Got Clutter? What exactly is it and how can you get rid of it?
Clutter is anything taking up space in your life that doesn’t add value. This is especially true at home where unused and unwanted items seem to pile up quickly. Cleaning out the clutter can actually give you some amazing benefits, such as decreasing stress, which helps you focus and be more productive, and can even help you maintain a better diet! Whether you’re decluttering before a move or getting ready to put items into storage units, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the task at hand, follow these three simple steps to help you get organized for good.
Step 1: Set Goals
Start with a plan. Take a look at all the areas in your home you would like to de-clutter and make a list. Prioritize the areas that frustrate you the most and are taking up the most time out of your life. The extra hours you gain back from organizing can help you get even more organization projects completed!
Go room by room in this declutter adventure, as you don’t want to turn the whole house upside down. If you are feeling overwhelmed, set a timer for just 15 minutes and commit to de-cluttering for just that amount of time. Pick a drawer or stack of papers. Once you get started and feel a sense of accomplishment, you’ll feel motivated to work on bigger projects or problem areas.
Step 2: Create a Sorting System
One of the popular methods, and easiest to utilize, is the Three Box System. If you plan to donate some items, you may want to create a fourth box. As you work on a particular space, try to make a quick decision as you sort every item into these categories:
All items you want to put back into the space you are working on go in the keep pile. Go ahead and remove everything from the space and clean it once it’s empty.
Get Rid of (or Donate)
Use a large trash bag or boxes and chuck everything you no longer want or use into one of these two categories. This can be a liberating experience. Choosing to donate items will make it emotionally easier to let go of things that may be of value to others but you don’t need. (See our blog post on creative ways to donate here.) More importantly, just because the items no longer have use for you, does not mean they have no use to anyone. Always try to donate what you can!
These may be items you want to save for later, aren’t currently using, or are only used for a certain season. Remember to prioritize your most accessible living spaces for the items you use frequently. Store extra items in the attic, garage or consider a self storage unit to maximize your storage space.
Step 3: Dispose, Store and Organize
Get Rid of Unwanted Items
Recycle all items that are eligible, and toss the rest. Immediately take your donation items to your chosen charity. This will keep you from second-guessing your decisions and reaching back into your pile for items you really don’t need.
Organize your Keep Items and Put Them Back
This is the time to visit a container store to find the best containers for all your items. Using a labeler can also be helpful for identifying items you can’t see at a glance.
Figure Out Where to Store the Rest
Once you’ve determined which items are worth keeping but you don’t need frequent access to, come up with a storage plan that works for you. Storing items in similarly sized plastic bins that stack easily can be a great way to maximize storage space. For long-term storage, never keep items in cardboard boxes where they can be easily damaged by heat, moisture or pests. Place items into bins of your choice and label them clearly so you can find them easily later. Try to store like items such as holiday decorations, keepsakes, or camping gear together in one location.
If you are short on storage space in your home, consider renting a self storage unit to help you stay organized. There are many options for storing your precious possessions, from climate controlled units for temperature sensitive items, to drive-up units with easy access any time you need it.