Okay, friend…. Are you ready to take action?
I know I am.
I am so ready to get rid of the clutter and I feel like the reason why I haven’t already done this to the extent that it needs to be done is because I don’t know where to start.
There is SO MUCH INFORMATION out there on tips and tricks for how to do this, but as I read through them all, none seemed to fit my life.
So I made my own plan and I hope it will work for you, too.
Want to know how the minimalists did it? Read this. They have a great plan if you have a good support system around you and feel like you can knock things out in a day. It's pretty intense and not for the faint of heart. If it were just me in an apartment, I could see where it could be totally do-able. But it certainly isn't for me in my current life stage.
Not. My. Life.
Most of our clutter actually lives in our garage because we really stopped unpacking just a few weeks after moving into our new home in January. We brought home a new dog and our other dog got injured at the same time, forcing us to keep our dogs separated and limiting our ability to move about our home freely as we nursed pup Luna back to health.
By the time we were able to begin tackling the garage once again, it was way too hot for that to be possible. For the past 5 months, it has been too hot to be in our garage more than a few minutes at a time without being drenched in sweat and ready to take a nap.
So, we made a plan to systematically go room-by-room in our home to de-clutter, ending with the garage. We hope to be ready to tackle the garage full-force by fall, when the temps will be perfect for spending a lot of time out there clearing it out and organizing it once and for all. Our goal is to have our entire home (including the garage) de-cluttered and organized by December 31, 2017.
Hold me to it, friend!
When it comes to clearing the physical clutter your house, it can be such a daunting task. Trust me, I’m there right now! The idea of sorting through all of your rooms filled with belongings, mementos, and memories can be so overwhelming that it’s easier to push it off for another time than to actually tackle the task. But in reality, this is one of those things that really doesn’t need to be a big ordeal. I’ve found that with a little planning, it’s actually possible to de-clutter your entire home in one weekend (or less)….
But personally, we will be stretching this out over the next 4 months (weather and real-life permitting).
A good de-cluttering gives your home the space it needs to b r e a t h e. Not to mention, it can be a very eye-opening experience. Often times we find that we don’t even use or need a lot of our possessions. So why are they sitting around our homes taking up space and collecting dust? If you give your house a good de-cluttering and limit what you bring back into it, your home will stay clean and clutter-free for a good long while!
So what do you think? Are you ready to de-clutter your own home? Read the steps and download my free de-cluttering planner below to follow along and help you get your home under control ASAP!
HOW TO DECLUTTER YOUR ENTIRE HOME
(AKA: the exact guide that I am using to purge my home of stuff)
1. MAKE A LIST
Make a list of the rooms in your house and estimate how much time you'll need to go through each room.
Some rooms, like bathrooms, might only take 30 minutes, while yours or your kid’s bedroom might be more on the 2 hours side. When making your list, you want to try to limit yourself to no more than 1-2 hours per room (at a time), that way you don’t lose focus and get sucked into side projects. ("Awww here’s a photo album from when you were a baby!" Cue falling down a rabbit hole and not making any progress for the rest of the day.)
When you limit your time in each room, you have to get down to business and make progress. It doesn’t give you time to reminisce about each and every object in your home. It forces you to make quick decisions. Because when you take the time to stop and think about every object, you can end up spending an entire day on ONE room, and you’ll find that there’s nothing to get rid of, because you’ve attached meaning to EVERY little object.
If you’re following along with my free de-cluttering planner, you’ll find a place to list your rooms and the time you’re going to spend on them in the very first section.
2. CREATE YOUR SCHEDULE
Once you’ve made a list of all the rooms in your house, block out a specific date and time you’ll be going through and de-cluttering them. When planning your de-cluttering sessions, don’t forget to leave some time for breaks. It also helps to save an extra hour or so at the end of the time-frame to tie up loose ends.
This is the second section of the free de-cluttering planner. Make a list of the date and time you’ll be de-cluttering each room.
3. GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES
To ensure your de-cluttering is successful, make sure you have a few trash bags and empty boxes nearby to fill up with things you’re getting rid of. I also recommend a timer of some sort. This can be a kitchen timer or even an app on your phone to keep track of when it’s time to move on to the next room. And, although it’s not necessary, putting on your favorite upbeat tunes while you’re de-cluttering can make this time seem less tedious and even a little fun!
4. SET YOUR TIMER
When the time comes to actually start de-cluttering, begin by setting a timer when you enter each room for the amount of time you set aside for working on that room. Make sure when the timer is up, you really stop for that day unless you really have the extra time to devote to it.
5. DECIDE WHAT STAYS AND WHAT GOES
Go through everything in the room and decide whether it stays or goes. Ask yourself these questions:
- Will I actually use this item in the near future?
- Does this item hold significant value to me, or have I just been holding onto it for no reason?
- Is this item in usable condition, or is it broken and worn beyond repair?
- Do I have the right amount of this item, or are there duplicates and more than I’ll ever use?
Put everything you’re getting rid of in a separate discard pile. Don’t waste time debating about it, just make a decision and move on. If you find yourself really stuck on an item and can’t decide whether or not to keep it, put it aside in a separate pile and keep going. When you’re finished going through all the rooms, you can go back and spend some time with your indecision pile. (Just make sure everything doesn’t end up in this pile!)
6. SORT YOUR DISCARD PILE INTO: TRASH/RECYCLE, SELL, AND DONATE
Every item placed in the discard pile should be sorted into trash/recycle, sell, and donate piles. Then when you’re finished de-cluttering, make sure that you actually get rid of the things you planned on getting rid of so they don’t end up back in your home. Throw away/recycle the things in your toss pile. Make a trip to a local charity or thrift store for the things you’re donating. Plan a yard sale or post the items you’re selling online. Don’t put this off, or you’ll find things might migrate from the discard pile back into the home.
You’ll find a space to write where you want to sell and donate your items in the third section of the free de-cluttering planner. It helps to figure out where you’ll be donating your items beforehand so you’re not sitting around looking at piles of stuff for weeks on end. You might want to do some research to see what items different charities accept. Some will even come pick up the stuff from your home, so you don’t need to make a trip!
7. CELEBRATE YOUR DECLUTTERED HOME!
Now that the hard work is over, take a minute to sit back and celebrate your accomplishment! A good home de-cluttering is good for the soul! Take some time to enjoy your favorite treat, and invite some friends over to relax and admire your freshly de-cluttered home. Who knows, they might even be interested in some of the things you’re getting rid of. That’s a win-win situation!
8. KEEP YOUR HOME DECLUTTERED!
Once your home is wonderfully de-cluttered, don’t undo all your hard work by bringing more stuff into it! Follow the golden rule: only bring things into your home that you actually need and will use. This will save you a lot of time, money, and frustration! If you find you’re still bringing a lot of things into the home, for every item that comes into the house, try to get rid of one item so you don’t end up with a lot of clutter all over again.
NO-BRAINER THINGS TO GET RID OF
Everything in your home should serve a purpose. If it’s no longer usable, there’s no point in keeping it in your house. Some things to get rid of include unused/worn/broken/expired:
- Toiletries & medications
- Kitchen appliances & gadgets
- Utensils & dish ware
- DVDs & games
- Random clutter & accessories
GETTING THE FAMILY ON BOARD
Okay, let’s be real here for a second. De-cluttering is hard. Getting rid of belongings can be difficult. You never know when you might find a need for the thing you’re getting rid of again. Suddenly everything has a memory or emotion attached to it, so you just can’t part with it.
I know how that goes! The second I hear the word “de-cluttering,” I form an emotional attachment to anything and everything within a one-mile radius, including items I haven’t worn in years. It can be hard to get your family to cooperate when it means that they might have to part with their belongings. These ideas might make it easier to de-clutter with kids (and husbands, or even YOU if you struggle with this sort of thing)
- Make a game of it. Create a competition, and give a reward to the person who can get rid of the most belongings. This is a fun way to stir up some friendly competition and get the de-cluttering done in record time!
- Create a reward for everyone to work towards. Ideally, this should be something non-material so you’re not bringing more things into your freshly de-cluttered house. Once the de-cluttering is finished, maybe a family sweet treat and bowling night, or a trip to a favorite amusement park is in your future?
- Give family members a “veto” box. Give everyone their own small veto box, and if there is something you want to get rid of that they absolutely cannot live without, it goes in the veto box and it gets to stay, no questions asked. But once the box is full, that’s it!
- Send your family outside of the house. Sometimes it’s easier to de-clutter without family members hovering over your shoulder and analyzing everything you touch. Sending the family out of the house on a day trip will allow you to de-clutter in peace and quiet!
MY PERSONAL LIST AND SCHEDULE:
* I think it is important to note that we decided to start with the easiest rooms and progress to the most challenging ones to keep our momentum going with this process. Our schedule will reflect this.
- Guest room done
- Hall closet done
- Guest bath done
- Solis’ room done
- Laundry room 9/14/2017
- Linen closet 9/15/2017
- Hall bathroom 9/17/2017
- Vicky’s room 9/22/2017
- Kitchen (incl. pantry) 10/8/2017
- Living room 10/11/2017
- My office 10/20/2017
- Backyard 10/22/2017
- Master Bedroom 10/26/2017
- Master bathroom 10/27/2017
- Master closet 10/31/2017
- Garage & loose ends 12/31/2017
Yes, this will be challenging, but I also feel like it is realistic for us.
We started on our de-cluttering journey last month and I am happy to report that we have already knocked the first 4 rooms off of our list! It feels so good to already have made some progress with de-cluttering! We already need to make a trip to donate items to a local charity and plan to make that trip this week.
Now that I have started this process I will tell you that if I hadn't taken the time to do all of the planning and reflection leading up to this, I really think that I would have quit by now. It feels so much less overwhelming to be crystal clear on the WHY behind what we are doing and to be working through the clutter in a systematic way. In the past when I haven't completed these steps first, I ended up just moving in circles, not completing any of the projects because I wasn't clear about what to do next or what my goal even was to be working toward.
So what do you think? Are you ready to give your home the de-cluttering it deserves? Less belongings mean less things to clean, organize, and put away all of the time. I don’t know about you, but that is a huge win in my book! I think you’ll discover that you won’t even miss the things you end up getting rid of. And who knows, you might even end up making a little money from the belongings you sell! (Another post on that soon…)
Will you be giving your home the de-cluttering it deserves? Let me know in the comments! I'd love to hear how this guide helps YOU to jump start your simple living journey!
*Did you miss the first Just Breathe blog post? Read it here.