Whether you’re spring cleaning, downsizing, or preparing to move, getting rid of your unnecessary personal belongings can be a big 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 difficult to find things, which can lead to stress.
Here are some tips to help you clean out 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, 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, spending all day working on this project can be overwhelming and frustrating. Consider spreading it out over several days or even a month or two. Lastly, by having the project on your calendar, it 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 emotion that may be present.
6. Create a sorting system. Before you start 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. A variety social media tools make it easy to promote items you want to sell. If you’ve never tried it, you’ll be amazed at the number of people you’ll reach.
9. Contact your local charities. If you don’t have donation organizations like Goodwill or St. Vincent DePaul nearby, contact local charities.
10. Research your disposal options. Moving items out of your home and into the garage with no place to go defeats your goal to declutter. 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 is going to happen so I have to be prepared. My wife often says, “Seriously, do you think you are ever going to 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 tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them; please share them in the box below.