6 Easy Steps to Declutter Your Home

There are not many tasks more daunting than going through your "stuff." When we set about weekly to clean our homes, we don't need to think too much--we can go on autopilot and quickly get the job done. But when we have to stop and think--assess each item's usefulness and relevance--progress can slow to a grinding halt. Even worse, the amount of "stuff" can sometimes be so overwhelming, we don't even know how or where to start.

Enter our tips to help declutter your home. Before heading into a busy holiday season, it makes sense to first take inventory of what you have and then purge your life of unneeded (and space-hogging) items. A home free of clutter helps our minds stay free of clutter!

1. Schedule yourself time.

You will need to set aside at least an hour of your time to address an area. When we feel rushed, we worry that we won't make good decisions, which can lead to making no decisions. To make significant progress, allow yourself the time to really consider each item in your "mess."

By the same token, don't try to do more than one area at a time. Purging your entire home in one weekend is a feat no one should undertake. Instead, break it up over time so that you are fresh each time you set out to evaluate an area. It may sound strange, but it takes a lot of energy and concentration to effectively declutter!

2. Eyes on the prize.

Take some time to think about the positive benefits of this task. Your goal may be to make your chaotic days run more smoothly. Or maybe you just really enjoy living in a home that looks like a magazine ad. No matter your goal, remember why you are undertaking this task and keep reminding yourself when you feel like throwing in the towel.

3. Have boxes/bins/bags ready to go before you start. 

You can name them whatever you want, but the idea is for everything to find it's way to one of these containers. "Keep," "sell," "garbage," "recycling" and "donate" are common destinations. It's also wise to have a container for items that belong somewhere else in the house. Do yourself a favor and avoid an "undecided" box. If you must though, pack these items away somewhere in your home and see if you ever need to open that box over the next 3 months. If not, it can probably go!

4. Take your clutter elsewhere. 

Sometimes you get so used to seeing a particular pile of "junk" sitting in a room that it seems to belong there. It's hard to evaluate objectively because it's just always been there. Taking it to a different room where it's out of place may be just what you need to see the mess with new eyes. So take that pile off the kitchen island, plop it into a laundry basket and sort it on the dining room table. Now you're seeing it for what it is, in a different environment.

5. Stop hanging onto broken (and other completely useless) items. 

If you pick up a broken, obsolete or completely random item and start your thought process with "I might be able to use this for..." -- just stop. Be realistic. Think about how long the item has been sitting there, and how long it will continue to sit there, unused. These items take up space and drain our energy. All together now...you don't need it!

6. Make decluttering a regular task. 

It goes without saying that small piles of clutter are easier to deal with than massive piles. Nip that tendency at the bud by keeping things in check. Set aside time to quickly declutter a small mess before it gets out of control. If you do it regularly, it will become a habit.