There a hundred reasons to declutter – and million ways to make it happen! Whether you are minimizing for fun or function, drastically downsizing, preparing to sell or just looking for a fresh spring start – decluttering is one BIG task that makes an even BIGGER impact. While it can be overwhelming, it can also be manageable with a few simple do’s and don’ts that will lead you to DONE.
#1: DO organize before you buy.
It can be tempting to hit the Container Store sale or the tupperware section of target and start parceling items into their bins before you even begin! BUT you might miss out on the important step of getting rid of un-needed possessions if you store them before you sort them! Plus, the best way to organize is to see how much you have of what and where it will go – then buy bins and boxes that fit the space and item type at hand.
#2: DO finish what you started.
It can be really easy to start the task of decluttering your closet and then deciding your bedroom needs a makeover! But like everything else in life, the key to success is one step at a time. Be sure to finish the project you started with; if other ideas for decluttering or designing come up along the way – make a list to get it off your mind and on the agenda for another day!
#3: DO try the 12-12-12 challenge, more than once!
We read about this one on ‘Becoming Minimalist’. Choose 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their proper home – that’s 36 items you’ve now taken care of! If you do that every day for a week, that is 252 items under your belt! Wanna go crazy and try it for 30 days…that’s 1,080 items you’ve powered through!
#1: DO NOT bite off more than you can chew.
When you decide where to start, be realistic about how long it will take. Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, that garage didn’t turn into a tornado overnight – and it will take more than an hour or two to fix it. Provide yourself an hourly estimate of how long decluttering one area will take. Pad 10-20% of that projected time for any unexpected surprises – and allow for small breaks to eat and clear your head. Nobody works well when they are hungry and overwhelmed!
#2: DO NOT expect perfection.
As much as we would all love our homes to look like the inside of Better Homes & Garden Magazine or The Pottery Barn; nobody actually lives like that. Don’t expect that once you declutter, you will have spotless shelves, sparkling countertops and empty closets. A home is made to live in – the goal should be that it works for you and makes you feel good, no matter how it compares to that dream home on HGTV.
#3: DO NOT get stuck in a box.
Try thinking outside the box when it comes to deciding what to sell or give-way. Instead of asking “Do I need it?”, try: “How much would I pay for this today?”, “When was the last time I enjoyed it?”, “What would I tell my best friend to do if it were hers?”. A little perspective goes a long way – even looking at something the next day might give you the answer you have been seeking.
If you need help decluttering for any reason at all – remember that we are always here to help! We’ll show up with an open mind, a tool box of tips and years of enthusiastic experience. Who knows…we might bring pizza too!
Helen & Julie