Be honest- is there a huge pile of stuff taking up valuable space right now in your garage, shed or basement? Is it full of items that have absolutely no functional value in your life, yet you are reluctant to throw or give them away in case you find yourself needing them in the future? Maybe you aren’t particularly attached to anything in the junk pile, but lack the necessary motivation to get in gear and cut out the clutter for good. Not only is it exhausting to sort through everything and haul away what you don’t wish to keep, but it is also quite taxing to decide whether to keep, sell, give away or throw away every object you encounter. While reducing clutter in your home can be both physically and emotionally difficult, it is an important step to helping your living space reach its full potential in terms of aesthetics and functionality. The following tips can get you on the right path to a clutter-free, organized home:
Sort Your Stash- Probably the hardest step of the de-cluttering process is the very first one you will have to do. You need to go through the items in your pile and decide what you keep and what gets sold, given away or tossed. The easiest way to go about this daunting task is to get four boxes, marked with “Keep,” “Donate,” “Sell” and “Trash.” Items you actually use at least once a month should go into the “Keep” box, and anything you think may actually be of some collectible value should be placed into the box marked “Sell.” If you see anything that may be of use to someone else, such as a household appliance or clothing with little wear, put it in the “Donate” box. Everything else…sorry, it’s “Trash.” The act of physically putting each thing into one of these boxes will help clarify what you truly need and what you can afford to part with. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the process goes after the hard start, and how much lighter you’ll feel almost instantly!
Don’t Lose Momentum- So now you’ve sorted everything into their respective boxes and you feel really accomplished. Don’t put your feet up just yet- you’re far from done! It’s so easy to feel accomplished when you’re done sorting your pile and then just leave the four boxes sitting there in the same spot for six months. Why not go one step farther and actually bring the “Donate” box to your local charity organization or thrift shop? How about listing some of those “Sell” items on eBay or Craigslist? You can at least walk the “Trash” box over to the Dumpster, can’t you? The follow-through is every bit as important as the initial effort to get rid of the clutter.
Time to Organize! – Now that you’ve whittled down the items you actually want to keep, it’s time to figure out where to put them. As much fun as those home organizing stores can be, there is really no need to spend a lot of money on fancy storage systems for your living space. Check out Pinterest and other home-improvement blogs for excellent and creative ways to use existing items in your house as organizational tools. The internet is teeming with all kinds of these little “life hacks” to get you organized on the cheap. Be honest with yourself about how you will really end up putting things away on days when you are too tired or busy. An organizational system that isn’t going to realistically fit into your life is not going to help much. Pick what you think will work best for your personality and energy level. Better to have a bin full of odds and ends or a “junk drawer” than to have the junk overtake the entire kitchen counter. Use your best judgment to figure out a system that is right for you.