Stuff that piles up in your home can be a breeding ground for dust, bacteria, and bugs. Clutter could become more dangerous in the kitchen, yard, or other areas with moisture. A damp and humid environment can aid the growth of mold and mildew and put people at risk of getting infected with Salmonella or E. coli virus. Additionally, decluttering can improve productivity, helping you destress, reduce waste, and build the habit of sustainable living.
Tips for decluttering
If you are wondering how to declutter your home, here are four important tips to get you started:
Rank areas based on priority or size
Priority: If many areas of your house need decluttering, identify the area that looks the messiest, and start with it. List the areas in order of priority, focusing first on those that need immediate attention. You can call an entire room or a cabinet an area, depending on the size of your house and the extent of clutter.
Size: Alternatively, you can start with the smallest space on your priority list to easily declutter your house. This can help you move quickly through the list, finish your task on time, and help you understand how to declutter your home. You may figure out the most efficient method, say the fastest way to declutter your bedroom, as they move from small to big areas. If you are too enthusiastic and start with large rooms or the outdoors, the process may take more time and effort and become overwhelming. Starting small also helps you use the cleared spaces as you move to bigger areas.
Set a realistic goal
A crucial home decluttering tip for beginners is understanding that the process calls for organizing and not setting up a perfect home. Once you complete decluttering, it becomes easier to redecorate. Set a reasonable deadline for the task. Start with 15 minutes daily and gradually increase the time. You can also set daily, weekly, or monthly targets. Setting a tight deadline may be emotionally and physically taxing as you have to decide to let go of stuff you have been holding for years. Setting yourself up for fast-paced decluttering can also cause burnout.
Assign categories to items
You should come up with broad categories based on utility, value, and lifestyle. The recommended categories are: keep, recycle, and donate. For everything you pick up, ask yourself if it has sentimental or emotional value for you and if it is useful and suits your current lifestyle. Once you have an answer, sort it into one of the three boxes. Categorize stuff in every room accordingly. Every time you pick up an object, it has to go into one of these boxes: keep, recycle, or donate. If you are undecided, the purpose of decluttering is defeated.
Make a daily progress report
As you declutter your house, make a simple report on your daily achievement. It can help you understand if you need more time or if you are going faster than you thought. You can also take before and after pictures and share them with friends or on your social media or blog posts. This may end up motivating others to declutter their houses.
Paperwork is the most common source of clutter in your study or office. You can make digital copies and shred or recycle papers once you read through them. Look up professionals or companies that buy waste paper for recycling purposes and make some money by selling it
Fix things while decluttering
As you declutter, you may find many things you had stashed or hidden because they were broken. If you can mend or fix them, get it done immediately or discard them. Avoid putting them back as you might forget to get them fixed, adding to the clutter.
Break down tasks
Use a notebook, journal, or digital tool to list tasks manually and then break them down into smaller activities. If you want to declutter the kitchen in a week, break it down into daily goals. For example, your task sheet can look like this.
Day 1: Reorganize the fridge
Day 2: Reorganize the freezer
Days 3 and 4: Reorganize the top shelves
Days 5 and 6: Reorganize the bottom shelves
Day 7: Reorganize the laundry area
Change your habits
Decluttering can reveal many things about your habits. If you have been an impulsive buyer, you can adopt more reasonable spending habits. Procrastination is another major cause of clutter, and people who learn to declutter also finish their tasks on time to prevent reaccumulating clutter.
Organizing need not be an overwhelming task; you can make it a fun activity with the help of a friend or a family member. It can be a great bonding exercise, and you can always return the favor in the future.