluttering, but you’re also going to learn how to KEEP a decluttered and organized home.
11 creative ways to declutter your home and life
How do you start decluttering?…
1. Set a timer for 10 minutes
One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to decluttering is trying to do it all at once.
While it’s great if you’re determined to rid all your clutter, what isn’t great is getting exhausted and burning out halfway through the process and being left with a job that’s half done.
When you dedicate a short amount of time to doing nothing but decluttering, you’ll see far better results than if you try to do it all in a day.
It is possible to declutter your house in one day, but it’s not the best method out there.
So, using this magnetic timer you’ll want to set it for no less than 5 and no longer than 10 minutes, get rid of any distractions (put your phone in a different room, turn off the TV, etc.) and as soon as you start the timer focus solely on decluttering a certain area of your house until it dings.
Once the time is up, go ahead and take a break for a while. Do something you enjoy. If you find you were becoming less thorough with your decluttering by the end of the 10-minute session, don’t do any more sessions today, wait until tomorrow to start back up again. However, if you felt like you could go on a bit more, after your break set another 10-minute timer and declutter another area of your home.
2. Get one, give one
Anytime you bring a new item into your house, get rid of something else. For example, if you get a new t-shirt, go through your t-shirt pile and donate an older one. If your kid gets a new toy, help them sort through their toys and find one to donate.
Anytime something new comes into your house, get into the habit of getting rid of something else. Doing this will help keep the clutter at bay and will ensure you don’t end up having dozens of the same (or similar) item five years down the road.
3. Prep for a move
One of the most creative decluttering tips I’ve learned yet is to prep for a move every couple of years.
This means you will go through everything you own and ask yourself if it’s worth moving to your “new house” or if it’s not worth the effort.
Acting as if you’re moving will help you realize what stuff is worth putting in the effort (and money) to get moved, and what stuff isn’t worth it.
Anything that’s not worth it (or you don’t need)? Get rid of it.
4. A trash bag every six months
Every six months, fill a large trash bag with stuff that you no longer need or use and donate it. Go through all the rooms of your house and find things that you haven’t used in a while, no longer have any need for, don’t like, or have duplicates of, and put them in the trash bag. I like to use these hefty trash bags since they’re big enough to handle big items and strong enough to carry big loads.
Doing this will help keep clutter under control in your house since it’s nearly impossible to keep every piece of clutter out, no matter how hard you try.
Even if you’re dedicated to only letting necessities into your house, over time stuff collects without you even realizing it, and filling a trash bag every six months will allow you to see what kind of unnecessary things have made their way into your house and will give you a way to get rid of them and keep your home clear of clutter.
5. Hang your clothes backward
Decluttering clothes is often one of the hardest decluttering tasks people face. You may be wondering, how do you start decluttering clothes?. When you look at a closet full of clothes, you know you don’t wear everything in the closet, but you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of the things you don’t wear.
Or, maybe you think you wear everything in your closet and therefore have convinced yourself that you don’t need to get rid of any articles of clothing.
Either way- here’s the best way to declutter your clothes (EVEN if you don’t have any clothes to declutter):
Hang your clothes on hangers (these are perfect since your clothes won’t slide off of them) and hang the hangers backward in the closet.
Then, any time you wear an article of clothing, simple turn the hanger around so it’s the right way in your closet, and keep it that way.
In 6 months, go through your closet and donate any clothes that are on hangers that are still hanging the wrong way – these are the clothes you don’t wear and can safely get rid of without missing.
6. Get rid of anything without a home
Everything you own should have a home in your house. A place where it lives without making the room look cluttered or unorganized. This means that the vacuum cleaner’s home shouldn’t be in the corner of the living room. That would make the room look cluttered and the vacuum cleaner look out of place.
The vacuum should have a home of its own somewhere else in the house that’s easily accessible, out of the way, and hidden.
The same goes for everything you own. If it doesn’t have a place in your house (somewhere that it belongs and looks tidy, not just somewhere that it fits), it’s time to get rid of it.
“But I live in a tiny house and don’t have places for everything I need.”
Even if you live in a tiny house, you should still be able to find somewhere for all your necessities. If you can’t, there’s a good chance that something that isn’t a necessity is taking up too much space.
It means that you’ll have to be okay with downsizing, living with less, and making do. (My husband and I had to do this for several years while we lived in tiny basement suites… and we made it work.) You can also find things that serve multiple purposes to own, rather than single-use items.
Don’t have space to store your mop and vacuum cleaner? Consider combining the two to save space.
7. Look at your belonging differently
It’s hard to take something you’ve owned for years and get rid of it. But if you want to live a clutter-free life, it’s something you have to be okay with doing. To become okay with getting rid of even sentimental stuff, you have to learn how to look at your belongings through the eyes of a stranger.
If you were a stranger in your house, would you see a need for that fry-cutter, or is it taking up unnecessary space?
Look at your stuff with practicality in mind – if it doesn’t make sense to own and feels more like it’s a luxury than a necessity, you can consider getting rid of it.
8. Challenge yourself
Don’t dread decluttering… challenge yourself to make the whole process a lot more fun. If you’re wondering “how can I declutter fast?” the answer is, take a decluttering challenge!
9. Use only one box
Many decluttering experts will tell you things like: you HAVE to use the four-box method if you want to successfully declutter (one box for trash, one box for giving away, one box for keeping, and one box for relocating). Or, they’ll tell you the three-box method works better (trash, donate, keep).
But in my personal experience, the one-box method is the winner.
I’ve tried using the three and four box method for decluttering our house, but the thing that happens the most when I do is I end up overwhelmed by the number of boxes I have and worrying about getting everything in the right box that decluttering ends up taking me far longer than it needs to.
Then when I’m decluttering, I end up putting too much stuff in the “relocate” box (this is a box to pack things away and put them in storage in) because I don’t want to commit to giving it away, but I know I don’t have room for it in our house.
Which results in me simply moving our clutter around.
I don’t end up getting rid of nearly as much clutter as I should, I simply end up putting it in storage (which is NOT a good way to declutter).
So, I’ve found that the ONE box method works the best. It’s straight forward, simple, doesn’t give you time to second guess your decision, and don’t allow you to simply move your clutter from one area of your house to another.
How to declutter with the one box method
When you declutter with the one box method all you do is go through all your belongings, one by one, and put anything that you’re NOT going to keep into the box (excluding broken items- broken items go into a trash bag). The, what you are going to keep you are going to take it RIGHT away to where it belongs. Don’t set it down to do later, do it now.
So everything in your house will either end up being where it belongs or being in a box that will get donated.
One thing that is SUPER important is to choose a box that is sturdy and can handle heavy loads, but isn’t anything fancy, this box is the right idea. You want a plain box so that you can send the entire box to the donation center. (If you use a fancy container you’re likely going to want to keep the container, which means you have to transfer everything into a trash bag or different box to donate it – which gives you another chance to look at everything you’re getting rid of and decide that you’re going to keep it – which is exactly what you DON’T want to do.)
(Some people prefer to try and sell the things they want to get rid of, but in my experience, selling stuff can take months, which means the clutter is going to live in your house for months until it’s sold. This not only keeps your house cluttered for that much longer, but it also gives you an excuse to go back through the box of things and decide you actually want to keep some of the things you decided to get rid of.)
10. Get a decluttering buddy
Everything is easier when you have someone holding you accountable, and what better way to be held accountable than to have someone go through the process with you. Find a friend who wants to live a simpler life and ask them to go through a decluttering challenge with you. Doing it together allows you to keep them accountable, and them to keep you accountable.
11. Start where it bothers you the most
Some people will tell you to start with the easiest room in your house, while others yet will tell you to start decluttering the hardest room first.
My two cents?
Start with what bothers you the most.
If there’s a particular surface, room, or area of your house that you can’t stand to see cluttered, start with decluttering that, first.
Since it’s an area that you don’t like to see cluttered, you’ll have the motivation needed to declutter and organize it, then once you’re finished there, you’ll be motivated to carry on to the rest of your house.
When it comes to decluttering, the hardest part is getting started.
Once you’re started you’ll realize that it’s not as overwhelming as it looked, and though it will require work and time on your part, the end result will be well worth it.
If you’re still stuck wondering where to start decluttering, the easiest place to start is the place that bugs you the most.
Is there one place in your house that drives you crazy when it’s filled with clutter? Wherever that place may be, choose that one to start with. That way you’ll be motivated to get it done (because you hate when it’s cluttered), and once it’s decluttered, you’ll be motivated to keep on going – because it really DOES feel amazing to see a space so cluttered become decluttered and organized.
I’d love to hear – what are some of your most creative decluttering tips? Maybe you have some decluttering tips for hoarders or just some EASY decluttering tips that you want to share with other busy women.
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Decluttering Tips for Hoarders: How to Get Rid of Stuff When You’re Drowning in the Mess