One of the biggest areas of stress in many people’s lives is clutter; being surrounded by chaos all the time can really have an impact on your mental health, so figuring out how to declutter your house can be a big mood booster. I’ve certainly noticed this effect in myself; when my house gets completely cluttered I get frazzled. Really frazzled. I can actually feel the stress mounting when I look around and every horizontal surface I see, including the floor, has stuff piled up on it; school newsletters, mail, bills, keys, toys, crayons, puzzle pieces, pinecones (school project, don’t ask), bits and bobs and things I can’t even identify seem to find their way into my house and take residence on my counters, and I feel overwhelmed.
But I can also feel the almost Zen-like sense of peace and calmness that returns when I walk into a room and it is neat and organized.
The problem of course, is figuring out how to declutter your house and find a way to stay more in the second zone and out of the first zone. If you have kids, too, I’m betting you probably have the same problem, so I’ve put together this list of my five favourite decluttering strategies to help you out…
How to declutter your house: 5 chaos-busting strategies
Dedicate a time to decluttering. If your clutter is confined only to one particular area of your home, you can probably get away with dedicating a couple of hours to the task. If, like me, you’re looking at an entire house of clutter, you’re going to need to put aside more time for getting it done.
Break it down. If the idea of facing all that clutter head-on and figuring out how to declutter your house all at once is too overwhelming, then do it in small chunks instead of all at once. Break it down into smaller areas or time frames. For example, instead of fretting about having to deal with your whole house, just concentrate on one room, or even just one area of one room. When it’s done, take a break and go do something you enjoy before moving on to the next area. Likewise, if the idea of spending two hours decluttering your room seems impossible, set a kitchen timer for 15 or 20 minutes and concentrate on just decluttering your dresser. When the timer goes off, take a break before moving on to the next timed session.Decide quickly. Take everything out of the dresser, drawer, cabinet or desk that you’re working on and put it in a pile. Sort through each item and make a decision right away as to what you want to do with it: keep it, trash it, or give it away. Have three boxes or bags dedicated to each of these, and immediately put the item into one of these boxes once you’ve made your decision. Don’t put any items back in the main pile or you’ll be shuffling through them forever. Make your decision, then stick with it and move on, and you’ll find yourself getting through it faster than you thought. When you’re done, put the stuff from your “keep” box back where it goes, of course. There should be a lot more room for it now!
Create a just-in-case box. If you really can’t decide whether to keep or get rid of something, get yourself a special “just-in-case” box. Put all of the items that you’re not sure you need to keep, but don’t want to get rid of just yet, “just-in-case” you might need them again. When you’ve finished all your decluttering, close up this box and put it away. Odds are you’ll never use those things again, and if that’s the case, you can just get rid of the whole box next time you declutter.
Get organized. Figuring out how to declutter your house is one thing, but figuring out how to stay decluttered is another! Once you’ve gone through and decluttered all the areas of your home that need attention, it’s time to sit down and come up with a plan for staying organized. You want to devise a method for minimizing the accumulation of additional clutter. Do the kids need baskets that they can dump their toys into at the end of the day so you’re not tripping over them all the time? Do you need a filing system in your kitchen for all those school assignments, bills, invitations and other important papers? Come up with an organizational method that works for you and stick with it.
Once you’ve figured out how to declutter your house and done all your decluttering work, remember to take time out celebrate and reward yourself for your efforts and accomplishment! Treat yourself to your favourite ice cream, a night out without the kids, or just a nice long soak in a bubble bath.
Figuring out how to declutter your house doesn’t have to be overwhelming; taking the time to declutter your space, and having a plan when you tackle it will help you get through the task and make the process easier. And once it’s done, you’ll feel so much more relaxed and peaceful in your home! 🙂