It’s that time of year again! In the spring, we all start thinking about making our homes cleaner, cozier places to live. Decluttering is a great way of improving your quality of life. An uncluttered home takes less time to clean and organize. That means less stress, and less time spent on chores over the year. Reducing clutter can also make it easier to control dust and other allergens, and that can make your home a healthier place to live!
As much as we want to live in clutter-free homes, doing the work of decluttering can be daunting. There’s so much to do, how do you know where to start? Luckily, our cleaning Pros know a thing or two about reducing clutter, and how to make a big job seem easy. Just follow their top 10 decluttering tips for your home this spring.
Tip 1: Define your goal
Before you start to declutter your house, decide what you want to get out of the project. Are you feeling constricted in your home? Is clutter driving you mad? Or do you just want to make your home easier to clean and maintain?
Setting a goal before starting work is helpful for deciding how extensive your decluttering needs to be. Although minimalism is all the rage right now, it might not be fashionable in a year or two. Don’t throw away something you’ll regret because you’re following a trend. It’s your home and your stuff. You have to live with (and without) it!
Tip 2: Get organized about decluttering
Once you know what you want to achieve when you get rid of clutter, you’ll find it easier to start work. Creating an “organize my house” checklist is a great way of turning a big task into smaller, more manageable parts. It also helps you to focus on the areas that matter most.
A great tip is to make sure everything in your home has a place. If it doesn’t have a place, it needs to go! It’s also a good idea to revisit this rule at the end of each decluttering task. If you think you’ve finished with your closet, but you’ve still got clothes that don’t fit, something else needs to move.
When you start to declutter a room, use four boxes for your possessions. One for trash, one to sell, one to donate, and one to keep. Sort through everything, place items in the right boxes, and then put what you’re keeping back where it belongs.
Pro Tip: Did your possessions get out of control? Don’t panic! Check out our decluttering tips for hoarders to learn how to tackle intensive cleaning.
Tip 3: Declutter in small steps
Decluttering your house room by room is a big project, but who says you have to do it all at once? If you’ve got five minutes to spare, clear the clutter off your coffee table. Take 20 minutes to address kitchen countertops, or ten to sort through junk mail. There’s always something you can do, even in just a few minutes. Working slowly also makes it less likely that you’ll burn out and give up.
Try to throw out or give away one item each day. You’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up! Another great way to declutter fast is to fill a trash bag to junk or donate. Set yourself a challenge to declutter a room in 30 minutes, just by filling a bag with things to throw away.
Pro Tip: Once you’ve finished decluttering, check out our tips for keeping your home clean all year round!
Tip 4: Avoid sunk cost fallacy
Sunk cost fallacy is a lie we tell ourselves that something is worthwhile because we’ve invested a lot in it. It doesn’t matter if an item of clothing was expensive if you never wear it. It’s just taking up space in your life, and worse — making you feel bad every time you look at it!
It will make you feel better in the long term to donate or sell the things you don’t use or wear. Even if they were expensive, even if other people would value them. If you’re not using it, why are you keeping it?
A good rule-of-thumb is to get rid of anything you haven’t used in the past year. This allows for seasonal usage, for example, winter boots or summer bedding. It also helps you to reevaluate why you’re not using the things you love. Wear the nice clothes. Use the good plates. Don’t put everything aside for a better occasion. Make each day an occasion!
You might find that a lot of your “clutter” comes from sentimental or entertainment possessions that aren’t in the most consumable format anymore. If you’ve got boxes of photos you don’t look at very often, digitize them instead. If you’ve got shelves of books collecting dust, purchase ebooks to replace them. Electronic movies, music, books can all help reduce clutter and make that content more convenient to access when you do want to use it.
Tip 5: Surfaces aren’t storage
Take a look at the flat surfaces around you. Coffee and dining tables, kitchen worktops, shelves, drawers, and more. How many of them have clutter on them? We all put things down meaning to move them later, only to find more and more stuff piling up there instead. Once you place one thing on a surface that doesn’t belong, it’s easy to add to it.
You can overcome this in several ways:
- Don’t put things down, put them away
- Don’t leave a room without taking something with you
- Give your level surfaces a purpose. Having something on the surface by design makes it less likely you’ll place other things there and forget about them
Another way to reduce the urge to clutter surfaces is to rethink your storage solutions. There are lots of places in the home that can be used for storage. Under your bed, between the fridge and cupboards, and so on. Some quick and easy storage ideas include:
- Putting shelves around each room near the ceiling
- Hanging a laundry hamper on the back of your bedroom door
- Storing folded bedsheets under the foot of your mattress
- Using drawer organizers in every room, not just the kitchen
- Putting your bed on risers to create more space underneath
You can also purchase lots of clever storage solutions, like beds with drawers, headboards with built-in storage, and pull-out shelves that make use of corner cabinets and vertical space.
Tip 6: Empty before organizing
Decluttering isn’t just about removing the things you don’t want. It’s also about making the most of your home and the possessions you keep. That means emptying your cupboards, pantry, and closet to get a real feel for how they should be organized. It’s also easier to declutter when you start with a big pile of everything and work through it methodically.
Think about how you use your space, what possessions need to be most accessible, and what you think looks good. Remember, this is your home, and you’re decluttering to make it a better place for your use.
Tip 7: Don’t overlook areas
When you think “decluttering,” you probably think about your bedroom, living room, and kitchen. But these aren’t the only rooms where clutter can accumulate! Remember to include your bathroom, basement, or attic to really get rid of all your clutter.
Your non-living spaces can also benefit from decluttering too. Declutter your garage, shed, porch, and more to ensure every area of your home is clutter-free.
Tip 8: Plan for the future
As you’re rearranging your belongings, think about how you’re going to use them. Putting your favorite coat at the front of your closet might look best, but it’s just going to be annoying if you’re always reaching past it for your everyday jeans and T-shirts.
When you do put an item on display, make it one you really love. Not only will you get the pleasure of looking at it, but you’ll be less likely to cover it with clutter in the future.
You know your own habits best, so counteract the bad ones in advance. If you always come in and drop your junk mail in the same spot, place a small trash can nearby so you can easily collect the junk and throw it away.
Tip 9: Reward progress
Decluttering can feel like an enormous task with very little reward. In the end, you get… a neat house. And that can be a bit deflating after putting in so much effort. Reward the progress you make by reminding yourself how far you’ve come. Take before and after photos so you can truly see the work you put in. Buy yourself takeout with the money you made from selling your old stuff, and take the time to enjoy and appreciate your new space.
Tip 10: Get help
No amount of decluttering hacks can make the task easy if you’re not one of the lucky people who enjoy cleaning and organizing. However, you can still make it easier for yourself with a little help. Try using distractions, like sorting through your kitchen while listening to music or an audiobook.
Alternatively, give a good friend a call and ask them to lend a hand. They can help you decide what you really want to keep, and what you’re just hanging on to because you feel like you should. Working with a friend is also a good way to start decluttering when you’re overwhelmed by how much you have to do.
If you really don’t want to deal with decluttering yourself, you can always call in the Pros. Professional cleaners can help you to organize your space and give you tips on the best ways to keep your home neat and clean. Getting advice and support from a neutral party is often the best way to tackle a job you aren’t looking forward to.
At Pro Housekeepers, our cleaning crews can tackle any amount of clutter. Get started with our decluttering tips, or give us a call to book your own cleaning Pro to help you get your house neat and clean this spring!