Declutter your home. There’s no place like home. One of the best things about being at home is that we can take off the urban mask and be ourselves. A home is not just a place to live, but a place to relax, unwind and reflect, a place to which we are glad to return to after a busy day at work or even a long vacation.
It is important to keep our homes organized, clutter free, decorated and inviting because a disorganized and messy home causes needless stress that mars the atmosphere.
Generating a mess is a byproduct of life itself. No one wants to follow strict rules at home like we do in a hotel.
A bit of mess here are there is the norm, but when the clutter gets beyond what can be tidied up in five or ten minutes, it becomes a nightmare.
Jumbled up wardrobes, dirty clothes heaped on the floor, toys scattered all over the place and storage spaces filled with junk can create stress that ruins the relaxing atmosphere.
The untidy appearance of a disorganized home can take away your ability to think logically, waste time by making things hard to find and in general, put everyone at home in a bad mood.
In this article, we will be giving you easy and practical tips that will help you get declutter and get your home organized. Here are the three things that you can do to get a cluttered home back in shape:
- Get rid of things that you don’t want. You can sell or donate usable items, send useless items for recycling or just throw them away.
- Store things that are used occasionally so that they remain out of sight, but are easily accessible and easy to find when needed. The size of the home does not matter because you can make space for storage even in small homes. With a little imagination, unused spaces like the space under the bed or the sink, can be converted into useful storage areas.
- Decorate your home so that even tasks like doing the laundry become less boring and maybe a little more fun.
Here Are 10 Tips to Declutter Your Home:
1. Declutter Your Laundry Room
Take Out the Trash
Start by looking around your washer, dryer, and workspace at what should be thrown away. It is amazing how many things just never make it to the trash can. Throw away or recycle any broken hangers, empty detergent containers, expired and out-of-date laundry products, and damaged laundry hampers.
If you don’t have a trash can handy in the laundry room for dryer lint, pocket trash, and empty containers, now is a good time to add one. Remember, dryer lint filters should be emptied after every load to prevent fires and help clothes dry more quickly.
Declutter the Space
Why are there library books, garden tools, and basketballs on the dryer?
Unless your laundry area is a shared space, get rid of anything that should not be in the laundry room.
Even in a multifunctional room, the actual laundry work area should be kept clear of other items. This prevents clean clothes from being soiled, cross-contamination of food items and cleaning products, and leaves a workspace for specific laundry tasks like sorting soiled clothes and folding clean ones.
Is your laundry room white and lifeless? Bring it to life with some bright colors. You can even try adding some patterns and designs. Painting can easily be a do it yourself (DIY) job.
Make Sure That There is Enough Storage
Although laundry rooms are meant for storing, washing, drying and ironing clothes, many unrelated things tend to find their way into it. You will need lots of storage. Use the space wisely to build both covered and uncovered storage space. This will allow you to keep things ranging from tools to pet food, which can end up being stored in your laundry room.
Create a Laundry Room Pass-Through
A pass-through makes the laundry room easily accessible from other rooms or a passage. The more accessible the laundry bins, the greater the chances that dirty laundry will end up in them instead of landing on the bedroom floor or furniture.
2. Declutter Your Bedroom
How To Declutter Dresser Drawers
Pull everything out of your drawers and sort them: Any items you haven’t worn in the past year go into the donation bin. Next, look for anything that is stained or needs to be repaired. Put that into your to-do bin. Then get rid of your sad, holey socks and underwear. Ditch stockings with runs, and donate anything that doesn’t fit you as you are right now.
Now it’s time to fold everything and put it all away—which is hopefully easier now that you’ve gotten rid of so much. Use shoeboxes or other small containers to divide your drawers so clothes—especially socks and undies—stay neatly corralled. This makes it easier to maintain your new tidy lifestyle.
Declutter Your Closet
Closets tend to get cluttered because we can put anything in it and then shut the door to keep the problem from view. We will discuss closet organization in detail in another chapter. The method is essentially the same.
Take out everything, sort out the things that belong here and then keep them back neatly. Check the closet at least every two weeks to tackle clutter as it accumulates.
Declutter the Nightstand
A cluttered nightstand can be a nightmare. It’s hard to cope with clutter when you can see, but things can get trickier when you wake up from sleep in the dark. If your nightstand is cluttered and full of stuff, you are more likely to push your expensive gadget, glasses or a photo frame off it.
The top of your nightstand should only hold the things that you need at night, for example, a box to hold small jewelery like rings and earrings, a place or tray to keep your watch, mobile phone, etc., a reading lamp if you need one and a water bottle. Other things that you need occasionally can be kept in the drawers or shelfs.
3. Declutter Your Bathroom
Group Like Items
As you plow through each drawer and shelf, create piles with similarities so you can put them away methodically. Makeup, of course, will have its own section, and the rest should be easy to arrange, too (hair care products, body lotions, perfume).
And to keep toiletries from piling up, commit to a single item at a time.
“Half-used bottles and tubes become clutter in a hurry, so be disciplined—use and finish what’s already open before trying a new product,” urges Basher.
Do it Weekly
If you put it off, clutter will quickly accumulate and it will become a big job. Done once a week, it should not take more than half an hour to declutter if your bathroom is well organized.
Keep the Countertop Organized
Scan the drawers and other storage spaces for empty or leaking bottles and expired products. Fill or replace empty bottles. Wipe the countertop. Make a list of items that will need refilling soon so that you can add them to your shopping list if needed.
Move any Laundry Hanging in the Bathroom to the Hamper
Having a laundry hamper in or near the bathroom helps.
4. Declutter Your Closet
Start with a Blank Slate
First, pull everything out and put it in a pile. Before you start sorting and putting anything back in, give this space a good dusting. Vacuum the floor and get those corners. Throw out broken hangers and any other obvious garbage. Now step back and admire your empty closet for a moment.
Before you decide to keep something that has not been used for a long time, ask yourself or the owner some hard questions:
- Does it fit any longer?
- Even if it fits does the owner like it?
- Is it comfortable?
- If it was so good why was it not used for such a long time?
- When is it likely to be used again?
- Has it gone totally out of fashion?
Store Pairs Together
Things are easier if matching pair of gloves, socks, etc. are stored together. You can either tie them up loosely or use plastic clips to hold them together.
Identify Clothes that Need Mending or Alteration
Put them in a bag so that it can be fixed in one batch.
Keep Misplaced Things in their Proper Places
Remove pins, belts or other accessories left in garments. You can also check the pockets. Fold each garment properly and keep it in its place.
5. Declutter Your Living Room
Living rooms are usually better organized than other rooms at home. A disorganized or badly cluttered living room is an embarrassment when friends or visitors drop in and so we try our best to keep it presentable.
Like most rooms, the living room also has its clutter hotspots. They are places where things can be dropped off in a hurry, for example, a corner stool that tends to accumulate things like magazines, newspapers, coins or small toys.
Check the Entertainment Area
Cables behind the entertainment area tend to get cluttered. Fix any twisted cables and remove any cables that are no longer connected.
Return misplaced remotes to their proper places. If you have a remote that is not likely to be used for a long time, store them after removing the batteries.
Return books lying in other places to the bookshelf. Arrange them properly and make sure that each book is right side up with the bound end visible outside.
Make sure that books of the same size are together and individual volumes of multi-volume books are arranged in the correct sequence. Put old magazines, flyers, newspapers and catalogs into the clutter bag so that you can deal with them later.
Look for Stray Papers, Pillows and Blankets
Look for blankets and pillows lying around and return them to their proper places. Remove papers which might have fallen behind the furniture.
6. Declutter Your Kitchen Cabinet
Like all places at home, decluttering kitchen cabinets is easy if you do it regularly. If you haven’t done it for a long time, it will need a more intensive decluttering. Once you have done a thorough decluttering, you can easily keep the place in shape by doing a quick weekly clutter sweep.
You will need a bag to put in stuff that you have to get rid of or belongs elsewhere. You will also need a towel for dusting and cleaning. Tackle one cabinet at a time.
- Remove the things from the cabinet, including any dividers or other organizers.
- Wipe the empty cabinet and everything you took out of it. Return the dividers and organizers. Return items that belong in that shelf, taking care to keep each item properly. Put anything that belongs to another cabinet on the countertop. Anything that you should get rid of or should go elsewhere should be put into the bag.
Once you have gone through all the cabinets, return the useful items in the bag to their proper places. Put items for sale, donation and recycling into separate bags so that it can be taken care of later.
Weekly quick decluttering
You will once again need an empty bin or bag and a cleaning towel or rag. Go through one cabinet at a time starting from the top cabinets.
- Remove trash and put it in the bin. Wipe off any spills.
- Make sure everything is kept neatly. Put any misplaced item on the counter and then later return it to its proper place.
- If you find something that should not be stored in the kitchen, put it in the bag and later put it back in its right place.
Unused or Rarely Used Appliances
How many times have you picked up an appliance at an online store or an exhibition, but have hardly come around to using it. We all have a few of them lying around reminding us about the folly of impulse buying.
If you have not used something in years, maybe it’s time to sell or donate them. If you decide to keep something, pack it back in the original carton (if you still have it) and move them to the store room.
7. Declutter Your Garage
Take advantage of your garage’s natural structure, particularly if yours has a high ceiling or rafters. “The garage is ideal for vertical units and overhead storage, because so many items placed here only need to be accessed occasionally,” notes Basher.
Next, up, selecting cabinets and bins. “It’s helpful to install small cabinets for garden accessories and cleaners, and then a pegboard can be hung on one wall to accommodate yard tools and recreational items so they’re off the floor,” says Jacquie Denny, co-founder of Everything but the House.
Finally, take a hard look at your workbench. “A lot of ‘work’ is supposed to happen here, but if yours is very cluttered, it’s time to re-evaluate this space,” says J.B. Sassano, president of Mr. Handyman. Put up shelves, and put loose items on the pegboard so you can clear off the workbench and actually use it.
8. Declutter Your Attic
Sort, Sort, Sort
Start the process by clearing a path through the attic, if necessary, says Maeve Richmond, an organizing pro with Maeve’s Method. “You’ll need ample floor and work space in order to sort,” she says. Next up, divide and conquer.
“Start with three piles labeled ‘Save,’ ‘Toss,’ and ‘Donate,’ and then make trips to the curb or the car when ‘Toss’ and ‘Donate’ become sizable, so you have enough room to work,” says Basher. “Once you’re faced with the ‘Save’ pile, it’s time to make some big decisions about whether to purge more.”
Get the Right Bins
After you’ve sorted your piles and are left with what you’re keeping, you’ll need to choose the kind of shelving, boxes, and bins you’ll use for storage. Because of the extreme heat and cold in most attics, experts recommend heavy-duty plastic totes or bins made from high density polyethylene plastic. “It’s not advised to have loose items lying around an attic, so store as much as you possibly can inside the right bins,” says Basher.
Keep like items together and segment your attic so that each area has a category, such as holiday decor or porch cushions, he says. Be certain every bin is labeled on the front with a detailed description—not just “holiday.” For example, you might write “Xmas mantel lights,” “Front door wreath,” or “Christmas tree ornaments” on separate boxes, so that when you’re hunting in the attic for something, you won’t have to open several bins to find it.
9. Other Things You Might Want to Get Rid of or Keep When You Declutter
Boxes of photos
Throw out landscape shots. Pick three with people in them from each vacation or holiday. With the rest, pull out the great shots. Send the keepers to an online scanning service to store in the cloud, or make albums.
If you like it, use it. If you don’t, sell it through eBay. Be realistic, though. Not long ago, fine china commanded a nice price. But today’s consumers want fine tableware that’s safe in the microwave and the dishwasher.
Take high-end antiques to a local antiques dealer, who can take them to an auction house. Find out what the house’s take is upfront (typically 10 to 15 percent) as well as where it will place the starting bid.
10. Strategies to Reduce Clutter and Organize Your Home
Avoid Creating Clutter as Far as Possible
We do a number of activities every day. When you switch from one activity to another, spend a couple of minutes to put things used during the previous activity in their proper places. This is something that you must educate every family member to do, including the kids.
Use a Temporary Storage strategy for Clutter Prone Places
Some places at home are more prone to clutter like the side tables beside the bed, area next to the phone, home office desks, dining table, kitchen counter, etc.
These are empty spaces where it is convenient to put down anything in a hurry. As a result, bills and charge slips tend to accumulate on the work desk and mailers and flyers find their way on to the dining table or the space next to the telephone.
It may not be practical to go through all that stuff in a hurry and discard what is not needed. Instead, keep some baskets in a corner to store these things neatly for a while. This will hold the stuff until you have time to go through it. Do this at least once in a week.
Get Rid of Unnecessary Stuff
Junk has a tendency to accumulate until it fills up all available space and then spills into the living areas. This is the first stage and it makes you feel that you need more storage.
You have reached the next stage when junk fills up all the additional storage and there is no room left for more junk or more storage. This is the point when most people seriously start thinking about eliminating junk. Manage junk before it reaches stage one.