My All Time Favourite Methods for Kicking Clutter to the Curb

All of us, from the super clean freaks to the people who are TLC’s Hoarders, have one thing in common; we all have too much stuff.  Even the neatest homes are sure to have unused body lotions piled in their bathroom closet or storage areas filled with forgotten junk.

Now is the perfect time to clear out the clutter! I am beyond tired of all this snow and cold and I’m counting down the days until spring arrives. Being trapped in my home means having more time to focus on my home, so now is the best time to pre-spring clean!

Decluttering your home is one of the easiest and fastest ways to improve your mood, not to mention the appearance of your home, as well as saving you precious time.  Less clutter means less time cleaning and less time looking for “lost” items!

So, let’s get started!  There are lots of methods for tackling clutter, but here are my favourite tried and tested, painless ways to declutter your life:

21 Item Toss:                        

Grab and bag and go around your home finding 21 Items that you longer need, use or want.  This could be anything from a piece of garbage on your counter to a sweater you no longer where. 21 items is just enough to make a difference, but not enough to be overwhelming.  Now, do this EVERYDAY until the clutter is gone!

Expiration Date:      

Many of us hold onto things “just in case we may need them someday”. These perceived useful and harmless items that we never use are stealing precious space from the stuff we do actually use.   Instead of making the decision to donate them now, instead box them up and put an “expiration date” on the outside of the box.  If, by chance, you do need the item in the next 6 months, you will know where it is.  If the expiration date comes and you haven’t opened the box, it will make donating it much, much easier.

Play the Zone:  

Make a list of the top seven areas you want decluttered, say your dining room table for instance, and vow to tackle one a day.  Make the “zones” manageable in size. If you want your entire office decluttered, choose “your desk” as one of the zones and “the pile on the floor” as another.  We often get overwhelmed with the size of the task in front of us, so we never start it at all.  “Playing the Zone” will chip away at your clutter  one small piece at a time until it is all gone.

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Give it a Home:           

Sometimes keeping your house clean can seem like an impossible task.  You spend hours cleaning everything up, but it never seems to stay that way!  If your stuff doesn’t have a proper “home” that the entire family can easily find, how can you expect it to get put away and stay there?  Shoving stuff in a closet, laundry basket or in a storage area is not cleaning up a mess, it is simply relocating it.  You need to first create “homes” for these homeless items, and that involves bins and baskets…lots of bins and baskets.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money, the dollar store is my go-to spot for storage solutions, but you can even use empty food containers and boxes as a home for your belongings!   Everything from the scissors to your loose change should have a home within your home.  And for the shared items, don’t forget to LABEL!  Bins should be easy to get to and have NO lids so items can literally just be tossed in.

labeled craft boxes

If It Won’t Fit, Make It Quit: 

I didn’t know what else to call this one…lol.  O.K. let’s get tough for a minute.  We all need to “bloom where we are planted”, meaning, make the best out of the home and space we have.  This means we have to make the hard choices on what we keep and what we do not.  If we just simply do not have the space to put everything in our home away properly, we need to make tough choices on what we can let go of.  Many people hold onto things they have no space for because “someday I’ll have a bigger home”, but while we are dreaming about that “someday”, our stuff is taking away from our today.  It doesn’t matter how much the item is worth or how nice the idea of having it is, if your not using it and you do not have room in your home for it, it has to go.   Do you really need that blender when you don’t have enough space for food in your kitchen?  Are all those half empty cleaning products in your closet really more important than your children’s toys that don’t have a home?  Make the tough decisions. Find homes for the thing you love and use often and let the leftovers that don’t fit go.

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Keep, Toss, Donate:  

These three simple words are like magic when it comes to tackling a big, messy area in your home.  Set up three boxes and label one for Keep, one for Toss and one for Donate.  As you pull things out of the pile, toss it into one of the boxes.  If you find your Keep pile is much bigger than your Donate, focus your effort on filling up the Donate bin a little bit more.  This painless and easy decluttering method is used by all of my favourite Professional Organizers,  including Peter Walsh!

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So clear out some clutter today! Feel the “Power of the Purge” as you lighten and brighten your home with each item you remove!

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