Carmen Boles

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How to Efficiently De-Clutter Your Home

Since it is now spring cleaning time, you may be wondering how to do what many try to do ever year: de-clutter your house. You might be like me where you shove an item into a cabinet or drawer mumbling to yourself, “I’ll deal with that later.” That thought leaves me with a mess that is a burden to clean. Recently, I have come to detest the mess and decided I’m going to get rid of things I never use anymore. The only problem is: where do I even start? Well, after many articles, Youtube videos, and trial & error, I have come to a conclusion on how to de-clutter your home in the most efficient way possible.

Before you get started cleaning and reorganizing, you need to know that there are 5 different types of items among your clutter that you should delegate accordingly.

  1. Put Away: Items that can be put back into storage spaces. Ex: a stray coffee cup in your bedroom or a dirty shirt out of the hamper.
  2. Recycle: Items that ought to be recycled like paper, plastic, or glass.
  3. Fix/Mend/Repurpose: Items that you want to keep, but might need some work done or could be used elsewhere. Ex: Some old shoes you love that might just need some extra cleaning and care.
  4. Trash: Items that have no real purpose or worth to you that also cannot be donated. Hint: if you have to wonder if it’s trash or not, it’s probably trash.
  5. Donate: Items that you don’t use anymore, but they aren’t trash. Some old clothes or shoes you don’t love anymore can go in a bag to be sent to an organization to be given to someone wanting and/or needing those clothes.

For the different types of items in your clutter, I encourage you to bring a trash can around and a couple other bins (for donations, put away, and fix/mend/repurpose) that will help you sort everything later.

The Bathroom

In all bathrooms, go to the cabinets first. You’d be surprised how much junk you find in there! Delegate all items into one of the designated bins. This should be a quick decision; don’t dally wondering about whether this item is worth the cabinet space. If you have to think about the significance, it usually doesn’t have much.

Do the same thing with any medicine cabinet and drawers. After you’ve gotten through what’s hidden away, make your way to to the counter. Throw away any old/expired makeup items or any containers that are used up.

With all that extra space in your cabinets, you can put away items from your bathroom counter. Put away things you don’t usually use on a daily basis.

The bathroom is probably the easiest room you’re going to de-clutter, but once you finish and look at all your hard work, it will all feel worth it.

Bedrooms

While you might want to head for your messy bed-side tables, go for the hardest space to clean in your room first: the closets. The reason I say this is because the closet is usually where we put everything we avoid dealing with. Once you’re finished with the closets, the rest of your room will feel like a breeze!

Probably my number one tip when de-cluttering is focus on what you usually don’t see first. If you’re like me, you have the propensity to put things away and then just forget about them.

That is why cleaning out the closets first is so imperative. Like what we did in the cabinets in the bathroom, we’re cleaning out space for items that should go in the closet.

What I did is go to every closet in the house first. That way, I get the hardest space to clean out of the way. Then, once the closets are nice and clean, we’ll move on to the room itself. Clean out the drawers first, and then make your way to the tops of the bedside tables, the floor, or any other surface in your room.

Cleaning the rooms is a simple rinse and repeat: organize, throw away, recycle, mend, repeat. At times, it will feel like tedious and monotonous work, but we haven’t even begun on the arduous room: the kitchen.

Kitchen

Now, I know I said that the closets will be the most work, but the kitchen as a whole will take the most amount of time. If you’re like me, you have old glasses, mugs, and dinnerware that you save for a “special occasion”, but never end up using. Between the collection of mugs, decorative casserole dishes, and crystal glasses, how much of that do you really use? That question is the first step to decided what should stay and what should go.

For glass or crystal pieces, it is really your choice whether you want to donate or recycle the items. If something is chipped or cracked, I’d recommend you recycle them because the pieces may become more damaged in transit.

You can do the same thing with ceramic plates and mugs, but remember that ceramic is sometimes an item that can be mended. It is your decision whether or not you feel that fixing it will be worth the time and effort.

Keep in mind that you may want to buy newer dinnerware that can suit your kitchen style better than you have now. For example, I had these ceramic plates that was given to me a long time ago, but they had giant chickens on them! I recently renovated my kitchen, and those plates don’t match my style in the slightest. So, I sent them to Goodwill because they weren’t damaged at all!

Do the same thing that you did in all of the other rooms, but this time, it’s dinnerware and maybe some old cookie sheets that you just need to throw out.

The Repetition

At times, a deep clean and de-cluttering can seem repetitive because, as humans, we tend to accumulate…junk. Amid old business cards and finger-painting pictures the kids won’t let you throw away, de-cluttering your home may feel futile. Some of you may think, “Why should I do this if I’m just going to have to do it again in a couple months, or even every year?”

The way I have learned to efficiently de-clutter my home is certainly not the easiest system, but it should not be a colossal task that you try to take up every year; it should be a mindset.

Remember that advice I gave you? Where if you were looking at one of your items and you have to think about if it has any use or worth, it most likely doesn’t have much. That is a thought that should be in the back of your head every time you go to tidy something up!

Let’s say you’re cleaning up your bedroom (a while after you’ve de-cluttered, of course) and you come across a small gadget or some item that you never use anymore. Don’t think to yourself, “Well, I’ll deal with it later,” or “It will come in handy someday.” Because it most likely won’t.

Always keep that de-cluttering mindset! Even the smallest bit of de-cluttering can make a huge difference in the future. If you keep that mindset, spring cleaning time will come around next year and you will not have to do much as you would’ve!

We all know how hard spring cleaning can be, so why not make it easier on yourself? Happy cleaning!

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