Spring Cleaning Carnival: Get the Clutter Out

Declutter
source: Hartford Family

Today we continue our unique take on spring cleaning with Katie from Kitchen Stewardship’s Spring Cleaning Carnival: Get the Junk Out.

This week I’ve over at Kitchen Stewardship sharing my story of eliminating clutter and the benefits of decluttering. Go ahead over to read that and then come back and read my tips for getting the clutter out in your own life!

Also, enter to win a  print membership ($20 value) to ListPlanIt or a meal planning package including the meals e-planner and magnetic grocery list notepad.

If you’ve read all about simplifying and decluttering but just aren’t sure where to start or how to make it a reality in your own life, here are some tips to help you get started. Or if you’ve already started the process but want to take it to the next level, I’ve got some tips for you too.

Baby Steps

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by clutter and disorganization, start with a clean sweep through your home. Carry two boxes or bags with you and began filling one with “give aways” and one with “throw aways.” Commit to filling up the giveaway container in 15-30 minutes and practice making some decisions that stretch you. Your house might not feel dramatically different when you’re done, but add a task to your calendar and do it again next week. And the next. And so on.

I know that the idea of getting rid of something permanently that you might want later down the road is the biggest roadblock for a lot of people when it comes to decluttering. But I can assure you that I’ve spoken with dozens of people who are on the road to simplifying and decluttering their lives, and there are very little regrets. You may have to repurchase something that you gave away at some point in the future, but the freedom and productivity that you gain is worth it!

If you’re not ready to face the possibility that you might have regrets, though, try this instead. Pack up your give away items into a box, tape it shut, label it with the date and stick it in your basement or attic. If you don’t need anything out of it during the next six months, go ahead and take the box (without opening it!) to your local Goodwill.

Next Steps

Perhaps you’re ready to take your decluttering to the next level, but going through every drawer and cabinet sounds overwhelming and keeps you from getting started at all. Instead of trying to tackle it all at once, try this three-tiered approach:

Identify your pressure points. What areas of your home leave you the most frustrated and out of sorts because they’re overwhelmed by stuff and disorganized?

Start with that room or area and begin decluttering and organizing one small zone at a time. If you are busy and/or have little ones underfoot, you might define a zone as a single drawer or cabinet. If you have several hours to tackle it, you might get brave and attack the whole room at once. Emptying everything out of the cabinets and drawers and off shelves and surfaces, only putting back the things that you use and love.

Once you’ve completed the first area, move onto the next, tackling one at a time and doing your best to ignore the rest until you have time to get to it.

Leap of Faith

If you’re already living a fairly organized, simple life but you still want to take it up a notch, try going back through each room in your home (it shouldn’t take long anymore, right?), and see what other hard decisions you can make. Take an honest look at the each thing you’ve kept up to this point and think about how often you really use it, whether there’s another item you already own that could pull double duty to accomplish the same thing and what else you might be able to do with the space if you didn’t have that item.

Then, move onto your storage areas and begin unpacking boxes that are stored away for a rainy day. With the exception of seasonal decor, a small amount of sentimental items that you want to pass onto your children one day or records that you’re required to hold onto by law, begin eliminating the stuff you have in storage by either unpacking it to use in your home or giving it away. What’s the point of holding onto something if it’s just going to collect dust and fall apart in storage anyway?

More About Decluttering

If you’re looking for more tips to help you on your journey to declutter and simplify, be sure to read through these posts for inspiration and practical tips:

Next week, we wrap up the Spring Cleaning Carnival as Claire from Saving Money Plan helps us tackle eliminating debt.

How do you feel about clutter in your home? Is it something you’re working to reduce or eliminate? Feel free to share your answer in the comments or link up to your posts on the topic!

Mandi Ehman at Organizing Your Way

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