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Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions to “get organized” or declutter our homes each year. But why is it so hard to follow through? We definitely develop emotional attachments to our stuff and without some forethought, decluttering can quickly turn into a daunting project. It’s also easy to make excuses for why we didn’t get it done and let ourselves off the hook. So, start off on the right step in 2017 with our Top Ten Decluttering Ideas for your home and workspace. This is a great time to just say yes to less and get rid of the mess. In no particular order, here are some great decluttering tips:
Lianna George from By George Organizing says in her article, 4 Reasons Why Your Decluttering Isn’t Working, “When you declutter by yourself there is no accountability, no one to question your decisions (or lack of them). If you want to see real results that lead to a change in your clutter, you have to be willing to have someone work alongside you.” Makes a lot of sense. So, grab your spouse, your sister, your best friend, whomever you choose and get to work!
Make yourself daily goals. Start with smaller spaces and move on from there. If you get done with one area and feel motivated, tackle another early. But make your goals S.M.A.R.T. – specific, manageable, achievable, realistic and time-based. There is no sense in making a goal to clean out an entire garage alone on a Sunday afternoon while taking care of your infant and toddler too, so don’t set yourself up for failure. There are lots of month long “decluttering challenges” you can take part in to help you keep your goals S.M.A.R.T., just google it or look on Pinterest.
One thing I am guilty of, is keeping clothes that are in great shape but don’t fit or things my kids got as gifts that we couldn’t return and pile them up thinking I’ll consign them or sell them on eBay for some extra cash. Well I have a lot of piles and no extra cash. So, if it’s not complete junk, donate it. Otherwise, trash it.
Start with your workspace. Your desk can probably due with a little purge. According to LifeHack.org you should make cleaning off your desktop a #1 priority. ”Keep flat surfaces clear, and have an inbox for all incoming papers. When the papers come in, sort them each day – toss, delegate, do immediately, or file simply file all documents, but whatever you do, DO NOT KEEP THEM ON TOP OF YOUR DESK. All you want on the surface of your desk is your phone, computer, inbox, and maybe a special photo in addition to the documents you are working with at the moment.” - LifeHack.org
If you’ve been downloading pictures to share on social media over the holidays or have a lot of old files and emails clogging up your computer, it’s time to clean up. Use file storage solutions such as Dropbox to move pictures and files you need or really want to keep. Or use the iCloud if you’re a MAC user to store pics and music without slowing down your system. Windows users, check out OneDrive for a great way to keep your files organized without clogging up your desktop or your memory.
Leo from Zen Habits offers you 18 different 5 minute decluttering challenges to jumpstart the rebirth of your newly organized home. Just pick one, right now (seriously, right now). I like the idea to schedule a decluttering weekend and getting family on board so that it’s on your calendar and it’s easy to get everyone on board with enough notice. You probably have a lot of boxes you can use to sort your clutter from all those holiday gifts you ordered right now too!
Just because you assume your kids don’t play with xyz toy, don’t just throw it out. Keep them involved in the decluttering of their own areas but also be realistic and talk about it ahead of time. You know younger kids are going to have some emotional attachments and older kids are going to want to feel in control. You can make it a game like the STOP clutter game suggested on HGTV with younger kids. Just make sure you are ready to not back down. If you have older kids or teenagers, let them be involved but be clear that the clutter is going. They can help decide what they really need and want or they can just deal with your decisions. One way to really drive home the point that there’s just too much “stuff” is to dump it all out in one big pile for each kid or each room. It’s pretty mind blowing.
The bathroom can be an area that get easily overwhelming. If you have cabinets and drawers of stuff, empty them out. You probably don’t need three half empty bottles of shampoo and that great smelling bath scrub you never used from 2011 can probably go now. Work on organizing and simplifying your storage spaces and then get that vanity top cleaned off! Use small bins or drawer separators to keep things tidy.
If your kitchen cabinets or pantry have become a scary place you just don’t want to look at, it’s time! Check out this pantry decluttering checklist from Kristen at Chatelaine
Overall, you can declutter every month or even every day, but if you just keep buying more “stuff” you’ll never be done. With everything from tools to toys to clothes and home goods, go for quality over quantity.
Just remember as you begin your decluttering adventure, it’s not about perfection. It’s about making your home a place of peace and comfort and having rooms that work for you, not against you. If you’re making a New Year’s resolution to declutter your life and home, let us know your own tips below.