Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Basics of Decluttering

People hear the word 'Declutter' and they daydream. But when it comes to execution - getting up and doing something - they freeze and freak out. I know, I've been there.

This is the mentality you should take when it comes to decluttering. There are a few things you should remember, a few cautionary notes and a simple guide on how to tackle a project - big or small.

Rule Number One: Do NOT get rid of ANYTHING
It sounds absolutely backwards to decluttering, I know. Here is the deal - you might go slow at first but when you finally get the decluttering bug and you get the wind in your hair you are going to throw things out left and right. Don't. My story: Buying pizza cutters three times. For whatever reason I kept thinking "I never use this thing" and throwing it out. Enter pizza night....where is that pizza cutter? Oh yeah, I chucked it the week before.

But what to do?
You need a designated "Declutter landing zone" (though it will be organized, we'll get to that later). A great place for this is a place you can easily forget. The basement, an attic, a spare bedroom, you get the idea. The idea is to box your declutter stuff up and set it aside. My rule is after 3 months if you haven't gone rifling through the boxes for it you really didn't need it. THEN you get rid of it however you decided to get rid of it - donate, gift or trash. (though I hope you didn't keep any real garbage :D)

Rule Number Two: Have a Plan
There are several ways you can approach decluttering but each requires a plan. Here are a few plans you can take into your decluttering adventure:

  • Addressing your Frustrations by Room
  • Decluttering an entire room in one swoop
  • Decluttering an entire house in a matter of a few weekends
Whatever plan you choose - you must have a plan. Otherwise, you are walking into a space that already overwhelms you and you'll end up just sitting in the midst and getting lost in all your things. I know, I've been there. 

Rule Number Three: Be Sure
Have you ever seen that TV Show about Extreme Hoarders? You can tell that some of them want the stuff gone and others are not at all interested in parting with their things. You will have to come to terms with what you love more - stuff or space. This is where the advice "Don't get ride of ANYTHING" comes in handy. Because your stuff is not really gone. It's still there, somewhere out of sight and out of mind, safe. It's only after you get comfortable in your *new to you* space that is free of clutter that you start to realize you can let things go. 

But don't do it for someone else. Do it because you're ready. Do it because you want a change.

Rule Number Four: Stop Clutter at the Source
The part that trips people up is the not always the getting rid of clutter - it's stopping clutter from taking over again. This is where clutter catch bins come in handy. And know that all clutter starts at your front door. YOU choose to let the clutter in. It's important to set up your entry way/ front door as a type of screening station for clutter.
 If you stop the clutter before it comes in - you have less stress and less to clean. It can't take over if you don't let it in to your home. Be vigilant and take no prisoners!

This are just a handful or rules - they may be updated as needed or as I recall them!!! Looking to declutter a particular space? Here is a list to take a look at:

We can try a room by room declutter plan! Follow along! (In progress please be patient)
  • Living room
  • Bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Dining room
  • Entryway
  • Closet
  • Bedroom
  • Craft room
  • Office
  • Kids' Rooms
  • Kids' Bathrooms
  • Garden
Organizing Your Declutter Landing Zone
There are three basic questions that you have to ask yourself each time you pick something up in your house:
  1. Do I know a Friend or Family member that will want/need/use this?
  2. Can I donate this?
  3. Can I throw this away?
These are the three categories you should be organizing your decluttering landing zone into. Trash, Donate, Gift - very easy. 

Beware the stalling tactic - if you won't see your friend for a long time, just donate it. If your friend is a potential hoarder - donate it. If you have to mail it to your friend but you're bad about getting to the post office - donate it. If your friend wouldn't want it - donate it. If your friend would throw it out - throw it out.

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