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Eleven tips to declutter your home with ease

Posted by Scott Stueber, CPCU, CISR, AAI on Apr 17, 2018 9:00:00 AM

messy garageWhether you’re spring cleaning, downsizing, or preparing to move, getting rid of your unnecessary personal belongings can be a significant endeavor. If you’ve experienced a recent death in the family or you’re going through a divorce, the decluttering process can be even more stressful.

My parents have lived in their home for more than 40 years and went through this process a few years ago. As they progressed through different areas of their home, they found getting rid of “their junk” was therapeutic and a relief. Too much stuff or clutter in your home can make it challenging to find things, which can lead to stress.

Here are some tips to help you clean or declutter your home this spring.

1. Break your home into sections.

Depending on the size of your home and the items you’ve accumulated, this can be more than a day or weekend project. Prioritize and set completion dates for the different sections of your home you want to work on. This method won’t only help minimize feeling overwhelmed, but it’ll also provide a sense of accomplishment when you cross it off the list.

2. Put it on the calendar.

Look at your calendar and identify the days you want to work on this. Again, working all day on this project can be overwhelming and frustrating. Consider spreading it out over several days or even a month or two. Lastly, having the project on your calendar can help avoid procrastination.

3. Ask for help.

Consider asking friends and family members for help. Some extra sets of hands can speed up the process.

4. Make it fun.

If family and friends are helping, play their favorite music or turn on their favorite sports team. In addition, consider buying them lunch or making them dinner to show your appreciation. Celebrate your success!

5. Avoid open-ended questions.

Depending on the situation, getting rid of things can be emotional. By asking yes-no questions, decisions can be made more quickly, eliminating some of the emotions that may be present.

6. Create a sorting system.

Before taking items out of your closet or from under the bed, have a sorting system in place. Label plastic storage bins or boxes with “Keep,” “Toss,” or “Donate.”

7. Coordinate with a community rummage sale.

If your city or neighborhood has an annual rummage sale on a specified day or weekend, consider participating.

8. Use social media to sell items.

Various social media tools make it easy to promote items you want to sell. If you’ve never tried it, you’ll be amazed at how many people you’ll reach.

9. Contact your local charities.

Contact local charities if you don’t have donation organizations like Goodwill or St. Vincent DePaul nearby.

10. Research your disposal options.

Moving items out of your home and into the garage with no place to go defeats your goal of decluttering. Here are some disposal options to consider.

a. Can your items be placed in regular garbage collection?

b. Does your municipality allow you to arrange special curbside pickup?

c. Do you have a city drop-off yard? If so, find out how you access it, what can be disposed of there, and hours of operation.

d. Is there a company that provides at home dumpsters? If so, research how much it costs and how long you can have it.

11. Apply the 12-month rule.

If you haven’t used or worn something in the past year, does it make sense to keep it? I chuckle when it comes to this rule. I’ve struggled with weight my entire life. I have pants and shirts in many different sizes. I tend to keep them because I never know when the big weight loss or gain will happen, so I must be prepared. My wife often says, “Seriously, do you think you will ever wear that again?” After I ponder her question, the answer is usually “no.” If you don’t use it, lose it!

Do you have any suggestions or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you. Please share them in the box below.




Topics: Family Safety

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