Ok, buddy, now might be the right time to declutter. Maybe you’re getting ready to buy or build your dream home, maybe you’re downsizing to save some cash, maybe you’re just sick of looking at that stack of mail on your dining room table while you eat your microwave burritos. It doesn’t matter, it’s ALWAYS a good time to freshen up your nest and reduce the stress that clutter can cause.
If you’re like a lot of us (and you are, aren’t you?) you don’t know where to start in this make-my-life-cleaner-and-help-me-find-the-remote-easier journey.
No worries! You don’t have to be an organizing expert to take these five simple steps to a clutter-free place!!
1. Start Today
Wait! Read the rest of this article and THEN start.
Whether you’re a detailed planner who needs to sketch out a project before you dig in or ready to start chucking things in the donation box, take the first step now.
Here’s the thing about humans, we loooooove to delay, and if you put this project off until tomorrow, chances are you can find a good reason to wait another day… and another.. and… you get the idea.
Now, does that mean you have to go elbows deep right this second? Not at all. You can (probably should) start by assessing your first easy win.
Do you have stacks of magazines you’re never going to read? Junk mail that’s just begging to be recycled? Maybe a drawer you never open filled with clothes you never wear? If it’s easy to ditch it, start there and taste the sweet victory of De-Cluttering, Day 1!
2. One step at a time
You’ve been there, right? You pick up that basket of laundry that needs folding and find a letter that needs mailing to a friend that needs help moving to an apartment near your chiropractor who you’ve been meaning to schedule with if only you could find your planner which is probably under that book you have to take back to the library.. and before you know it you’re sipping an iced coffee at your favorite coffee shop because you forgot to do any of that other stuff. We won’t tell you it’s easy, but we WILL say that it’s so important to stay on task and not get overwhelmed.
Remember, you don’t have to boil the ocean - that’s a clever way of saying you can take it a little bit at a time – so figure out how much time you have and pick a part of the job that you can get done in that time.
Only have an hour today? That’s perfect for cleaning out one drawer (we hope) or making a run to the thrift shop to donate what you’ve already gathered. Have the whole day to spend? You might be able to get through your closet, collect and clean your unused kitchen gadgets, or even spend the day helping your teenager sort through the clothes they keep stuffing under their bed. (They’ll love that, trust us).
3. Enjoy the process
You might not believe it, but decluttering doesn’t have to be a nightmare, as long as you give yourself enough time to get it done.
Pick up that bowling trophy you won in college, or the cheesy little memento from your first crush, or whatever makes you feel some feels and give yourself time to think about all those happy memories.
If you’re donating and downsizing, think about how your spare glue gun is going to be helping another aspiring crafter make something cool or the young couple that’s going to mix their first batch of cookies in your extra mixing bowl.
Whatever your next adventure, your decluttering is going to help you turn that page.
4. Be realistic about value
Hey, listen, you have some cool stuff, we know it, and it’s ok to want to make a little cash you can set aside for your future, but know what things are worth before you try to sell.
See that cardboard box full of Beanie Babies with “Retirement Fund” scrawled on the side? Or your favorite Jamarcus Russell jersey? Yeahhhhhh, those didn’t really increase in value like you thought they would, right?
Look, we know you like money, we like money too, but save yourself some frustration, set reasonable prices, and consider reasonable counter-offers if you’re really looking to downsize.
5. Target your donations to help
This tip doesn’t REALLY make downsizing any easier, but it’ll make you feel great, we promise.
If you’re donating gently-used kid’s clothes, toys, or books, household supplies, or bedding do a quick search in your area for the nearest transitional shelter or crisis center.
Thinning out your wardrobe? Look for a local career closet that provides dress clothes to job seekers at no cost.
Looking for a place to donate used furniture and small appliances? Places like the Habitat for Humanity ReStore sell your well-loved stuff and donate the proceeds to help give people a place to call home.
These are just some examples, but there is definitely a cause in your area that’s close to your heart so do a little digging and make the world better as you make your life a little tidier.
Even with these (we think) helpful tips, decluttering can be hard, both on your body and your brain, but believe us when we tell you that it’s worth it. After all, you’re not just getting rid of a little clutter, you’re making room for your next amazing chapter.