Introduction: 5 Tips for Decluttering Anything

About: I love to work with my hands. Mostly I knit and crochet but I have dabbled in all kinds of crafts. Making things makes me so happy! I love seeing something beautiful take shape in my hands. Also I love taking …

I am one of those people who has always been good at cleaning and decluttering. I can look at a huge pile of stuff and and say "I got this!" and jump right into sorting and decluttering.

But I know that there are a lot of people out there who really struggle with it. Some are just really good at procrastinating while others are intimidated by big jobs and have no idea where to start.

In this Instructable I want to share with you some of my decluttering tricks. Whether you are already an avid cleaner or hate the very thought of it I hope there will be something in this for you.

Step 1: Make a Plan

When getting ready to tackle a cluttered area a great place to start it to make a plan.

  • Divide your area into sections or steps and work on them one at a time.

This is very helpful especially if you have a huge mess and wonder how you will ever get it all clean. Little steps help you feel like you are accomplishing something instead of feeling overwhelmed by the whole project. After you finish each section congratulate yourself and take a short break.

Step 2: Time Rewards

This tip I like to call Time Rewards.

  • Pick an amount of time, for example say 5 minutes. Set a timer and start decluttering until the timer goes off. Then reset the timer and now you get to do whatever you want for the next 5 mins. Eat some ice cream, watch part of your favorite show, go outside and soak up some sun, whatever strikes your fancy. But as soon as the timer goes off, get back to work for another 5 mins. Repeat until done.

This is a great way to get started on jobs that just seems too big and overwhelming. Taking it little by little. Also I've found that this technique works really good with kids. Especially if you set the intervals to just a few minutes and have a fun reward waiting for them.

Step 3: Sorting

My third tip is Sorting.

Any time I declutter an area I always sort things into piles. It makes decluttering so much easier.

When I sort I like to have at least 4 piles:

Trash: anything that needs to be thrown out.

Keep: stuff you want to keep.

Give Away: anything in good condition but that you don't want or need.

Relocate: anything that is in the wrong place.

  • Pick up your first item and decide what pile it should go in. Then grab the next thing and sort it and keep going till everything is sorted.

  • Once you finish sorting everything it's time to go though your piles. Put all your keep stuff back where it goes. The trash piles gets thrown away. Collect your give away stuff and donate it to a charity or thrift store. Take your relocate pile and return those items to their proper place.

Another option for gently used items is to sell them online. There are quite a few places you can sell clothes online and I have had a lot of success selling all kinds of things on Facebook Marketplace.

Step 4: Deciding What to Keep

Do you find yourself unable to get rid of any of your stuff? Here's a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Have I used/worn it in the last year?

If not, consider giving it away. Chances are you'll have forgotten about it by next week.

  • Do I already own lots of these?

Do you really need 10 pairs of heels? Or 30 hats? Probably not. Try to collect all of your hats or shoes or whatever into one place. Once you see them all together you may be surprised how many you really have! Try to pick out a few of your least favorite items and give them away. I find that I need to ask myself this question every few months with my clothes.

  • Am I saving it for "just in case"?

Items we keep for "just in case" tend to sit and take up space. And lets face it, how many of those "just in case" items have you ever actually used? You probably wont even miss it when it's gone.

  • Am I keeping it because it's sentimental?

Sometimes we have things that came from or remind us of a loved one. It's okay to keep a few keepsakes but if have items you pack away in a box and forget about for 20 years maybe consider taking a picture of it and then donating it. You could even start a Keepsake Photo Album!

Step 5: Keeping It Neat

Finally you are all done sorting everything and you are ready to put it all away. Here are a few tips to help keep your space neat.

  • Use baskets or containers to organize smaller items. This will help keep things neat and there are tons of cute and stylish storage options out there.
  • Only keep out the necessities. To have an uncluttered space, only keeping out the bare minimum. Try to keep extra items hidden away in a closet or cabinet.
  • Make sure everything has a place. Then work on putting everything back in its place as soon as you are done using it. It may take some practice but it will save you a lot of time if you put things away as you go instead of letting it all pile up.
  • Any time that you buy a new item, clothes, shoes, whatever, find an old item to get rid of. That way you will not be collecting more things every time you go shopping, just replacing the older with something newer.

And that's it! I hope some of these tips are helpful and I wish you luck as you tackle that clutter!
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