Here is my clearing clutter where to start guide. It includes creative ways to organize and declutter both your home and life. I hope you find these tips useful and you end up with a wonderful organized life.
If your surroundings are a cluttered disorganized mess, you can’t find things fast, and there is no space in your home, there will be no space in your mind to be creative. This can lead to anxiety.
The problem is, few people like to organize and clean, and it’s just so easy to procrastinate. However, don’t despair here are creative ways to declutter that you might want to try.
Set a Timer and Start Tidying
One of my top tips for decluttering is to set a timer and just get cracking on one small area of your home. Don’t obsess just choose a small area to concentrate on and just clean and declutter that.
For, example a sock drawer. Even 10 minutes could make a huge difference. Once you get started then you will be motivated to continue.
Anytime you need to turn on your microwave for a minute or more is time for decluttering. When a timer has been set, use that time to get rid of clutter in one drawer or one small cabinet.
When I first started out decluttering, organizing and cleaning my home I found following the Fly Lady gave me the best tips. Her method evolves around setting a timer and getting tasks done, in a systematic way that will result in your whole home becoming clean and tidy.
Fly Lady calls these baby steps. The Fly Lady reduces your anxiety by telling constantly telling you you are never behind.
Turn Up the Jam – Clean to Music
Anytime you want to clean up something, turn on some good loud dancing music. This is a great tip that will help you to tackle small tasks that you just don’t seem to get done.
It’s important to just choose small tasks that can be completed during the length of the song.
For example, you could grab a basket and run around the house, collecting things that don’t belong in each room and returning them where they go.
Here are some great songs to get you going.
Find Simple Storage Solutions for Cluttered Areas
If you know that each night you want to sit in your chair to read, watch TV, play games or whatever, set that area up to contain those items without looking cluttered.
Get a small decorative trash can, a little shelf to house the items, and it will look better and function more realistically.
I love the look of this woven magazine basket, that could sit neatly beside a chair, that would be perfect to hold all those items that tend to clutter up your living room spaces. Like magazines, TV remote control and knitting.
Set Up Zones in Your Home
Think of your home in zones. For example, in your living room, you may have a study zone, a game zone, a reading zone or whatever it is that you all do in that living room.
If you set up zones with the right equipment, it’s easier to keep the clutter down as it’s organized.
Prioritized Living has a great explanation of the value of creating zones in the home.
Deal with Paperwork Daily
Whenever I’m asked, “what is the best way to organize paperwork at home?”
Keeping on top of paperwork is one of those tasks that are quick and easy to do daily, yet if you let it go it can soon take over and cause anxiety.
My top tips are to set aside a few minutes every day to deal will all incoming paperwork.
- open all mail on the day it arrives, put envelopes and all junk mail in straight into the paper recycling bin.
- file paperwork that it is essential that you keep.
- set up as many direct debits as possible to pay bills, and switch to paperless billing.
- write checks to pay bills straight away and then put the envelope for posting near the front door so you can’t forget to post it.
- don’t have a spot for keeping paperwork, it will just become a heap of clutter that will overwhelm you.
- use your cell phone to take photographs of paperwork, the original can then often be discarded.
- if you see a coupon that you need cut it out straight away and keep this in a wallet (or something similar)
Early Bird Mum has some creative home paperwork organizing ideas.
Stop Buying New Stuff
After you have decluttered areas of your home and life. You need to come up with robust strategies to prevent clutter from invading again. One way is to be really aware of what you are buying.
There is only so much space in any home, you need to think about where new items will go. Do you really need the item? Here you need to think deeply about your wants and needs.
One great tip to follow if you must buy a new item, say for example a winter coat. If you buy something new, make the rule that you need to get rid of something at the same time.
So, if you buy a new shirt, it needs to replace an older shirt, especially if the one you’re buying is similar. The old shirt is then donated or gifted.
This way you can never become cluttered with unnecessary items.
Dispose of Unworn and Seasonal Clothing
If you have not worn clothing or used a seasonal item in a year, it’s highly likely that you are never going to use it. Get rid of it.
Even if you think you might use it in five years, it’s not worth it to keep it around taking up space.
My one exception is a collection of clothes we have for going on cruises. These are posh frocks and dinner jackets that are needed for formal dining.
After use, we make sure they are cleaned and stored well, so they are in pristine condition for the next cruise.
Use Containers and Organizers
In your drawers, in your cabinets, in your pantry, on your countertops, a lot of clutter collects very easily. This can be due to the lack of smaller storage units to contain the things.
If you use different types of containers that enable you to better see what you have, it helps. For, example a cutlery drawer organizer will keep that drawer neat and tidy.
Adding containers to your pantry for example (airtight plastic cereal containers)and then decanting the foods into them will always add more space.
How to organize a junk drawer using clear acrylic makeup boxes.
Memorialize Photos and Artwork
One way to deal with clutter is to think of new ways to store things. Old photo albums can be made to take smaller spaces by digitizing the files. Just make sure you have offline storage for the photographs using a service like google photos, and share the photos with family and friends.
A beautiful blanket you use for a couple of weeks in the winter can create an attractive wall hanging. Old artwork can be digitalized and turned into your screen saver for your TV, computer, or phone.
Learn Konmari Folding Methods
One of my top tips for clutter clearing is to follow the Marie Kondo method of tidying your home. Her advice is somewhat different to others as she clutters and organizes based on categories rather than areas.
For example, you might want to start with your T-shirt collection.
The way you would do this is to collect all your T-shirts and pile these up together and go through them discarding any that are no longer wanted. Also, you need to only keep those items that spark joy.
The remaining T-Shirts will then be folded neatly and stored in a drawer.
How can I Motivate Myself to Declutter?
I know how hard it can be to stay motivated when decluttering and organizing your home.
- make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do too much at once.
- set small achievable goals like cleaning out the under sink cupboard or organizing the sock drawer
- create a routine so the areas you have already decluttered stay tidy.
- use your imagination, think about how wonderful your life will be without all the clutter that is holding you back.
- try to get your children on board to keep their bedrooms tidy.
- small chunks of time like 10 – 15 minutes per day will help
- reward yourself once you have achieved either a daily or weekly goal.
Take Before and After Photographs
When I decluttered my home I loved to take photographs of before and after. I can remember decluttering my (extensive!) book collection. These books were then piled up on a bed, it was a shocking sight, but I took photographs.
I then went through the collection and kept those books that I really wanted. The rest were either sold or were donated. When I look back at the photographs, I can see how far I have come.
Discard or Give One item Away Every Day
This is a great challenge and it is something that anyone can do, even if you are feeling overwhelmed by clutter. All you need to do is choose one item a day that will leave your home for good.
These items can be thrown away, donated, sold or gifted to family or friends.
The goal here is to try to do this for 30 days in a row. I would make it a rule that these items actually leave the home there’s no point in doing this if you just create another heap of clutter.
I would find a box and put items to be donated in this but make sure it’s out of the house. For example in the car, a garage or shed.
But remember the challenge is not complete until the items have left your home completely. Don’t leave them in your car or garage.
Budgets are Sexy has a post on this decluttering method.
Take the 12-12-12 Challenge
An interesting way to deal with clutter is to take the 12-12-12 challenge. This is to find 12 items of the following categories. 12 items to throw away, 12 to donate, and 12 that you return to their rightful place.
Following this method, you can very quickly declutter and tidy 36 items.
Bask in your Clutter-Free Home
Clutter is a leading cause of anxiety according to several psychological studies. It makes sense because one way to free your mind from anxiety is to have more free time to just think without interruption.
You can’t do that if you’re wading through your clutter. See if any of these tips help you rid your life of clutter.
Next time, we’re going to look in more detail about how to declutter clothes.
To your success in decluttering!