I. Hate. Clutter. There is nothing worse than walking into my house when it is messy. My blood pressure rises, and I just feel yucky. I am one of the weird freaks that actually enjoys cleaning and getting rid of things. If the new year has you inspired to organize and declutter your life, then come along, lets do it together! While I’ll be showing you how to clean out a closet, you can really apply these tips to any part of your home. Happy organizing!
This is especially important if you are not a seasoned organizer or if you are easily discouraged. For the sake of this post, I chose the teeniest tiniest closet in our teeny tiny house. The whole project took about 40 minutes (or two episodes of Friends, if you want to be exact…). Don’t even feel like you have to do a whole room at a time. If you want to tackle just one cabinet in the kitchen or drawer in your bathroom, that’s great! Once you see the change that you’ve created, you’ll be on a role!
2. Take Everything Out
This is the most important step, and there can be absolutely no cheating. Guys, its psychological. I know, I know, it creates such a mess, but if you’re serious about getting rid of stuff, you need to get it out so you can see what you’re working with. Once you’ve removed the items from the space, it is easier to let things go than it is to go to the effort of putting them all back in. See what we did there?!
Yikes. This was a super necessary step in this closet. The floor needed vacuumed and the shelves needed some serious dusting. Its also a good idea to make sure all the items going in the “keep” pile are clean too. Speaking of “Keep” piles…
You’ll find a lot of debate from the experts on what categories are essential, but these are the ones that I use and find most helpful.
- Trash Pile-Grab a big ol’ trash bag and don’t be afraid to use it
- Donate Pile-For things you don’t want or need, but that are too nice for the Trash pile
- Keep Pile-Self explanatory. This pile is for things that will be going right back in to the closet/drawer/etc.
- Elsewhere Pile-This sub-category is for items you are keeping, but need to find a different home (ie. the bridesmaid dress I found in our winter coat closet)
- Maybe Pile (optional)-This pile is for beginners or those with commitment issues. All the items you just aren’t sure about go here. Put them in a box out of sight for one month. After one month, if there’s an item you still want (and can name it without looking in the box) you can keep it. Anything else gets moved to the Donate pile.
5. Put Away
Now for the fun part. You can systematically put away everything in the “keep” pile. Not only is the closet decluttered, this is your chance to really get things organized in a way that makes sense to you. The best part is, you are starting from scratch (because you took everything out, right?) and don’t have to sift through things you don’t want!
6. Do it Again
The key to being successful at decluttering and organizing is to do it cyclically. I like to do a huge declutter of the rooms in my house at least once a year. Places like closets and bathrooms that are prone to collecting things get decluttered every 6 months. This is a much more gentle approach than purging your entire house in a single day, but there is usually less regret. Tackle one declutter project every week or two, so you are always refreshing and making sure the clutter doesn’t build up again.
Well, that certainly makes me feel better. The best part is, it only took about 40 minutes. Remember, starting somewhere is better than starting nowhere!