Happy Tuesday friends! Today, I’m bringing you a post that is a bit of an extension of this decluttering post, I did a few months ago. So many of you have told me that clutter is one of your biggest challenges. But not to worry! You aren’t alone and this is totally tackle-able. So, in this post I’m going to build off of my previous one with some of my top decluttering tips and tricks.
I’m going to break this post into a few sections because I think the key to decluttering comes down to following a few rules, asking yourself some specific questions, and staying on top of particular areas in your home. Also, I saw this quote recently by Barbara Hemphill and it was a total lightbulb moment!
I’m guilty of clutter too at times and when I read this quote I realized how spot on it is! We have clutter because we can’t decide what to do with something at the moment so we postpone our decision, chuck it on the counter, or in the junk drawer (or the floor of the closet if you’re me) and deal with it later. Only, we continue to postpone decisions on other things and repeat the process and before we know it we have a drawer we can’t shut or a guest room that no guest could actually stay in because their bed is, well, used as a landing pad. Sound familiar? If that’s you too, then girl you’re in the right place. Let’s stop that hamster wheel once and for all. Here’s my top decluttering tips and tricks.
In my experience I have found there are 6 simple rules when it comes to decluttering a space.
- If you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it.
- Make a quick decision – You know the old saying, if you have to make a decision flip a coin, and when it’s in the air you’ll be thinking which side you hope it lands on, and there lies your answer? Yea the same is true here. Pick up an item. Is it an immediate yes to keep? If you have to mull it over, it likely can go.
- Go one item at a time
- Organize the hot spots – what I mean here is, if it’s junk drawer, a closet, a cabinet, or any area that tends to frequently be cluttered, set up some sort of organizational system to where everything has a home. That way, when you go to put something away you’ll know exactly where to put it, but also, if it doesn’t have a home in that space, you’re more likely not to put it there and risk junking up the pretty organized space.
- Repurpose sentimental items – these are the hardest things to declutter because we are attached to them. So often, they lead to the most clutter because they are a lot harder to do rule #2 with (make a quick decision). That’s harder to do when something is of sentimental value. So, my best tip here when you really feel like you can’t part with 35 years of birthday cards from your parents or high school t-shirts you know you’ll never fit into again, is to repurpose them into something that you can have forever.
- Don’t buy more storage! – I’m so guilty of this but, if you find that you just keep buying more storage containers to fit all of those postponed decisions, save yourself the money. See that as your sign to instead go through and make some decisions, then either keep, pitch, or donate.
Now that we have discussed the rules within the decluttering tips and tricks let’s look at the questions you want to ask yourself as you go through each space and each item. Here are my top 5 questions to ask when deciding whether or not the item in question should stay or go.
- How long has it been since you used it? – Because again, if it’s been a year or more, it can most likely go.
- Do I love it? – If it doesn’t serve a purpose and you don’t totally love it, get rid of it. This is my key tip for clothing. If I don’t totally love how I look in it, it goes. My goal is a closet where I know every item in there is something I feel either totally comfy/cozy or totally confident in.
- Does it work? Is it useful? – I can’t even tell you how many charging cords were in my junk drawer that went to items I tossed a long time ago. Or the electronic wine bottle opener that broke and never did get fixed. See ya!
- Do I have several? How many do I need? – I find myself asking this question with mugs, travel mugs, food storage and sweaters. There comes a point when we just have to say, do I really need another _____ fill in the blank. The answer is usually no. Your space and your wallet will thank you.
- Do I need a physical copy? Can this be a computer file or document? Or, can I find it online? – For this I’m referring to receipts, records, bills, statements, etc. Do you need the physical copy or can it be scanned and saved to a hard drive? As far as “can I find it online?” For that I mean recipes, notes, etc. I have a recipe binder with our favorites, but I also have a ton of recipe books that collect dust because, let’s be honest, I’m much more likely to pull up Pinterest than I am to dust off the Betty Crocker cookbook.
WHAT TO DECLUTTER FIRST
We have our rules and our questions so now we need to actually declutter! Of course all of our clutter will look different, but in my experience, the same areas tend to pile up for everyone. One of my biggest decluttering tips and tricks is to stay on top of high clutter areas regularly, so you can do regular mini decluttering sessions, versus having to spend an entire Saturday going through them. Here are the 20 areas to keep up with often.
- Medicine Cabinet
- Files / Emails / Photos on your phone
- Junk Drawer
- Bins and Containers
- Cards / gifts
- Duplicates or semi-same items (Do you really need 2 fancy water pitchers when you probably barely use one all year?)
- Dishes / Utensils (I mean how many mugs or wine glasses does one need?)
- Decor ( if you don’t love it enough to sit it out, get rid of it)
- Make-up / Beauty Products
- Books / Magazines
- Towels / Sheets
- Garage / Car
- Cleaning Supplies (combine what you can and toss the empty bottles)
- Purse (this is one I go through weekly because of how quickly junk fills up)
- Your phone – I for one have to delete things off my phone often (mostly photos, podcasts or apps) because they take up storage. For this I follow the 2 D’s……Dump (on your computer or zip drive) or Delete, or keep of course if you use it or need it.
Whew, if you made it this far I thank you! My final decluttering tips and tricks are this….
- Give yourself time! Clutter didn’t occur in one day so it might take more than that to get it cleared out. The best thing you can do is take your time and get through it and set up a better system going forward so it doesn’t pile up again. A good example of this is my phone and allllll the photos on it. At the end of every month I try to sit down and dump the photos I don’t need on my phone onto my computer. Doing a little at the end of every month is a lot better than trying to transfer over 6 months worth of pictures.
- Spend 5-10 minutes each day tidying up – This one has been huge for me. At the end of every day I tidy up those high traffic areas, and put items that have a designated home, back there. I really feel like it makes a difference when I commit to putting things away versus creating a catch all.
My final decluttering tips and tricks are to declutter by time. What I mean by that is, in order to stay on top of it so an area doesn’t get cluttered again, some items will require attention either daily, weekly, or monthly. Here’s some examples:
Daily: Kitchen counters, closet, car when you get out of it, emails, and so on.
Weekly: Refrigerator (I like to declutter this on trash night), junk drawer, purse, etc.
Monthly: Medicine cabinet, photos/files, toys, makeup, cleaning supplies, etc.
Most other things you just need to stay on top of every 3-6 months to a year. The key is to stay on top of what you can, and do a little bit each day for the things you use often. And of course, don’t postpone those decisions! If it’s not a hard yes, it’s a no. And let’s not forget that often times clutter is not just delayed decisions but really, delayed action. Like throwing your clothes on the floor instead of hanging them up. Commit to staying on top of it and taking the extra minutes to put something away where it goes, that’s the biggest decluttering tip of them all.
Okay friends, that does it! If you liked this post be sure to pin the pin at the top for later and follow me on Pinterest while you’re there.