5 Expert Tips On Decluttering Your Home Once And For All

Photo: getty
How To Declutter Your Home
Self

Visual clutter creates feelings of stress and chaos.

Learning how to declutter seems tedious, but it's an important skill to have in a messy home. Especially if you're stuck indoors most of the time now.

Clutter has an insidious way of sneaking into our homes. You clear a counter, turn around, and bam! There it is again! Something has made its way back onto that clear counter.

Getting rid of clutter is something all my clients want to accomplish for a variety of reasons.

RELATED: How To Decide What To Keep & What To Toss When Decluttering Your Home

When you declutter, you reduce stress.

Too much stuff piled around creates visual chaos, stressing us out even more.

Conversely, clutter-free spaces can be calming.

We are home all the time now. 

We used to be able to walk out the door and forget about the mess while we were out. Now, we rarely leave our homes.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our homes serve multiple purposes. They are where we do everything.

We used to spend less time in our homes and more time elsewhere. But, now, it's the opposite.

We spend almost all of our time in our homes and as little time as possible (unless you work outside your home) elsewhere.

For some people, homes are also a daycare, a school, and a summer camp.

Streamline your space.

Getting rid of clutter and concentrating on having only the things which support our lifestyle at home makes it easier for this place to be where we live, work, play, relax, and virtually socialize.

Sadly, there is no magic potion to get rid of the clutter and have it always stay away.

Clutter comes and goes. The trick is to recognize it when it comes in and then to know how to remove it.

There are two steps to this process:

  • Clear the clutter.
  • Put boundaries or rules in place to make it easier to get rid of when it reappears.

Here are 5 expert tips on decluttering your home, once and for all.

1. Open your eyes and pay attention.

This may sound silly. We walk around with our eyes open, but we don't always pay attention to the objects we see.

We grow so accustomed to our surroundings that we anticipate what we are going to see in certain places in our homes.

Open your eyes and pay attention to the things on the surfaces. Clutter gathers on flat surfaces.

RELATED: What Should You Do With Unwanted Gifts? A Guide To Decluttering Your Space

2. Don’t put it down put it away.

We often put things down on flat surfaces intending to deal with them or put them away later. "Later" is not a time.

When we tell ourselves we will do it later, we're giving ourselves permission to ignore it.

Get rid of clutter on flat surfaces by putting the book back on the shelf, the scissors away in the drawer, the clothes in the closet — the list goes on — right away.

3. Create a "pending" box.

One of the reasons clutter gathers is because we don’t know what to do with whatever is hanging around.

Take a small box and use it to contain those items. Plan to look in the box at least once a week and figure out what to do with the contents.

Limit yourself to one pending box and empty it as often as you can.

4. Have a "donate" box.

Often, things waiting to be donated are the things cluttering up our flat surfaces. So in addition to a pending box, have a donate box. 

Take clutter off of flat surfaces and put them in a donate box. When the box is full, take it to the donation site of your choice.

5. Continually re-evaluate what you keep.

Some people say clutter is the result of delayed decisions. We hang onto things that we aren’t using because we think we may want them someday.

Let me tell you that we don’t have a day called "someday." We have Monday through Sunday — no "someday."

So, if you’re telling yourself you may want this item someday, take a minute to re-evaluate that item. Ask yourself if you can replace it easily and if it is relatively inexpensive.

If the answer is "yes," donate the item. If the answer is "no," find a place to put it away.

As our habits change, the things we use that support those habits also change. We can call those things "clutter" because they no longer serve a purpose in our lives.

Instead of letting those things linger in cupboards and closets taking up valuable real estate, re-evaluate them.

If those things no longer support the way you're living your life, it's time to declutter and get rid of it so you can live your best and organized life.

RELATED: How To Create 'Sacred' Space At Home Where You Can Actually Relax

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer, and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane teaches busy people how to become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for maintaining order in their lives.

This article was originally published at DNQ Solutions. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Author
Expert