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Simple and Effective Ways to Declutter Your Home
You ever start doing your weekly house cleaning and just look around and say, “ why the f**k do we have so much stuff?” Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the American Dream, where we make impulse buys of “gotta have it” items and then a month or two down the road complain because it adds to the picking up stuff or cleaning. You officially have what many call clutter.
Did I mention the unnecessary stress and anxiety having a bunch of crap…? I mean clutter can cause? Trust me, I know, I grew up with a mom that is basically a hoarder. I’m willing to bet money you have heard or used the phrase,” don’t get rid of it, you might need it one day….”
The best part about that clutter is with a few easy and actionable habits, you too can be one your way to a clutter-free home and actually keep it that way. After some researching and looking around my own house, I have 10 habits you can start now and continue to do.
While it doesn’t get extremely detailed into every room, it is a good and easy enough jumpstart to help with home organization and giving off the clutter-less vibe. Let’s start with the easy stuff first.
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1. Mail Call!
Go through your mail as soon as you get it. Better yet grab it and go stand over your recycle bin because we all know that 80% of the mail is junk ads anyway. Although part of me is always tempted to send back random junk in those pre-paid envelopes.
Another simple way to cut down on the amount of mail in your mailbox is to sign up for electronic billing statements, online newsletters, or even online catalogs to your favorite stores.
2. Speaking of Paper…Avoid Paper Pile Up
Am I the only one who stashes all those instruction manuals in one drawer in the kitchen? I also have other papers in there as well, like take out menus. So you know for when I want to order Chinese AND read how to replace the hose on the back of my washer.
If you have a drawer like this, buy a simple binder with sheet protectors (unless you want to hole punch your things) and organize! I actually put all the manuals in one binder and put it in my office. As far as the take-out menus, school calendars, or phone lists, put them in one small ½ inch binder. Having them in a small binder looks a lot neater than having them plastered on the side of your fridge.
3. One Room At A Time
Cleaning ADD is a real thing…right? You start in the living room, go put something back in the bedroom room, then you begin cleaning THAT room and forget that you were in the living room. If you haven’t done this, then who are you? Why are you so perfect?!
Well, the same happens when we try to declutter a space. We tend to lose focus and move on to something else before the job actually gets done. Best advice is to start in one room and go one drawer at a time. Once you finish a small section, then move on. If you really need to, set a timer for a few minutes and don’t move on until the time is up.
4. One in One Out Rule
It’s fall which means all those cute sweaters and jackets are hitting the stores. But before you go on a shopping spree of this seasons trends, consider the practice of one in one out. Look through your closet or drawers, if you haven’t worn an item in months or heck more than a year, it’s safe to say that item can go to the sell or donate pile.
What I have done is I put the hangers facing outwards on the closest rack, when I wear an item the hanger gets placed back facing inwards. At the end of the year or sooner if you shop more often, any hanger that hasn’t been moved is something you either don’t wish to wear or it no longer fits. Those should be first on the get rid of pile.
The same rule should apply to shoes. While it isn’t necessary to keep up with the latest styles, there is also no point in taking up space with things you no longer wear. If you take care of your clothes, there are plenty of ways to sell them back, which means money for something updated or different.
5. What’s Under Your Sink?
Now would be a good time to look under your sink in the kitchen and bathrooms. Remove and toss anything that empty or expired. ****I should mention, don’t throw away any harsh chemicals or dump them down the sink! Properly dispose of them with your local waste management!***
Sometimes we have the habit of stacking up on so many different cleaners when no a days on or two all-purpose cleaners are sufficient enough. While you’re at it, you can start opting to replace old cleaners with newer ones that are not as harsh and more environmentally friendly!
I did a purge of the bathroom sinks a while back. I sadly found almost empty bottles of hairspray and other hair products in the back. Not to mention unused makeup samples or cosmetic bags. Sort through what you truly use often versus the hardly ever used. If you have old but still working curling irons, etc consider donating them to a high school with a cosmetology department.
6. Skip On Those Souvenir Cups
I can’t tell you how many silly cups I have ended up with over the years. Either from restaurants, movie theaters, or Disneyworld (which make great to go coffee mugs by the way). It got to the point where almost two shelves in the kitchen were plastic wear.
Hey, plastic cups are great for everyday use, but as a family of 3 do we really need 20 plastic cups? No way! Sort out the ones that have seen the dishwasher one too many times. Either recycle them, depending on the plastic type or toss em.
The best way to avoid this clutter is to avoid getting them in the first place. Same goes for anything souvenier really. I was guilty of any new place I went, I had to have a t-shirt and a few knick-knacks. I’ve been really good about being more selective now when I travel. I focus more on pictures and getting just one small knick-knack for my floating shelves.
7. Toy Roundup
Before holidays or birthdays, go through your kid’s toys. Sort the old, broken, unused into toss, sell, or donate piles. Get your kids in on this habit with you. Explain that if they want to play with new toys, they must choose a few to send off to another home so another child may play with it.
If your kid is turning 5, there is no point in keeping toys they had when they were infants. Also by practicing this habit with your children early on, it also teaches them to keep their rooms tidy and free of clutter. It will also aid in reducing stress and improving organization skills
8. Toss, Sell, or Donate!
Whenever you come across anything broke, ripped, worn out, or it no longer fits it is time to decide… Toss, Sell or Donate.
“I’ll fix it.” “It’s still in ok shape.” “I might wear it again after I lose weight.” Do these phrases sound familiar? Try to get out of this habit, because half the time we don’t fix it or when we do lose weight, we want to celebrate with updated outfits. (or at least I do!)
Do your home and sanity a favor, get rid of it! Don’t let things sit there worn or broke. Don’t stash them in a box in the garage or attic to never be seen of again. Just get rid of it.
I love when my neighborhood has their community garage sales. Sure I don’t make back top dollar on things, but its a great way to declutter on make back some money on items that have worn our their purpose in your home anyway.
And in my opinion, making back some money is better than none at all. Heck, as the day goes on, I discount things I sell even more because I just want it gone! The last garage sale I sold a big box of clothes for $5! Saved me the hassle of loading it in my car and hauling down to goodwill. I saw it as someone paid me $5 to remove one more box of clutter from my house.
9. Tour Your Home
Earlier I mentioned if you come across anything broken, worn, etc to part ways with it. Well its also a good idea to take a good look around your house. Figure out things you and your family need and use often and things you don’t.
Example, your family uses the Xbox one for games, Netflix, movies, but you also have the older Xbox consoles just sitting there. Unused taking up space. Again if you haven’t touched them in months, why keep them? If they still work, then sell them. There are many avenues to go about trying to get top dollar for them.
Do you have a bookshelf full of books? Sort through your absolute favorites and ditch the rest! I found that there are several websites that buy back books, especially cookbooks, history type books, and textbooks.
One site I like is bookscouter.com, I actually made $175 selling textbooks I had since college. The site is neat, you just scan the barcode with your phone and they pull up offers from different vendors.
Don’t forget step 3, one room at a time when doing this!
10. Get Family Involved
Ok so this last one isn’t really a declutter habit, but more of a cleaning habit. One that saves every mom a little sanity. Instill a 10-minute rule or heck even 5 minutes if you’re fast. The rule you set a time each night (before bedtime baths or after) to go around the house picking up things, not in their proper place.
As much as we try to clean up after we use something, it doesn’t always happen. Especially with kids or a husband…..am I right ladies? Don’t worry guys we love you, just not your socks on the floor.
The key is EVERYONE in the house lends a hand. I know a lot of times it ends up being the mom that goes around tidying up before bed, but if you make it a habit with the family, it saves you time. Not to mention teaching those good habits to your kids, yay!
What do you think of these 10 easy habits? Do you see yourself using them?
If you have any other good home keeping habits drop a line below!