If you’re serious about decluttering your home, the best place to start is with a plan. Before you start emptying your closets, set out your goals, and your schedule, and figure out what you’re going to tackle first.
So, grab your favorite beverage and get comfortable as we talk about making a plan to tackle your clutter once and for all.
“By failing to plan,
you are preparing to fail. “
– Benjamin Franklin –
1. Identify your Priorities
The first thing you need to do to craft your declutter plan is to figure out your priorities for decluttering. Start with the Big Picture – how do you want your house to look. Keep that picture in your mind as you decide which room you’ll declutter first, then which corner of that room, then which shelf/drawer etc. (to the smallest detail).
Continue making a detailed list for every room you will declutter.
Focusing on exactly what you want to accomplish and how you’ll go about it, will make the process easier.
2. Set a Reasonable Timeline Goal
Set a timeline goal for each space. What is a reasonable amount of time for you to completely declutter the first room from your Priority list? Then, the next room, etc.
Keep in mind that you may not be able to do everything you want right away.
For instance, if there’s a heavy piece of furniture that you want to gift to someone, but you need help to move it. Write down which item it is, and who you need to contact to get it gone…and exactly when you’re going to arrange for that to happen.
It’s OK to set both short and long-term goals.
3. Make Ground Rules
As you’re working on your decluttering plan, you need to set rules such as:
- Don’t move on to another room or area until the first one is finished;
- Don’t “stuff shuffle” i.e. just move things from one room to another;
- Don’t overschedule yourself;
- DO celebrate at the end of each day of decluttering.
Setting realistic rules will reduce overwhelm and guarantee your success!
4. Create a Schedule
Get out your calendar and schedule in every area you’re going to declutter, and the allotted time to work on it.
If your schedule only allows 15 minutes to work on decluttering one day, then 15 minutes it is! (BTW, you can get A LOT done in 15 minutes, if you have a plan!)
Make a commitment to yourself to keep to your schedule – it’s that important!
5. One Room / Space at a Time
When you create your schedule don’t overextend yourself.
Choose just one room or one space to work on at a time.
If all you have time to do on a particular day is to clean off the kitchen counter. That’s okay!
Being realistic about your plan is the key to your success.
6. Set up a Temporary Holding Area
Get at least three boxes and label them: “trash”, “move”, “donate”. Some people like a fourth box, “sell”.
“Trash” and “Donate” are self-explanatory, “Move” means that the item belongs in a different room.
Ideally, once you fill up a box, you will take it to where it needs to go, but at the very least, take the “Trash” and “Donate” boxes out of your house. A spot in your garage or back porch works well.
Keeping the full boxes out of sight will help make sure the stuff doesn’t return.
7. Prepare Yourself to Let Go
This has been discussed in previous blogs because it’s so important!
When you declutter a room, you have to let go, mentally, of the perceived value of the object.
Allow yourself to forget about the money you’ve spent and now think of the money you’re going to save because you aren’t going to buy more stuff you don’t need to clutter up your home again.
Also, think about the valuable real estate the clutter is taking up in your home.
8. Develop Clutter-Free Habits
Before you declutter even one room, start developing clutter-free habits. A few good rules to start with are:
- Only touch the mail once. Once you pick up the mail, stand over the garbage while you sort it.
- Inventory and organize what you have, so you don’t buy duplicates.
- Toss things the moment you don’t need them and stop buying things without a plan for its use.
Good habits will ensure your long term success with a clutter-free home.
Decluttering can be an overwhelming task, but with the right plan and a bit of dedication, it’s possible to achieve great results. With a smart strategy, you can maximize your decluttering efforts and produce a clean, organized living space that you and your family will enjoy for years.
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- If you would like more information about decluttering, here is an article that may interest you: 12 Signs that it Might be Time to Declutter