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So you wanna start to declutter rooms? That is a very noble ambition and I applaud you for it. Honestly, a lot of people say: “I need to declutter my home”, but few people do it, And even fewer people finish the job.
To be totally transparent here, I have started decluttering a few times myself. And it went fine, but what’s most difficult for me is getting rid of things. Not as much the parting with the items but the actual getting rid of them. I don’t want to toss them out, because most items are still good. So we put them up for sale, but that then takes ages to get everything out of the house. As of today, we still have stuff collecting dust under our stairs (our collecting area). I need to take a good hard look at everything again and maybe just throw it away to get it out of the house…
The difficulty with decluttering
So why do we have such trouble with this decluttering? I can think of a couple of reasons:
- It’s usually a big project. We would like to declutter our entire home and not just one room or two
- We need to find the time. We are busy as is and a big project like this is hard to fit in
- We lose interest. In the beginning, we are all fired up and ready to go, but after a while doing those repeating activities, it gets boring and we stop
- We get stuck. Just like with me, we stumble on a step in the process and everything comes to a standstill
Because I want to have a nice decluttered and peaceful home, where we can relax and where tidying and cleaning aren’t taking forever because of all our stuff that is usually in the way, I started to research the best way to tackle this massive job, that’s called decluttering, and make it doable. This is what I’ve learned.
How to declutter rooms – Different methods
I have found in my research there are different methods you can apply in decluttering rooms. Let’s look at a few of them.
By item sort
A while ago, everyone was talking about and decluttering using the Konmari Method. I wasn’t sure how this method would work for me personally, and I’m still not a fan of this method. Having to take out the same sort of items at the same time, for example, all my clothes, and go through them deciding if I want to keep them or not, doesn’t feel organized to me somehow. And I like organized, even when decluttering.
But then I came across this video and I thought that was the perfect combo of using the Konmari Method and still wanting to declutter room by room.
The hanger method
This method is perfect if you want to declutter your clothes. We sometimes have a ridiculous amount of clothes and in reality, we only wear a part of what is hanging in our closets. A fun method to see what we actually put on during a season is the hanger method.
To start the experiment, hang everything in your closet backward on the hanger, so with the opening of the hanger loop facing you. Once you wore that piece of clothing and put it back after washing it, you put it back as usual, so with the opening of the hanger away from you.
When the time has come to change your clothing because of the change of the season, you get rid of everything still hanging backward on the hangers. Those are the clothes you didn’t wear the whole season.
The one method
I read about this one and it could be great if you don’t have much time and still want (to start) to declutter. It’s getting rid of 1 item, 1 box with stuff, or 1 bag with things to toss each day for a month or so. You can easily fit it into your schedule (make it a time block in your calendar).
There are a lot more methods to how you can declutter your home and get rid of things you don’t longer use or want. Check out these resources for more inspiration:
Which steps to take to declutter
Although decluttering can be an enormous undertaking, especially when you want to take on your entire home, the actual process takes only a few steps.
- Put it on the schedule. Schedule time to declutter that room. It doesn’t have to be an entire Saturday, you can also dedicate a few hours every evening throughout the week.
- Set yourself a specific goal with a timeframe and accountability. This will motivate you to get the job done.
- Get into the right mindset. Being enthusiastic about decluttering that room makes it a lot more doable and fun than going in being unmotivated. Put on some music, step into your sweatpants and let’s start!
- Bring with you 4 boxes (The 4 Box Method), “keep”, “donate”, “toss”, and “undecided”. Now just start on one side of the room and take on the first thing you see. Decide what you want to do with it. Then take the next item and so forth. Use the “undecided” box only for emergencies, when you really don’t know what to do with it.
- Carry full boxes out of the room, except for the “keep” and “undecided” box. Put the “donate” box in the back of your car and empty the “toss” box in the container outside.
- Clean your decluttered space. When your shelves, closets, and drawers are empty, give them a good clean. It’s probably been a while.
- Now you can put the things you want to keep back in its place. Don’t just put them back where you found them, but put them there where they belong.
- Go through your “undecided” box another time. You know now what is in it and giving it a bit of time thinking about what you want to do with it, can make the decision easier. When you find items that don’t belong to you, but to a family member, ask them what they want to do with the items.
Another great tip:
If you want to stay motivated and make real progress you can set yourself a timer. See how much you can do in 25 or 50 minutes before taking a 5- or 10-minute break.
There you have it. In just 8 easy steps you decluttered an entire space in your home.
What to toss, to keep, to donate
Deciding what to toss, what to keep, and what to donate can be a hard task.
Things to toss can be clothes that are worn out, make-up that is open for longer than a year, items that are broken, and old newspapers. In short, items that are no longer useful for you or somebody else.
Things to donate can be old toys still in good shape, clothes you no longer want or wear, old towels and linens are perfect for animal shelters, and books you have read.
Things to keep are the things you still use on a (nearly) daily basis. Or seasonal items like your Christmas decorations. Papers you need to hold on to for tax purposes and family heirlooms.
Keep it an easy process
I believe you ought to try to keep decluttering as easy as possible. That means, don’t beat yourself up when the process is taking longer than you anticipated. Or if it is harder than you thought. Especially with sentimental items it sometimes is hard to let go off. Remember, you didn’t accumulate all of this stuff in a week, so give yourself time to let it go.
Declutter room by room
What I would suggest for us busy women is decluttering room by room. This keeps it most manageable. You can fit it in your schedule no matter how busy you are. Here’s how to do this.
You set aside time, like a Saturday, or a whole weekend, and you take on one particular room to declutter. Now, this is more my thing and I have done this in the past. What I like about this is that you can leave it and go on with your life during the week and come back to it easily when you have a couple of hours again. Just close the door behind you and come back to it later.
Or as I said before, you can work on a room in a few hours every evening during the week. It is up to you, what suits you best.
One room in one go
Now what you don’t want to do is start on more than one room at the time. This only adds to the overwhelm. Things can take forever and this can mess up with your motivation and enthusiasm.
So my advice, do one room in one go. Set a goal for that specific room you are going to work on and finish it before taking on the next room. Maybe you want to transform that one junkroom to a nice home office for you and your spouse. And tackling the garage can add space for both cars inside. I once heard that people leave their expensive cars outside due to the fact that there is no place in the garage because of all the worthless clutter that is taking up that valuable space. Nuts, right?
Decluttering could be a great family goal too. And working on the different rooms together gets the job done even quicker. But make sure to agree to tackle only one room at a time.
Keep it well-organized
To cut out the overwhelm be sure to keep your decluttering efforts well-organized. And not only time-wise, but also getting the stuff you don’t want or need anymore out of the house.
Agree on who is going to drive to the different places you want to take your donations. Maybe you want to organize a garage sale. Or who is going to keep track when you put things for sale online?
And when you really want to organize your process, you can always make a spreadsheet with the items for sale, where you put them up, how much you want for them, and when they were sold. But that’s for the geeks under us 😉
Now, where do you start?
This is always one of the first questions when you’ve decided to go for it. Where do you start? And to be honest, that is a question only you can answer. My advice is, start with whatever room is the biggest thorn in your side. Which room irritates you the most? Or which room you want to transform the most?
Or maybe you want to start out easy, being a person that needs a quick win, this might be the route for you. You build on that feeling of victory and start on a more challenging one for the next room.
Now let’s put the rooms of your homes in a little list (in random order):
- Living room
- Dining room
- Master bedroom
- Kids’ bedrooms
- Home office
- Guest room
- Gaming room
- Recreation room
- Utility room
- Garden shed
- Storage room
- And maybe even more…
You probably don’t have all of these rooms but take a look and see (or feel) whatever room could use a good tidying up. Download the list with all the rooms from the Resource Library and decide for your own home in which order you want to declutter each of the rooms. Schedule and add a date, write down your goal, and who is going to take on the different rooms.
We’ve talked about a lot when it comes to decluttering your home, right? Let’s see if we can recap what we’ve learned.
- Choose a method that is right for your life.
- Put it on the schedule
- Fill out the list with the rooms you want to tackle
- Get the clutter out of the house
- Celebrate your decluttered home!
I hope I gave you the tools to declutter your home. Let’s get our homes clutter-free.
Hi, I’m your time managing and organizing best friend. I am a mom of 3 teenagers and married to my best friend.
As a working mom myself, I love to show you how to juggle your time using routines & schedules and give you time managing tips.