Justine Harrington on April 5, 2017 1 Comment We’ve all been there – sometimes, no matter how hard you try to stay organized, it’s easy to find yourself positively swarming in clutter. Papers pile up on your once-pristine counters, every drawer is stuffed to the brim with who-knows-what, and your closet is positively overflowing with more clothes than you could ever possibly wear. Keeping the junk at bay is something we all struggle with, from time to time. After all, in a busy world, with things like jobs and kids and other important duties to tend to, keeping a clean space can often fall by the wayside. However, if it’s simply getting to be way too much, and you’d just like to have a simplified, clean home (now, please!) – it may be time to seriously declutter. But, first… What is Decluttering? While decluttering can mean different things for different people, perhaps the simplest definition is this: decluttering is the process of ridding yourself and your home of things that have a higher cost than benefit. Of course, in this case, “higher cost” doesn’t necessarily translate to the price tag of an item – we’re talking the cost in terms of how much space an item takes up, or how much time it wastes to clean or take care of said item. For instance, are you whiling away your precious weekend hours cleaning furniture or appliances that you could just as easily get rid of? That’s what we’re talking about. The benefits of decluttering your home are life-changing – not only will you have a cleaner, more organized space, but you’ll also free up more time in your life and become less attached to material junk. Talk about a win-win situation! 10 Ways to Start the Decluttering Process So, ready to begin decluttering? Here are ten simple steps to getting started! 1. Plan a specific time to begin This one’s important – don’t just say you’ll get started “at some point” this weekend (or maybe next, or maybe the weekend after). Otherwise, chances are you’ll never begin! No, it’s time to treat decluttering with the importance of a doctor’s appointment – pick a very specific time and day that you plan to begin, and write it down. Put it on your Google calendar, in your datebook, and wherever else you keep track of important events. This’ll help ensure that you go through with your decluttering plans. 2. Create a List The power of making a good list cannot be understated! It may sound pointless to you now, but crafting a list of all the things you want to get rid of and the ways that you’ll do it will help you achieve your decluttering goals. Get out a pen and paper, roam your hallways, and start envisioning the way you’d like your space to look. 3. Target an area, and envision your ideal space And while you’re in the process of list-making, it’s time to ponder this question: Which area in your home feels frustrating to you? For instance, are you constantly sighing in exasperation when you enter your cluttered bathroom? Your overstuffed kitchen pantry? What is it about each of these spaces that frustrates you? Focus in on which areas of your home you’d most like to change, and why – then start imagining what your ideal space would look like. 4. Clear off all your counters Does this sound simple? Well, it can be – if you resist the urge to keep putting papers and other items on your open counters! Clearing off your counters is the easy part; it’s keeping them that way that can get a little tricky. Remember that one of the main goals of decluttering your home is keeping your surfaces completely clear of debris. 5. Compartmentalize your drawers Keeping things in their proper place is one of the keys to the art of decluttering – yes, this even applies to the random items in your nightstand drawer. Invest in a few trays to fit neatly inside your drawers so that you can keep everything easily compartmentalized. Remember, the more designated areas you have for your things, the more organized you’ll feel. 6. Teach your kids that everything has a place Yes, it’s easier said than done; yes, it’ll likely take some time before everyone gets used to the new system. But, if you have children and you’re attempting the decluttering process, this step can’t be missed. Teaching your kids where things belong and getting them in the habit of putting those things in their appropriate places will help keep your home as decluttered as possible. 7. Give away five items per day Of course, you could always dedicate a huge chunk of time to throwing away everything — but, this could end up being way too overwhelming. Instead, have a goal of throwing or giving away five items per day. This is a much simpler, less stressful way of clearing away any unwanted junk. Stick to it, and just think about how decluttered your home will be in just a few weeks’ time! 8. Try a capsule wardrobe A capsule wardrobe is basically just a pared-down closet that solely consists of your sartorial essentials – those 20-25 or so pieces of clothing that comprise your basic wardrobe, depending on the season. Maintaining a capsule wardrobe is a great excuse to give away clothes you never wear and stick to a simple, easy closet. 9. Set up a folder system for important papers If you don’t do this already, now’s the time to start – having a set of simple, clearly marked folders for virtually all your papers will help keep everything streamlined and in one spot. Make it a point to file papers away immediately rather than tossing them aside, and make sure you keep a few extra folders in your system for those pesky miscellaneous documents. 10. Get someone else’s opinion When it comes to the decluttering process, this is the all-important final step! Asking a friend or family member to look around your newly-decluttered abode can help you figure out if there any lingering items that need to go. After all, it can be easy to become immune to your mess when you live there – having someone with a fresh set of eyes to glance over everything is invaluable!