Maybe it’s because there was a time I lived with a family of 5 in a 1200 square foot house or maybe it’s just what’s left of my Type A personality, but decluttering is one of my very favorite things to do! Working through a space and finding things to donate or toss just makes me happy. My mom thinks my lack of sentimental attachment makes me kind of cold but living in a cluttered space just makes me feel trapped.
Now, let me tell you the fact is clutter happens. No matter how much you stay on top of things we are just bombarded with clutter daily. There is the endless junk mail or receipts from weekly grocery trips, magazines, schoolwork and all the other things we seem to accrue over the course of the day. I don’t know about you, but I seriously may sweep it all away into a drawer or a closet just to have it hidden for a bit until I can deal with it.
So where do you start to declutter? Here are a few tips that work for me.
Minimize as much of the junk mail as possible. I found this link with some information on opting of junk mail. We do not receive nearly as much as in the past. Set up online billing for your primary bills and receive your statements via email. I do not receive any of our bills via regular mail; not our bank statements, car payments, insurance, credit cards, etc. Everything we currently pay monthly comes to me via email which really helped to cut down the clutter.
Set a timer and get busy! This can be a fun little family challenge as well. I definitely have Carly Jo trained really well and she is so good about filling a trash bag with empty containers, used paper, broken crayons, etc. I love to clean out the “junk” drawer when I have an extra five minutes. Keeping trash cans around the house that are easily accessible for chunking actual trash is also helpful.
Focus! One of my biggest issues is working in one space, finding something that belongs elsewhere and heading immediately to put it in its place. Great right? Not! Next thing I know I’ve started something new in that space and end up moving from room to room putting all things in their place but never finishing a thing!
Be realistic. Yes, I’m totally a believer in upcycling items such as these precious DIY decorative jars the girls at Pumps and Pushups showed off last week. These are the kinds of ideas I love and next thing you know I have a cabinet full of jars and lids. Guess what? I’m the least crafty person I know so I’m not being very realistic. Saving all these extras only serve to stress me out and take up cabinet or counter space! Know your limits and be realistic when saving items to be recycled for a new purpose.
Closet clutter seems to always be an issue. I keep a shopping bag in my closet and every time I wear something and do not feel good wearing it throughout the day, I drop it in the bag when I get home. If I did not feel joy wearing it once there is no reason to keep it until I lose 10lbs. I also love the tip of turning all my hangars around backwards twice a year; once in the fall and once in spring. If the hangars never move then I know I did not wear the item and it is no longer worth keeping. If you realize there is a stain or defect in an item, handle it immediately. No reason to save something which cannot be fixed.
If you don’t know about the Amazon Trade_In program you should definitely check into it. My friend Holly told me about it and while I have not found it to be a huge win for movies, I was able to box up an old game system and games along with a handheld gaming system for trade dollars. I always hated getting rid of things for barely anything when we paid so much but honestly the peace of mind it buys not having so much stuff laying around unused is totally worth it! Plus it was super simple and done from the comfort of home.
Some people just have a really hard time letting go of items when they believe there is still some life. I am guilty of this myself. Here are some ideas for those items you are not really ready to part with but no longer use.
- Old towels and blankest; check with your local animal shelter and/or homeless shelter to see they are taking donations
- Toys and Books can be donated to a church nursery or a local preschool.
- Extra art supplies and crafts can be donated to the art teacher at your child’s school
- Host a garage sale and decide as a family something fun to spend the proceeds on
- Donate furniture and household items to a local habitat for humanity.
I love this article, What Not To Do When Decluttering Your Home. I’ve definitely been guilty in the past of buying containers and such to pretty up a space before I really understood what I needed.
Above all else, just know this is a battle every household faces; some just have more space to hide it! Stay calm and find the ways that work best for you to manage the clutter. Sometimes being able to manage the clutter in my brain is the first step so making a plan for how to tackle our space on paper helps.
What are your favorite tips for managing the clutter?
I’m linking up with The Blended Blog for Nuggets in the New Year so head back next Monday when the prompt is all about Keeping the Keepsakes! This really goes go hand in hand with decluttering because keepsakes can become overwhelming in a hurry. Be sure to stop back by to see my tips and share your own at The Blended Blog.