Decluttering has gone from something we do during the occasional spring clean to a way of life, a trend, and something we should aspire to all the time. Decluttering experts like Marie Kondo have become celebrities, promising to offer us an easier, simpler, and more joy-filled life.
The truth is that decluttering your home does have loads of practical and psychological benefits: you get more space and a more pleasant home, along with a sense of freedom, confidence, and reduced anxiety. However, you don’t need a decluttering expert to sit beside you and guide you through the process. Here’s how to DIY your decluttering and keep it fun and breezy.
Make a Day of It (for Each Room)
You could try to declutter everything in your home in one day, but it would be exhausting and completely overwhelming. Instead, set aside one day for each room in your house. It could take a few weeks to get everything done, and that’s fine.
There are plenty of other methods available, like this 30-day plan that has you sort through one category of stuff every day for a month, or the one where you get rid of just one thing every day. If you think that works for you, then go ahead. “One day per room over a few weeks” is just a good balance between too intense and too easy.
Have a Strategy
Be methodical, whatever that means to you. If you like working with checklists, print one out to keep you motivated — this one by Molly Maid has a defined strategy for every room. You will need four categories: keep, donate, throw away, and sell. You will also need a concrete action plan for each one. Before starting, you should know the answer to the following questions.
- Keep: Where exactly is this going to go?
- Donate: Which charities will I be donating to? How am I getting the stuff to them?
- Throw Away: Where is my closest recycling center? (Earth911 has a great tool for this) When am I taking the stuff there? What is my plan for things that can’t be recycled?
- Sell: Where will I be selling? Do I need to do anything to set up an account? What will I do with something if it doesn’t sell? Remember that there are alternatives to eBay that may be better suited for the stuff you’re selling.
This may seem like a pointless step, but it’s what will keep you from having a large pile of stuff you planned on getting rid of sitting in the corner of your room for several weeks.
Don’t worry: You don’t have to keep doing big dramatic hauls every week. The Spruce recommends regularly decluttering your house by making sure things are in their right place, getting rid of things you don’t need, and not letting things pile up. You’ll recognize this as tidying, and it’s one of the main ways you will keep your home decluttered in the long run.
Your regular cleaning routine is your best friend. Whenever you clean, say, the bathroom, you have a chance to take stock of all the stuff in there. As well as tidying everything into its place, you can get rid of any useless stuff that has accumulated. Just make sure you have all the materials to keep your home clean and tidy afterward, like a vacuum that works on tile floors.
Decluttering isn’t some mystical process — it’s actually quite simple. Many people find that using “hacks” and established processes helps them, and that’s great if it works for you. But it’s important to realize that anyone can declutter their home at any time without the guidance of a guru or expert. It’s just a case of being organized and being honest about what you need and use. Remember that it should be fun and freeing, so if it’s stressing you out, take a break, get help from some friends, and come back to it — you’ll be so proud of yourself when it’s done.