By Jane Blanchard
Do you get the sinking feeling that you are spending way too much time looking for things in your home? Do you think your house is messy or disorganized? There is a way to transform your living quarters so that everything will be in its logical place, and you can start the process by decluttering.
To begin your project, you will need a good supply of bags for items that will go to the trash bin, for those that you will be giving away, for items you need to rearrange or relocate, and still more bags for things you need to put in storage. Apart from your bags, make sure you are able to allocate enough time for your project by creating a daily and weekly work schedule.
Learn to say goodbye
Go through each room in your house and throw away things that need to go to the trash bin. To make the process less overwhelming, do your trash rounds per room instead of going through the whole house all at once. Take a big trash bag and pick up all the things that you no longer have use for. Once that bag is full, tie it up, throw it away, and don’t look back.
Getting rid of stuff can sometimes be so agonizing it is often referred to as purging. However, it is a necessary step if you want to see order in your home. Your reward: shelves and closets that are no longer messy and overstuffed.
Decide how much space you really have
Determining where you will put your things and seeing how much space you really have can help you see what you can keep and what you need to discard. Let the amount of space you have determine the number and the size of the items you will accumulate. If you keep your space limitations in mind, being selective will be easier for you, and you won’t end up with too much stuff.
Divide your decluttering into manageable work segments
Don’t try to clean up your whole house at once. If you do, there is a strong possibility that you won’t do a thorough job, and this will probably leave enough unfinished business for clutter to start all over again. Instead of doing an ambitious massive overhaul, think about working on one room at a time. Spend 15 to 30 minutes a day on that room and give it two hours on a weekend. When it’s done, move on to the next room.
While you are working on a specific room, don’t allow yourself to take “a few minutes” to go to another room so you can arrange a vase or a book you found. If you find anything that belongs to a room other than the one you are working on, put it in your relocate/rearrange bag. This kind of discipline will allow you to get a solid chunk of work done.
Allow everyone to actively participate
You have a better chance of keeping clutter out of your house if everyone is on board when you begin the project. This means everyone has to agree that some stuff will have to go. It also means allowing people to decide where they will put their shoes, their bags, and all the other things that always seem to lie around in disarray. Maybe kids will want huge tubs to put toys in, and some people in the house will want some place to just plop the things from their pockets. Ask everyone for solutions to the clutter problems they contribute to.
Think labels, colors, and systems
Once you’ve gotten rid of the trash and given away the things you should, you can buckle down to getting things really organized. Label boxes and containers so you won’t find it difficult to find things later – especially if you are storing clothing you won’t be using till next season. You might want to color code your boxes to make it even easier to identify which boxes hold kitchen goods, spare linen, Christmas décor, or Halloween costumes.
When you rearrange things, don’t forget to provide easy access for items that are used most often. If your closets are deep, put these often-used items in a box or tray so that behind this box you can put another one for seldom used goods.
Finally, remember that it took more than a day or a week for your house to accumulate the clutter you see today. Relax, keep at it, and be confident that you will get it all straightened out and organized – one room at a time.
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