So your New Year’s resolution is to declutter your home? You’ve come to the right place! I LOVE to declutter and organize. If you’re having trouble on where to start, you aren’t alone. So many folks love the idea of finally getting organized and doing away with the junk in their home but never do it because they are overwhelmed on where to start.
I have several posts on our big purges that we’ve done below:
The Simple Guide on How to Purge Your Whole Home
How I Eliminated Over Half of My Wardrobe
Scroll down for a FREE printable decluttering guide!
All the stuff (or junk as some call it) can cramp your style and give you anxiety. For me, my anxiety peaked after we did our first purge in May 2017. It was after I saw all of our junk on the driveway as our garage sale opened that I knew there was even more we could get out of the house. So we purged again in August 2017. Ah, I felt better. Then we learned I was pregnant. I started nesting hardcore around Christmas time and by February we had another car load ready to go to charity.
You would think that after Little Guy came in April 2018 I would be done with getting rid of things in our home. Nope – not even close! After you have a baby, stuff seems to accumulate. This is for two reasons: 1) Super generous people give you gifts for baby that you make room for because you need it and 2) you have less time and energy to pick up after yourself or after your baby. The more kids you have, the more stuff there is to pick up.
Decluttering for me has reduced everyday anxiety. It’s the end of December 2018 as I write this and we already have found enough stuff in our house AGAIN to have a garage sale in the spring. Crazy, right?
Your motivation might be the same as mine (reduce anxiety of “things”), or it could be just time to tidy up or you plan to move. Another motivator to declutter is that you can sell the stuff you no longer want or need.
Tip #1 – Start Small
During our first purge and decluttering spree, we started small. The easiest place is your living or entertainment room. Start with your DVDs, CDs, video games, and so on. The item is physically small (so no moving giant boxes around) and for most people, you either really love a movie or you don’t therefore it’s easier to decide whether or not to keep it. *Bonus: it’s pretty easy to quickly sell entertainment items on Facebook Marketplace or stores like Vintage Stock and Game Stop.*
Make a list of all the rooms in your home
With that list, reorder it so that the smallest, most manageable space is at the top
Start decluttering with room number one and work your way down the list
DON’T start another room until the room before it on the list is complete
Tip #2 – Enlist Reinforcements
Even if you live alone, decluttering is more manageable with another person. Get the whole family involved! It will be easier on your spouse and on your kids if they know what is going on. Kids will love to help declutter their things too if you give them a mission.
Talk to your family – let them know what your goals are and what your plan of attack is
Give your helpers specific tasks that you want them to accomplish – an example would be that your husband could go through all of his grilling equipment or tools or your kids could each go through their closets and have a goal of getting rid of five outfits a piece.
Tip #3 – Have Dedicated Piles for What You Keep vs. What You Get Rid Of
All good purges have a plan. You need clear, dedicated spots where the things you will keep and the things you will give away can be stashed. Even creating a “not sure” box might help you. I understand the “on the fence” feeling that some items give you. I’ve been there!
January and winter in general is not a great time to have a garage sale unless you’re from the southern hemisphere. If you plan on selling your items in the spring, make sure you have space to house large totes, tubs, or boxes either in your house, out in your garage, or up in the attic.
A tactic that I like to employ is separating my piles (keep and get rid of) and then going through the “keep” pile again. I can match of pairs of things or easily distinguish duplicates. A big culprit of duplicates is your kitchen and your office space.
Acquire boxes, tubs, and totes to physically remove items from your space
If you plan on selling your things, make sure you have room to store them until the sale date
Label your tubs so that family knows they are the “get rid of” tubs
Neatly organize anything you are going to keep back into its spot
Tip #4 – Be Realistic
Decluttering, either major or minor, doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen in a day or even a week. It’s a long process. You’ll get distracted by reliving memories from the items you find. That’s okay.
As long as you are honest and realistic with your goals, you’ll be able to reach them with little stress. Be realistic with your friends and family.
One thing that helped us along with our decluttering, purging, and ultimately minimalist journey is that we openly talked to our family. We let them know that we just had too much in our lives and that we didn’t necessarily need or want more material things in our life. By having that conversation respectfully, they all have been completely receptive and (almost) always ask before they give us any material gift. It’s wonderful!
I hope that you work through and enjoy your decluttering process in 2019. I hope it frees you from any stress and anxiety clutter causes you. Click below for your FREE decluttering guide printable.