Decluttering your home is a big job. The best way to tackle it is to focus on a room, a space, or even a zone within a room (like your kitchen cabinets) at a time.
You don't need fancy tools to declutter your home, but you do need five baskets or bins:
- Put Away: For items that have crept out of their storage spaces. This could mean a coffee cup in the bathroom or a sweatshirt in the kitchen.
- Recycle: For items that need to be recycled like paper, plastic or glass.
- Fix/Mend: For items that need... further tinkering. Like a pair of shoes that you love that need to be cleaned.
- Trash: For items that are simply trash.
- Donate: For items that you can donate to a charitable organization or another person.
You can use bins, baskets or even just cardboard boxes for this task. You can bring these bins into each room as you declutter or leave them in a central place in your home while you work. The important thing is that you don't spend time searching for a bin to collect recycling while you're decluttering. Set these bins up before you begin.
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Start with your medicine cabinet. Take everything out and discard outdated medications, makeup and skincare. Put everything you're keeping back into the cabinet, storing the items you use most often at eye level.
Next move onto any drawers. Remove everything, do a quick evaluation of what you're keeping and what you're tossing. Put the items you're going to keep back into their drawers, and make sure to move the items you use most often into the top drawers.
Now do the same routine... with your shower/tub. Finally, pull everything out from below your bathroom sink and declutter the items there.
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First, make your bed. Start with your night stands and remove anything on them that doesn’t belong there and put it in your Put Away bin. This may include books you’ve already finished, broken eye glasses, pens and paper and mail. Throw out or recycle anything that you no longer use. Examples may be empty tissue boxes, pens that have gone dry or chargers that no longer work.
Do the same with the tops of your dressers, chests and/or bureaus. Pay careful attention to any clothing that is strewn... about. Anything that needs folding or hanging goes into the Put Away bin. If you're afraid it may wrinkle further, you can lay clothes down on your bed.
Go through each bureau drawer by drawer. Take everything out. Pull out anything that is no longer worn and put it in your donation bag or box. Fold and store everything you're keeping.
If you keep a desk or vanity table in your bedroom, tackle that next. Resist the urge to shove things back into drawers, instead, put them in your Put Away bin. Toss and recycle any garbage or anything you haven’t used in more than six months.
Return items to their proper places. Fold or hang and store any clothing. If you're thinking about your closet now, we'll tackle that next!
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Closet and Clothing
OK, deep breath. It’s time to tackle your closet. The easiest way to declutter your closet is to declutter your clothing by type. That means start with shoes, then boots, then dresses, then denim, etc.
It’s much easier to decide to toss or keep a pair of jeans if you’re looking at your entire jean collection at once. So start pulling out different types of clothing and decide what you'll toss and keep.
Once you’ve gone through each type of clothing, you will have four piles to deal with:
- Put... away anything that was in the wrong spot. Example: If you had a pair of socks in your closet, put them in your dresser.
- Put any dirty laundry into your hamper or bring to your laundry room.
- Anything that needs to be repaired should go to the tailor or dry cleaner.
- Donations and consignments go to a donation center or a consignment store (either online or brick and mortar).
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Entryways, Mudrooms and Foyers
You may not have a traditional mudroom or foyer, but you definitely have an entryway. No matter how small it is, the best way to make it most functional is to declutter it regularly. Start with any desk, console or side tables you have in your entry. Go through each drawer, removing the contents, and make a quick decision to toss or keep each item. Go over the tops of each desk or console as well. Do you have a space for your keys and other important items? Make sure everything is accessible and... not too crowded. This will make it easier to get out of the door with what you need in the morning.
The hall closet should be decluttered like any other closet: start with shoes and boots, then jackets, followed by accessories.
The entry is another area that picks up a lot of clutter from other rooms. Spend time putting away anything that made it's way to the entry that belongs in another part of your home.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Keeping your kitchen clutter-free can be a challenge. We tend to spend an awful lot of time in our kitchens cooking, eating and socializing. The kitchen has so many different types of items stored in it. You can choose to declutter your kitchen by focusing on one type of item at a time (cutting boards, glassware, utensils, bakeware) or going by zone.
The first step is to completely empty each space, assess each item, and put everything back in. Start with your powerhouse storage spaces first,... like your pantry and upper cabinets. Then move onto your lower cabinets, drawers and then the space under your kitchen sink. Finally, concentrate on your countertops. Try to move as many items as possible off of your countertops and into storage spaces. Keep only what you use every single day on your countertops.
Finally, take your Put Away bin and return anything that doesn't belong in the kitchen to its rightful storage space.
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The living room is one of the hardest rooms in your home to keep neat on a daily basis. That's because it gets a lot of use and living rooms don't usually offer a lot of storage. You may have some bookcases and a TV console, but they don’t hide much. The key is to:
- Decide on permanent storage spaces for commonly used items like remote controls, magazines and books
- Declutter this space regularly
Start with bookcases, console and side tables. Then move onto your coffee table and entertainment... center. Empty them, assess the items they store and then return them to their proper storage spaces. Put books away, action your mail, return remote controls to their proper places, fold blankets, etc.
Move onto electronics. Remove everything that is not connected to your television or home theater system. Are you using it? Does it work? Store items like chargers, gadgets and gaming equipment where you use them.
Finally, tackle the toys. Assess every toy for wear and tear. Does it still function? Do your kids still play with it? Recycle or store each toy.
Grab your Put Away bin and return everything that belongs in another room to its storage space.