Sometimes decluttering seems like such a monumental task. Maybe you are wondering how to start decluttering when you are feeling overwhelmed by it all. Trust me. I have been there. You may be putting it off because you do not know where to start. If this is the case, read on to find out how to start decluttering.
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One way to start is to take the 30 day declutter challenge that you can find here. This is a great way to jumpstart your efforts and make significant progress in just 30 days. The idea of it is to spend only 15 minutes a day on a decluttering task. This is a great way to start if you feel like it is so much that you will never be able to do it all. Doing it in bite-size chunks will not feel so overwhelming.
After 30 days, you will be amazed at how much you have accomplished. You will also most likely have formed the habit of decluttering daily, so you will never again find yourself in the position of feeling so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to start. If you would like a more thorough discussion with many decluttering tips, you can find that here.
How to Start Decluttering When You are Overwhelmed
You can start in several ways, but the first thing you have to do is decide to do it. There are so many reasons why you should. Think about how you will feel once your space is clutter-free. Think of how much more productive you will be. Let’s face it clutter makes us anxious. Just think about how much calmer you will feel once your surroundings are free from clutter. You can read about 6 benefits of decluttering here. So start with the end in mind. Visualize how your home will look. Decide to start and stick to it. You can find tips for how to get motivated to clear the clutter here. Now on to the process.
1. Stop Bringing in New Items
The absolute first thing you must do is to stop bringing in new items to your home. You will never be able to be clutter-free if you are always bringing new stuff in. You can read about how to stop buying things you don’t need here. That will help you to put why you keep buying things into perspective. You may also want to try a no shopping challenge. It is a great way to put a hold on your spending and buying new things.
2. Go quickly through your home and throw away anything you don’t want or need.
Now, I realize this can be difficult because you may be thinking, “but I might need it someday.” The space that the item is taking up is not worth the slight chance you may need it again. However, some things like paper will not be as difficult to throw away if you no longer need it. If the papers contain sensitive information, you can shred them or burn them. Paper clutter is one of the most common types of clutter. We will talk about this in the next step.
3. Gather all of your papers and put them in one spot.
You may have several places throughout your home where papers tend to gather if you are like me. Whether it is mail or kids’ school work, or any other type of paper, go through your entire home and gather it all together. You do not need to go through it all at this time. For now, you are just getting it cleared out of the way to begin to see some progress.
You can put it all in a bin or a box and go through it some other time. If you later cannot find something that is an important paper, at least you will know it is in the bin where you put all of the papers. You will want to create a system, such as a mail station like this, for dealing with all of that paper, but you are just putting it all in one place for right now.
4. Now grab four boxes.
Go through each room of your home, putting all of your clutter into one of the three boxes. The first box will be for stuff that has a place in your home but is not where it belongs and needs to be put away. Put anything that is not where it belongs in this box. When the box is full or you are finished, you will then take the stuff and put it back where it belongs.
The second is for items you wish to donate, and the third is for things you want to throw away that you did not get rid of in step 2.
If you are having a hard time determining what should stay and what should go. Ask yourself these questions.
1. Do I use this item?
2. Do I like this item?
If the answer to either of these questions is yes, you can keep it, but if your answer is no, you have to ask yourself if you really need to hang onto this item. If it is something sentimental that you just can’t let go of, you can put it in the fourth box.
The fourth box is the box that will help you move quickly through your home to get rid of things so that you will not get stuck making difficult decisions. If you aren’t sure about an item, put it in the fourth box.
You will then place that fourth box in the attic, basement, garage, or somewhere out of the way. If you do not miss the items you put in this box after six months, you can safely get rid of them and feel better about your decision.
One caveat is that you should mark it on your calendar or planner that you will want to get rid of the box on that date. If you missed something and need it, you can always grab it out of the box. If you did not get it out of the box in six months, though, there is no reason to hold on to it.
Conclusion for how to start decluttering.
So there you have it. An easy way to get started when you don’t know where to start. You can find a more thorough discussion of how to declutter your home here. This is if you have some time to dedicate to getting your home decluttered. If you want to take baby steps and do a little at a time, you can try my absolute favorite method, which is to take the 30 day declutter challenge and do it 15 minutes at a time.
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