Welcome to the last post from the Living a Clutter-Free Life series. In the previous posts I shared my thoughts on how clutter impacts your mental health and how it can affect your productivity. In today’s post we’ll take a look at some easy steps you can follow to get rid of the clutter in your life.
These steps focus on getting rid of clutter in general. If you want to see steps targeted to specific areas be sure to download the free e-book, where I share a more in depth decluttering process.
10 Basic Steps to Get Rid of Clutter
1. Set a goal and ask yourself why you’re doing a declutter.
2. Create a plan and include a schedule of when you'll carry out the project, the tasks you need to get through, and a budget of all the expenses you'll have like buying cleaning supplies, bags, bins, etc...
3. Select the area you want to tackle. You can pick a specific room, a small area like the pantry or closet, or even your entire house.
4. Sort through all the items in the area and put them in piles. You can group them according to type or function, for example create piles for books, clothes, decor, and so on.
5. Filter through items by asking yourself basic questions like:
♥ Is it still useful?
♥ Is it in good conditions?
♥ Does it work?
♥ Is it a duplicate?
♥ Do I really need it?
♥ Have I ever used it?
6. For each item you filter, make three piles. One for things to donate, one for things to keep and the other for things to get rid of.
7. Appoint when and where you’ll donate the items. You can go online to see where the nearest donation pick up is. You can take it to veterans' shelters, women's shelters, homeless' shelters or even your local thrift store.
8. Throw away and discard properly of the items you’ll get rid of. Some things need to be taken to the proper place. Do your research to avoid getting into any legal trouble. Remember some items can be toxic to the environment if disposed of incorrectly, while others will cause more pollution.
9. Place the items you kept in its rightful place. You can use baskets, bins, drawer organizers to sort everything out. A little tip is to not overcrowd your shelves and counters with items, since this can make a space look messy and unorganized.
10. Swipe, vacuum and clean the entire area or room you just decluttered.
Suggestions to avoid getting overwhelmed while decluttering
If you have a vast amount of mess and clutter in multiple areas in your house, chances are you don't know where to start and it's very likely that the thought alone of having to tackle such a big project is making you stress out. But, though it might be difficult, the longer your prolong it, the messier it will get. So just be brave and with some of the suggestions below I'm sure you'll get through it.
The most important thing is to plan out what you're going to do. Taking a couple of minutes to write down the specific tasks you'll follow, what day you'll do it, at what time, what supplies you need, if you'll hire help, etc... Planning will allow you to have a general idea of the work you need to do and how much time it can take. Knowing before hand what to expect is a great way to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
2. Avoid distractions
When decluttering, chances are, you'll get tired, hungry, bored or start doing something else, like watching Netflix or YouTube. But try your best to commit to what you're doing. A good idea is to divide the project in tasks and small steps. For each small achievement, give yourself a small break to drink water or eat a snack. You need to be committed but also don't be so strict about the project that you end up overexerting yourself.
If you have a lot of decluttering to do, you can divide the project into various days. Hiring someone to help is also a good idea. Don't feel pressured to do everything all at once, or all on your own. Know your limits and take the time you need.
How to actually finish your decluttering project
Maybe, in the past, you've started a decluttering process with all the will and enthusiasm in the world, committed to finishing it, until you gave up half way. Maybe you got side tracked looking at old photographs...maybe you got tired and took a nap...maybe the mess was too much and you gave up. But the past doesn't matter anymore. Don't feel guilty or sad. This time you'll be able to finish your project by following some simple strategies.
1. Don't get emotionally attached to stuff. Learn to let go of material things and stop feeling guilty for getting rid of stuff you wasted money on.
2. Get over the "I might need it just in case" mentality. Stop holding on to stuff thinking you might find it useful in the future.
3. Don't expect things to be perfect. Give yourself a break and don't be too harsh. You'll get there, so for now rejoice in the fact that you started decluttering your house.
4. Set deadlines to carry out certain tasks so you don't overwork yourself. Don't try to get everything done in one day. If it took you long to make a mess, it will take you long to clean it. Be patient and smart about the work.
How to maintain your home/space clutter-free
If you've followed the steps and actually managed to finished decluttering your home or work-space congratulations, you did it! Now the most important part is to maintain the order and cleanliness. In order to do this, you need to establish a cleaning routine in your life. (I offer some suggestions in the free e-book) .
In general terms, set aside some time, whether it's 5, 10 or 15 minutes to go through each area in your house and put away misplaced items, throw away trash, clean and swipe furniture and surfaces, vacuum the floors and organize everything left.
And finally, stop buying stuff that you don't really need. The more items you have, the messier a space can get. Keep things simple and only buy the necessary. Your wallet will be fuller and your home will be cleaner.
This officially means the end of the Living a Clutter-Free Life series. I hope you found the tips and suggestions useful and that all this information motivates you to tackle all the clutter that may be present in your life, whether it’s your home, work-space, or digital devices.
Remember that our mind is directly influenced by our surroundings and sometimes the state of these are a reflection of what’s happening inside of us. We need to create a clean, organized and peaceful space in order to get the best reactions from our mind and body. Sometimes our gloomy state can be improved if we put in a little effort and turn our physical environment into something more pleasant.
You can read the previous two posts from the series: How Clutter Impacts Your Mental Health and How Clutter Affects Your Productivity. Don't forget to download the free E-book that includes a more in depth process, steps, checklists and all the tools and tips you need to plan your decluttering project.
If you found this post useful please leave a like and share it with others. Comment down below if you end up taking on a much needed decluttering project. Thanks so much for reading.
Until next time.