Stuck wondering where to start when decluttering home and living spaces? Check out three helpful methods that will put a tidy home in reach!
Do you ever stare at a cluttered room, wondering how to even being making sense of it? All the questions swirl in your mind:
- What should I get rid of?
- What needs to stay?
- I don’t want to toss something and later regret it– how can I be sure?
For example, we have a coffee table we really want to keep, but it doesn’t work in our current house.
My husband is in the military, so every few years we pack up and move to another location. Due to that, I’m not quick to dump stuff I might need in the future. It could work in the next house, and we like the style of the coffee table, so right now we have it sideways in a closet.
However, if I didn’t love the style, or we had seven other coffee tables (does anyone have seven coffee tables?) then I would dump it, 100%.
Decluttering Your Home: To Purge Or Not To Purge
On the other hand, recently I’ve gotten rid of a ton of kid clothes, picture frames, and a ton of baby items that were taking up too much real estate in the garage.
How can we make those kinds of decisions without worrying? How do we know what’s worth storing?
Here are three methods you can use to decide if you want to dump something or hang onto it. We all have our reasons for keeping things, but when you use the below methods, it becomes way easier to decide if you really DO need it or if you can let it go.
DECLUTTERING METHOD 1- How Many Do You Need?
This method is great for tackling a room or large area where you have many of the same item. This could be toys, clothes, sports equipment, or anything creating a crammed feeling and busting out of drawers.
- Start in one room or area and put together like items. For example, yo might choose the playroom, your bedroom, or one space like the hall closet. I’ll use jackets as an example.
- Gather like items: In my jacket example, you would bring all your jackets and coats from other parts of the house so you know how many you have., Gather them from your bedroom closet, the hall closet, the car, storage bins, and put them all together in one place. The place could be on your bed, in the middle of the living room, or wherever you can spread out and not have tiny feet and paws crawling all over them.
- Separate items into smaller categories: for Jackets, you could do a pile each of lighter dressy coats, heavy coats, a ski jackets, wind breakers, etc.
- Decide how many you really need. Once you see them all laid out, you might decide you don’t need a certain category at all anymore.
- For example, when we moved from Norfolk, Virginia to San Diego, California, we didn’t need heavy winter coats at all except when we traveled to see family. So they all ended up in the garage in a storage bin. If we had been staying in California forever, I might have sold or donated the coats.
- It’s up to you to decide how many you need. With them all laid out, you’ll easily notice if you have a ton of one kind. Do you have four windbreakers? Might want to sell or donate one or two. And maybe you could put the money toward those new farmhouse style pillows you’ve been wanting. Oh wait that’s what I’ve been wanting…
- Separate what you want to keep from what you want to donate, sell or pass on to a friend. Maybe your gal pal needs a wind breaker? It can be hard to let go of things, but consider this: is there one you never wear? That could be your best clue on what to get rid of.
- Another thought– could someone really use it? Think about those who’ve fallen on hard times. Sharing one of your many coats could mean someone else has a way to stay warm. Food for thought.
- Follow through with the purge and put those windbreakers for sale on craigslist, or deliver one to your friend at your next coffee date. (I feel like we can start having these again now!) Just get the extra out of your house– you will be so glad you did!
DECLUTTERING METHOD 2- Big Picture Room And Home Evaluation
Great for evaluating larger items like furniture and the function of your home.
Have you ever looked around your room and felt like the room needed something else in it? Or, like the room was cramped too tight and needed to be lightened up? Method 2 can help. Here’s what to do:
- Take stock of your rooms. Ask these questions:
- Do you have any out of place furniture?
- Is there Anything too bulky or causing an obstacle?
- Can you see anything that isn’t functioning well? What is taking up space but not serving a purpose? You might see a table that holds paperwork but doesn’t really need to be there, or an extra chair just “stored” out in the open.
- Could you replace those items with something more functional? For example, in our living room we have two small ottomans that have storage inside.
- Repurpose– Is there anywhere you could use a piece of furniture in another room, in another way? Sometimes you have to think outside the box.
- We have a bedside table we once used in our bedroom. Now it’s a side table in the front room.
- It can be easier to think outside the box when you’re moving in to a new place, because you’re already reimagining everything. But you can use that trick even when you’re not moving. I recently moved a small side table from where it sat doing nothing, to a place it provides some cute decor at the top of the stairs.
- Reimagine and create more open space
- Open space gives you more breathing room and creates a calming affect. Open space is also called white space in decorating. It helps your home feel less cluttered and chaotic.
- In our living room, I recently realized that it was super crammed with too much bulky furniture. I took out a medium sized book case and put it in our oldest daughter’s room, since she could really use it. I re-homed everything I’d had on that book shelf, and it left a nice clean empty space in our living room. It made our long L-shaped couch (which is already too big for the space) breath a bit easier and not be so crowded. It was a win-win and it didn’t cost a thing!
- Is there any item you can remove completely to create more white space? Do you have any decor or furniture simply taking up space? Consider removing it altogether.
DECLUTTERING METHOD 3- One Cupboard At A Time
This method is good for when you don’t have a lot of time, or you have small areas that have gathered clutter.
Sometimes you only have 5-20 minutes to start a project, and you don’t have time to take apart an entire room. Tackling one small area at a time is the perfect solution.
This has been my main type of decluttering lately. I’ve been going methodically around and tackling one small cupboard, counter, or shelf at at time. I’m trying to do every space before we move next summer.
Sometimes the project gets bigger and becomes two or three cupboards because they’re connected with like things, or — confession — I let the kids watch one more show so I can finish up.
Refreshing even a small area can help make your home feel so much more tidy!
Decluttering Home And Living Spaces Will Make A Huge Difference
Whichever method you choose, you’ll be well on your way to a decluttered home. And once you clean out the junk, you can take the next steps to add storage boxes, mini shelves, or other forms of organization.
One project on my to-do list is rearranging the cupboard beneath my bathroom sink. I need to replace my method for storage because the dollar store bins I purchased several years ago are breaking down and collapsing.
I’ve just been tossing stuff in and not dealing with the bins, so it’s a bit chaotic.
There’s always more to do, right? You can start with deciding how many you need of each item, or do a whole home evaluation. Or maybe you’re a bit slammed so you want to start doing one cupboard at a time.
Organization is a never-ending process but you can always make progress. You’ll benefit so much from the newly organized, refreshed and decluttered areas!
Which method will you try first?