From nick-knacks that we pick up along travels to things handed down to us from our family, we pick up a lot of stuff throughout our lifetimes. Then we have the build of up receipts, paperwork, clothing, and just everything that fills our homes, and sometimes our mental space with clutter. Today we will look at easy ways to start the declutter process right now.
10 Ways To Declutter Right Now
Before we get into how to declutter some may ask why it is important.
Clutter is often a symptom of a larger issue.
By removing the excess build up of “stuff” we can focus more clearly on the things that truly matter in life.
Decluttering makes our home easier to keep clean.
A clean home gives us a sense of pride and we are more likely to welcome people in for social engagements.
There are many health benefits to decluttering, according to Kristine Crane, contributor to US News, decluttering can even help with allergies.
In her article, she explains in great detail the health benefits of decluttering.
Declutter In Catagories:
I find it easier to declutter in categories or groups of items.
Otherwise, the process can be overwhelming.
Walking into a room with no plan of action can stop some in their tracks.
Having a focal point, a specific place to begin is key.
Also, don’t plan to finish an entire room in one fell swoop.
Set reasonable goals and be proud of yourself for making progress.
When done regularly on a schedule soon enough your home will be clutter-free.
10 Ways To Declutter Right Now:
Declutter Category One:
Beauty and Skincare Products:
Rid yourself of anything that is outdated.
Makeup has expiration dates and can be unsafe to use past a certain point.
Bacteria growth occurs, and the products may not perform the way they should if out of date anyway.
Cracked makeup is messy.
Make sure as you go through your items that you are being realistic about if you will really use the items or not.
If they have a thick layer of dust on them there is a good chance you will not.
Make it a point to dust off and clean every compact and container before putting back on the shelf, or in its place.
If you are going to keep it, then it should be clean, and look nice to display.
Unused beauty products can be donated or sold.
Please recycle any containers instead of throwing in the trash.
Declutter Category Two:
Medications and Pills:
Declutter by properly disposing of outdated medications and pills.
Some medications are safe to use past an expiration date but will not work as well as they should.
Other medications are dangerous to take past their expiration date.
I prefer to stay on the safe side and get rid of anything that is not within date.
It feels good to clear up coveted shelf space in the medicine cabinet.
Consider pills, vitamins, cough and cold syrups, throat lozenges, prescription medications and over the counter medicine.
Some items may be within safe usage date but something you only needed one time.
By the time you may need this medication again you would need to get a fresh refill anyway, so get rid of it.
Having excess medications in your home can be a danger to guests, children, and our pets.
Be safe and declutter them and remember to always store all medications in a safe place, out of reach of children and pets.
Declutter Category Three:
How many of you just cringed about this?
Maybe you are the person who tosses that unmatched sock right away but most of us hold onto them.
We are certain that other sock will show up and sometimes, it does.
I have a rule that if I do not find the other sock within three loads, it has to go!
I keep the unmatched socks in a special place with easy access.
It feels great when we find that “other sock” but when we do not, we can end up with a hefty supply of unneeded one-offs.
My answer to this issue is that after three loads, these strays go into the garage in a rag bag.
Socks can be great for soaking up spills from my DIY projects and working on the car.
They are perfect for checking the oil!
Make hand-puppets, use for your skincare routine, find any way to reuse them, but please, do not keep them forever.
Declutter Category Four:
Burnt Down Candles.
Raise your hand if you are guilty of keeping candles way past their use.
I know how it is, we keep thinking that last bit of wax at the bottom will solidify and be good for one more use.
That only works to a point then all the scent is burnt out.
Recycle the containers or reuse them for a cool DIY project such as this…
I had written a DIY tutorial on how to make these once but I think that post got lost when I moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress.
It is easy enough to do though by cleaning out the excess wax and adding a drawer pull to the top.
I generally recycle the boring tops and clear glass bottoms, using the pretty ones for these projects.
They are perfect for storing anything.
I have cotton pads and swabs in this one.
Remember, only keep what you will turn into something awesome, recycle the rest!
Declutter Category Five:
Now I am not suggesting you toss those vintage albums by any means.
I love tech and consider myself a bit of an audiophile but let’s face it, some things take up a great deal of space!
How many cameras from the 80’s do you really need?
Do you have 100 power cords with no idea what they go to?
I suggest you go through all your CD’s if you no longer listen to them and stream music instead.
Same with movies, especially those old VHS tapes.
What about that camcorder you have from the 90’s that you will never use again?
With smartphones and the Internet, we rarely use old tech.
There are newer, better ways to do things now.
At the very least, organize what you do plan to keep and rid yourself of the rest.
Declutter Category Six:
Paperwork and Receipts:
This is an area in which I am terribly guilty of clutter.
I do make it a point to go through my piles of paperwork once a week and more often than not, I rid myself of more than half of what I have kept.
After going through the pile for weeks in a row I find I truly only needed to keep one out of every twenty items.
When it comes to receipts there are things we should hold onto.
For tax reasons, or potential return of an expensive item.
Let’s face it though, keeping that receipt on the ten-dollar item is silly.
Chances are, even if we needed to return it, we probably would not make the effort.
The gas expense and time alone would not make it worthwhile.
I find a lot of enjoyment of shredding and recycling paperwork that is cluttering my space, and my mind.
Keep what you only truly need and be rid of the rest.
Declutter Category Seven:
Cups, Dishes, Storage Containers.
How many do we really need?
This category can be frustrating.
Not just in decluttering but in day-to-day use.
Finding the matching lid to a storage container is the contention of every cook unless they declutter!
How many times have you looked for the matching lid only to be clobbered by the landslide of lids freefalling out of your cabinet?
Just how many plastic cups does one need?
How many coffee mugs that say “mom” or “grandma” or with cats on them?
I realize some things have special meaning but limit it to a few plastic souvenir cups of your favorite football team.
Donate the rest and make a difference in someone’s life that really needs them.
Minimizing your kitchen footprint feels good and means less dirty dish buildup.
Declutter Category Eight:
Old towels, unmatched sheet sets, unused blankets.
Not everyone will have a surplus of these items but by midlife, you may have quite the collection.
Since we should wash and change sheets at least once a week anyway no one needs more than two sets per bed in the household.
Yet many of us, myself included, are guilty of hanging on to that one pillowcase, or that one top sheet that has no set.
Usually, I have no idea what happened to the rest of the set!
Faded towels with holes in them or fringing edges, blankets that are not even good for the dogs to lay on anymore.
Use them for packing material, crafts, in the garage, or toss them.
I have used old towels for packing breakable items when my daughter moved.
For that matter, unmatched socks are great for slipping drinking glasses in!
No plans for anyone to move in the near future?
Then donate what is still use worthy, some people truly would appreciate these items.
Declutter Category Nine:
I work from home so my clutter of pens, notepads, sticky notes, paperclips, and so on gets real.
Whether you work from home or in an office, a cluttered workspace can clutter your mental ability to focus.
No matter where you work having a clean area helps with productivity.
For me, going through notes and reorganizing is a daily practice.
Even taking five minutes to organize each morning as I get those first few sips of coffee helps.
Put things in their proper place and rid yourself of what you do not need.
Some people make this an end of day ritual.
Do what works best for you.
Have a specific place for everything, not just having it all piled on top of your desk.
Buy some drawer or desktop organizers if necessary.
Declutter Category Ten:
I saved this category for last because it is the one usually nearest and dearest to our hearts.
The one category that we have to use the most willpower with.
Cherished family memorabilia, the decorative plate set your grandmother saved over decades, the beautiful tea cups you collected at flea markets.
They are precious, and they are dust collectors.
I get it, collections have meaning and sometimes, value!
One thing you have to ask yourself is why you are collecting them.
Do you truly love these items dearly or do you keep them out of a sense of guilt?
No one wants to toss away their heritage.
Grandma’s beautiful china was used at every family holiday since you were a wee tot.
It’s so difficult to let them go.
Unless you have a maid or are extremely diligent in dusting, you may have more a collection of germs and allergins than anything else.
With any decluttering there is an array of emotions that go with the process.
We may reason with ourselves on why we need to hold onto an item.
People tend to use logic or bargaining to keep items they truly do not need.
If you are keeping collectible items out of guilt there are other options.
Some tips to help you move on from unneeded items are:
You can hand them off to someone else in the family.
Someone who does more entertaining or has really desired the collection will truly appreciate your generosity.
Take a photo, it will last longer.
Seriously, one big photo album of the collection retains the good memories without the clutter.
Remember that others need it more, so donate.
There is something beautiful about giving away cherished items and your heart will feel good about it.
It’s collecting dust that can irritate your family.
Think of your health and that of your family.
You could earn some cash!
Selling off a collection makes someone else happy and could afford you a much-needed vacation or investment into something more substantial!
When To Keep Your Collection:
So yes, there are times keeping your collectibles makes sense.
If you still enjoy them and look at them regularly.
When you do so they bring you great joy.
You take care of the items, dusting them regularly and making sure they are not a health hazard.
When you use them!
Not all collectibles are meant to be used but a collection of LPs from the 70’s is doing no one any good if you are not enjoying listening to the music.
They are superhero related.
Alright, this is where my geek comes out.
If I had a collection of valuable comic books or superhero figures I could not let them go.
When they are centerpieces and decor for your home.
I love rustic antiques and casually collect them for DIY projects and use them in my decor aesthetic.
This makes sense as they are used every day as a visual appeal for my home.
Another self-check is to ask yourself if grandma’s china collection has any specific direct memories for you personally.
Maybe you recall that one time Uncle Bob handed you the gravy boat and lost his grip.
The gravy spilling all over the Thanksgiving turkey.
That is a very specific and fun memory so keep the gravy boat and sell the rest of the collection.
When the items are a true investment.
If you honestly believe and have some evidence that your collection is increasing in value, keep them!
Yet, you will have to be willing to let them go when the price is right.
Otherwise, you are just using bargaining tactics.
Declutter And Let Go:
It’s never an easy task, especially when emotions come into play.
Start with numbers one through nine and approach number ten on a day you feel strong.
Remember to think in categories and add your own!
The sense of having a clean uncluttered space is mentally and emotionally freeing once you have tackled the task.
Once you have done so, the items you have around you will have more meaning and get more notice.
Sometimes the more “stuff” we have the less value all of our items hold.
Consider the stranded in the desert theory:
You are stranded in the desert.
Hot and thirsty, skin burnt from days of going without protection from the sun.
No water has been in sight.
Someone hands you a canteen filled with cold fresh water.
Another person lays before you ten choice of drinks from soda to smoothies, to mixed alcoholic beverages.
What would you choose?
When decluttering consider this.
What should you choose that has the most meaning to your life right now.
Go with those things and declutter the rest.
Check out this article on organizing your pet’s items too!
I would love to hear your thoughts!
Do you declutter?
What categories would you suggest?
Do you have a collection?
Does it feel good to get rid of things or do you cringe at the idea?
What drink would you have selected if stranded in a desert?