Bring in the New Year by making your home clean and well organized. This may mean going whole hog and giving your living space a complete overhaul. Or perhaps you only need to make room for gifts you received over the holidays by getting rid of older items. Whether your goals are large or small, making your home clutter-free is a lot easier if you know what you should and should not do.
1. Don’t Do It All At Once.
Decluttering can be an overwhelming undertaking. Ease the pain by doing one room at a time.
2. Do Start With A Light Clean.
Yes, pulling apart your closet or cupboards is going to cause a mess. But dealing with that mess will be so much easier if you start with a tidy room. Get rid of trash and put away any loose items.
3. Do Create A System.
Before you attack the clutter, stock up on trash bags or boxes. Label one set of bags or boxes for items you’re going to give away and another for things that are going into the trash.
4. Don’t Hold On To Old Papers.
If bills, junk mail and general paperwork are your biggest enemy when it comes to clutter, think about going paperless. Do your bills electronically and look into websites that for a small fee can get your name taken off mailing lists that send junk mail. (Actually, you can do this yourself by calling the catalog companies and telling them to take your name off their list.) File any necessary paperwork away neatly.
5. Do Be Honest With Yourself.
If you haven’t worn that dress in a year or know that none of your family members is going to eat those canned beans languishing at the back of the pantry — get rid of them. This doesn’t mean throwing them out. Instead, donate clothes that are in good condition and canned food items that haven’t expired.
6. Don’t Keep Duplicates.
Of course if someone gives you a new stereo you’re going to get rid of the old one. Use this way of thinking on everything from sweaters to pots and pans. For every new item you receive, try to get rid of an older, similar item.
7. Do Leave Space.
One of the easiest ways to keep the clutter at bay is to reserve a little space for new items that come into your life. Leave a small section of any storage areas, like closets or pantries, empty.
8. Do Indulge In Great Organizational Tools.
Get excited about decluttering by purchasing some fabulous organizational tools. Don’t just buy bland filing systems or boring storage boxes. Snag items that organize as well as beautify your home.
9. Don’t Go At It Alone.
If clearing out your clutter proves to be a major undertaking, ask for help. Involve family members or friends and turn it into a clutter party. If sorting through or giving up items is too emotionally taxing, hire a professional to help you. Post declutter, call your local donation center to come pick up all your “give away” items so they won’t end up taking up space in your garage or basement.
10. Do Declutter a Little Every Day.
Now that you’ve invested the time to clean out and organize your home, make sure it never returns to its former state. Take a few minutes each day to get rid of things like trash, paperwork or any broken items.
By Megan Mostyn-Brown