How to declutter your home

 

If you know me, you might describe me as a fairly simple and organized gal. My apartment was pretty sparse in some people’s opinion, yet I enjoyed the freedom of less stuff and the ability to keep things clear and clean.

My family isn’t the worst when it comes to clutter, but I made it a goal when I moved back into my parents’ place to help them spruce up the space — after all, most of my childhood belongings are here, and introducing our apartment of stuff meant that we had to make room somehow. While I’m quite the optimist and set out to cleanse this house and do a complete makeover before we moved in, the reality is…

I can’t clean a house overnight.

And so, I’ve been dragging my feet for 4 months as my decluttering list continues to collect dust, but I’ve made up my mind to share my process for decluttering the living area of our home. It’s a space with a piano, mismatched furniture we no longer use, books, and more. I’m also including a downloadable worksheet at the end of this post to help you prioritize and plan out your decluttering strategy so you don’t get overwhelmed and stuck like I did.

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The four step decluttering process

*Before your begin, make sure you have some housemates at home before you toss something that may be of sentimental value. Remember that this can be an emotional process for some.

  1. Take an inventory of large furniture items and determine or not whether these items should…

    • Stay

    • Or go - refer to step two on how to rid of these items responsibly

  2. Remove everything else from storage and shelves, and place these smaller items into four piles:

    • Sell or gift

      • Craigslist, eBay, Facebook community groups, and your local community are some great options to sell your used items. Otherwise, have a garage sale!

    • Donate

      • Check your local homeless shelters and secondhand stores for donation drop offs

    • Recycle or fix

      • Attempt to fix an item before tossing if it still has potential

      • Check your local recycling center’s policy for what is recyclable

      • For tough to recycle items, refer to Earth 911 and Terracycle for items that are not commonly accepted in your municipality

      • If you have a broken product that is not easily fixed or recycled with any of the above options, contact the manufacturer or brand of the product for proper disposal options. Companies should be held responsible for the end of life options for their products

    • Trash

      • Be sure to use up consumables if possible, to reduce your waste as much as possible. Unfortunately we still live in a linear economy, where things are destined for landfill — just try your best

  3. Organize

    • Separate items out by category, and determine the best place to store items by category based on available space

    • Order items by color, size or alphabetically - do whatever makes the most sense to you

    • If needed, determine whether or not to purchase some baskets or boxes to help organize your spaces and keep things together

  4. Refuse

    • Keep clutter out of your house by being intentional with what comes in. Refusing what you don’t need reduces your waste and clutter, and will also help lower your consumption

Plan your decluttering strategy

As promised, I’ve also included a downloadable worksheet to help you plan, write out and organize your decluttering strategy. It can be a daunting task to clean out a home, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Use this worksheet to help you prioritize what should be cleaned first, and keep yourself organized so you don’t have to make multiple trips to donate, recycle, or sell your belongings.

While this post is a simple overview of decluttering the living room, let me know in the comments section below if you want more in depth guides on how I declutter each area of the home sustainably. I wish you the best of luck with your decluttering journey and hope it is as fulfilling as mine is!

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