1. Set a declutter deadline
When our clients come to us for help on moving day preparation, one thing we often say here at Caddy is: “if it’s written, it gets done.” What this means is, if you are serious about decluttering your home, we encourage you to set a date and stick to it. In addition, incentivize yourself to follow through. Along with having a strict deadline, write something along the lines of, “Declutter House by March 1st.” Then, give yourself a reward for completing the task. “Reward: Steak dinner at [favorite restaurant].” This should be a fun and efficient process, not something you dread… so make a game out of it.
2. Start by making it worse.. Yes.. worse!
Your first step is to lay all your clothes together on the floor. Yes, all of them! You’ll make a huge mess, but it’ll allow you to see everything that you own. You’ll spot redundancies in your wardrobe and find all kinds of things you don’t actually need to keep. Afterwards, carefully organize what’s left. Move through all your possessions this way, starting with clothes, then books, “important” documents, and so on. It’ll look real bad at first, but it’ll feel real good real quick.
3. Apply the trash bag rule to your decluttering process
Before we get into the hardest part of the decluttering process (getting rid of actual belongings), you should first throw away the trash in your home. Now, we are using the word trash pretty loosely here.
Some things that we consider “trash” are: Magazines you’ve never read and don’t plan on reading, shoe boxes that have no purpose, dated electronic chargers and cords not being used, etc. These aren’t actual belongings, but rather stuff you’ve just never thrown away and probably don’t have any use for. Your goal here should be to fill at least one trash bag to the brim… and a good rule of thumb is that if you can’t do this you probably aren’t throwing enough trash away! To declutter your home, first start by decluttering the trash. It’s stuff that is much easier to let go of.
4. Keep any items that bring you joy
Letting go of things can be tough, so focus on what you want to keep. Identify and cherish the possessions that actively bring you joy, and get rid of the rest. If your hardback copy of Eat, Pray, Love doesn’t make you happy, maybe it will for someone else.
5. Keep the emotion, and not the gift
When it comes to gifts, it’s not so much the thought, but the emotion that counts. A successful present makes you feel loved, sure, but once that emotional gift is received, the object itself has done its job! There is no need for you to keep a graduation present from your Aunt Betty that’s over five years old. Just remember she loves you, then you are free to send that graduation snuggie to Goodwill ;)
6. Declutter.. divide.. and conquer
Declutter your home the same way you would tear off a band-aid: quickly. It’ll hurt less. As you are working to declutter your home, we recommend that you break it down by rooms and closets. In addition, give yourself a maximum 30 minutes to declutter each room or closet. Nothing good will come out of staring at your 27 pairs of shoes for two hours hoping that one will fall off the shelf as a sign. The quicker you declutter your home the less stressful it will be and the less it will hurt!
7. Seek to eliminate doubles, triples and quadruples of anything
This rule is pretty straightforward. It starts like this. Ask yourself how many pots and pans you own. What about iPhone chargers? Old laptops? TV’s? Electronics? Personal care items? Here’s a little secret: there is no reason for you to have three can openers and four hair dryers! Whether we realize it or not, over the years, we tend to accumulate so much stuff that much of it is the same stuff we already have. As you declutter your home and you come across doubles, triples and quadruples… don’t think twice.. just eliminate them from your sight by tossing them in the trash or donating them to a local charity.
8. Finish tasks
Humans are naturally bad multi-taskers. Because of this, if you start on five projects all at once, you will surely leave your home in worse shape than when you began. Don’t get halfway through organizing your clothes and then decide to move on to your books. Muscle through one project, and then focus on what’s next.
9. Sell, sell, and sell some more
Arguably the best part about decluttering your home is the money you can make as a result of it. You’ve heard of eBay and Facebook Marketplace, but never really got into it, and now is the perfect time. Before you start just letting go of your belongings, we recommend you set yourself a little goal.. An earnings goal for the things you will sell. Anytime you are struggling with saying goodbye to something, something that might seem like it still has some significant value, but doesn’t belong with you anymore, post it up on one of the resale sites and wait for those hits to start coming in… this will hopefully make things far less painful when giving up items. With sites like Ebay, Bonanza, Craigslist, eBid and Letgo… you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a new home for your lightly used goods.
Make room for fantastic orderly direction, and good luck!
Well done! You’ve made it to the end of this article which means you are serious about working to declutter your home. As you do so, remember what we mentioned towards the beginning of this article –– what would you grab if your house was on fire? While obviously, conditions aren’t this extreme, it definitely will get you thinking about which of your belongings matters most to you.