Welcome back! This is the second part of my previous post about the reasons why you might feel a total lack of clutter control. We feel like we don’t have a life because our house is so cluttered, and we tell ourselves our house is so cluttered because we don’t have a life. That’s nonsense and you know it—don’t you? Acknowledge your reasons against decluttering for what they are—excuses (even good and reasonable excuses are still excuses). Be determined to give this all you’ve got. I think you are. I think you’re here reading this because you can’t take another moment in your frustrating predicament. You are finally ready to discard the excuses, roll up your sleeves, and declutter and organize your home. It’s time for my seven ideas for decluttering to help you avoid feeling constantly overwhelmed. These ideas are less about the specific decluttering of areas and items I mention. Instead, in decluttering any area, I want you to think inwardly to find happiness and empower your lives, something I love to talk about on Inspired Housewife to help women like you.
7 Easy Decluttering Ideas to Avoid Being Overwhelmed
STEP 1: YOUR ROOM COMES FIRST!
Start in a room that’s just for you—office, bedroom, master bathroom. Leave the heavily-trafficked rooms for last (living-room, kitchen, etc.). Go to your bedroom or whatever room you use personally that seems to be the neglected catch-all. Work on that room first and ignore the mess of the other rooms.
STEP 2: DON’T OVERTHINK IT—TRASH IT!
Get yourself some of the hefty-duty black trash bags with the pull-tie tops. Can’t afford that just yet? Grab those plastic grocery shopping bags you stuff under the sink. Aside from the obvious trash items, you’re going to have to start disengaging emotionally from sentimental things. If they’re broken, trash them. If they’re ripped beyond repair, trash them. If they’ve got bleach spots, trash them. Whatever it is—dilapidated pillows, a broken lamp, a cracked mirror—it’s time to throw it all out once and for all!
STEP 3: LAUNDRY TIME!
Throw loose laundry in the wash. Start with whatever’s out and about and in need of a wash anyway. As you fold after it’s dry, you need to really consider each item. Is it what you want to keep for you or your husband? Is it outdated? Is it slightly too small? Is it slightly too big? Does it have imperfections? Make decisions as you fold and start parting with clothes that are less than ideal.
When you put the freshly washed clothes away, pull out everything else that wasn’t recently washed. Start with just one drawer at a time. Keep NOTHING that doesn’t fit. If your goal dress is 2+ years old, it needs to go. Fashion has changed and you need to go out and buy a new goal dress if you’re truly serious about losing weight. You need inspiration—not a reminder that you’ve let a decade pass without reaching your goals.
Other clothes that you need to either toss or donate would be anything you or your husband haven’t worn in a very long time. If you have no consistent interest in it or it just doesn’t make you feel attractive, it needs to go.
Also, don’t just bag these clothing items and tell yourself that you’ll take them to the Goodwill when you get a chance. Make it happen today. If you can’t go until tomorrow, bag them up and take them out to the car tonight so you can’t make any excuses tomorrow.
STEP 4: DON’T BOTHER WITH THE DETAILS JUST YET
Gather any and all papers into a bin and set aside. Gather any and all knick-knacks—whatever is small and random needs to go into a temporary miscellaneous container and set aside for later. Whatever you come across that takes too much thought, put it in a bin for later.
STEP 5: SURFACE TOPS
Clear off all surfaces. Set everything on the bed if you have to. Decide what will go on dressers, tabletops, and desks in a neat and appealing way—things you use, things that are attractive. You want to be very minimal by leaving space on surfaces, but also keep things pleasing to the eye.
Check out these helpful links as you declutter and organize your room’s surfaces:
When you’ve made your final decisions, it’s time to neatly put away the other items that you do not want set out or the work that you won’t get to just yet at the desk. Organize things in drawers and cubbies in a need-to-use-next order. Pens, paperclips, highlighters—all of these things need to have a place, not just set haphazardly on top of a surface.
STEP 6: NO JUNK DRAWERS or JUNK CLOSETS!
Do NOT make a clutter drawer! I repeat, no junk drawers! If you are having an issue decluttering miscellaneous items, then you need to go out and buy organization dividers, rubber bands, folders, filing systems. Do NOT just pile things in a drawer. As for closets, no. Closets are not secret mess-hiding caves. Coat closets are for coats and winter wear—maybe even a vacuum or broom. Bedroom closets are for shoes, clothes, and maybe a box or two full of memories. You don’t have to buy a closet organizer. You’re not made of money. But you’re certainly a class above junk drawers and junk closets!
STEP 7: NO TRIPS DOWN MEMORY LANE!
As you go about cleaning and organizing, don’t stop to reminisce. Don’t open yearbooks or that shoebox full of letters. Find a place for it in the closet or under the bed. You can wade through that emotional history as a reward later when the whole house is finished.
Bonus Step: REPEAT STEPS 1 Through 7!
These decluttering ideas don’t end there, but you are allowed a break! When your room, office, and master bedroom are all decluttered and cleaned, when everything has a place, when your floor is bare, your closet is organized, and you can finally relax and enjoy your own personal spaces, then you can give yourself a break and a small reward. When that break is over and a new day dawns, it’s time to start the declutter and organize process in another room.
Leave the children’s rooms for last because they’re just going to ruin your progress each day. Leave the heavily-trafficked rooms alone still. Everyone is going to mess up the living-room and the kitchen. It’s okay. Start in the bathrooms or the dining room or the laundry room next. After that, go for the kitchen, then the living-room. And, lastly, you can tackle the children’s bedrooms—or maybe they should! The very last thing on your list is the garage. Maybe your spouse can help? ;)
You can do this and when you do, your life and your entire outlook is going to be changed for the better. You’ll feel like a new woman! A clean, decluttered house will give you the peace you need when you’re handling naughty children or struggling through a hectic work week. Once all the decluttering is finished, you can enjoy life guilt-free and just maintain the home as it is! You can even take on new hobbies or crafts. You can feel like you have the right to a lazy day or the freedom to exercise without the stress of a dirty house. You will get a new lease on life just because everything’s put away and your house is running smoothly. Trust me. You need this. You can do this. Find your happy!
If you try my easy 7-step decluttering ideas to help you avoid feeling overwhelmed, please share your experience below. What other steps would you add? Are there any other methods you’ve personally used in your home? How do you keep your house decluttered?