11 Clearing Clutter Hacks
Too much stuff? Getting a bigger house or apartment is not the solution. Unclutter first; then organize. It’s so much quicker and easier to get organized when you have less stuff. If you aren’t using something and don’t have an immediate need for it, it’s just taking up valuable space—and making it difficult to find the things you do use and need. Schedule 15 minutes a day to unclutter your space. Even 5 minutes of concentrated effort is better than 0 minutes. Once you get started, you may decide to keep going for the full 15 minutes or longer.
Discover these simple yet effective tips to declutter your house fast and easy!
1. Start with the easy stuff—things that don’t require any decision-making on your part.
Grab a trash bag and start tossing in things that are clearly garbage: food wrappers, expired coupons and flyers, stretched-out socks, stained clothing, rusted kitchen utensils, broken items that have since been replaced. Keep going until that trash bag is full.
2. When uncluttering a shelf, drawer, cupboard, or closet, take everything out. Then put back only those things you love and use.
3. If you are saving something because you might need it someday, ask yourself, “Could I get another one pretty easily and inexpensively if I needed it someday?” If the answer is yes, let it go.
4. Can’t decide what to keep and what to toss? Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen if I decided to let this go?” If you can live with the consequences, you can live without the thing.
5. Pick a room—any room.
Now pick one drawer or shelf in that room, and start there. Remove everything from a single drawer or shelf and sort stuff into five piles:
1. Throw away
2. Put away
3. Give away
Throw the garbage away. Put away the stuff that belongs elsewhere. Bag or box your donations and anything you plan to sell. Put back only the keepers—those things that you are currently using or absolutely love and can’t live without.
6. Umbrella rule.
Do you find it difficult to make decisions? Create an umbrella rule about when to get rid of things. At what point are you most likely to be willing to part with something you no longer need or use? Six months? One year? Two years? Creating a personal decision-making rule now will eliminate the need to make lots of individual decisions later. Be honest about what you really need to keep.
7. Move out of your living space anything you aren’t using but can’t bring yourself to let go of. Box it up. Write on the box what’s inside, and date it. If you haven’t needed anything in that box six months or a year from now, donate the whole box.
8. Establish limits on things like plastic shopping bags (20 is probably plenty), margarine tubs and yogurt containers (how many do you really need?), rags (only what will fit in a tote bag or bucket), and recycled computer paper (only what fits in a paper tray). Decide in advance what is a reasonable amount to have at any one time. Recycle the excess.
9. Aim to surround yourself with beautiful and useful things. Give yourself permission to let go of the rest. It’s just taking up space and weighing you down.
10. Turn clutter into cash by:
Having a garage or yard sale. Advertising big-ticket items. Selling items on consignment. Selling to a secondhand store. Selling online.
11. Move special-occasion clothes and accessories to one end of your closet to make it easier to get to everyday clothes. Starting at one end of your closet, work your way across and remove any items you haven’t worn in the last year. If you haven’t worn them in the past year, you are not likely to wear them in the coming year. Donate them now rather than later, and enjoy the extra space in your closet. Keep in your everyday closet and drawers only those clothes that fit you. Remove anything you don’t wear because it doesn’t look or feel good on you.