It’s that time of the year when we are all thinking about decluttering and organizing, but sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I can use all the decluttering and organizing tips, so I reached out to some other Knoxville Moms contributors to get some of their ideas.
Here are 10 decluttering tips to start the year:
1. Start with a plan. It’s hard to do anything without a plan and decluttering is no different. Make a list of areas you want to declutter and a schedule for when you will work on them. Then choose a day of the week, a certain time of day, or a certain amount of time each day to work on your list.
“Make a schedule, like declutter one closet (or kid’s bedroom) each Saturday, or something that works for you. Don’t try to do it all in a day.” – Audrey
2. Start in the area that bothers you most. Are you making your list of rooms to declutter and don’t know where to start? Look around and decide which room bothers you the most and start there. It could be the entryway, the kitchen, the living room, or your bedroom. I like to declutter all common areas first because that’s where I spend the most time and what people see when they come over to the house.
3. Take it one small step at a time. Looking at a whole project (or a whole house to declutter) can get overwhelming! Break each project down to small tasks and do one task from start to finish, including putting remaining items away and removing donations from the house. The longer decluttered items stay in the house, the more you will have to deal with later!
“I get really overwhelmed when I look at the whole project. I’ve started breaking it down to really small manageable projects. I sort what I’m keeping and the rest goes directly to my car and gets taken to the donation spot immediately.” – Jenny
4. Focus on surfaces. Clearing surfaces makes a big difference in decluttering. Remove everything from tables, counters, desktops, etc. and only add back essential items. Store everything else in drawers, hang on hooks, or donate!
5. Always have a donation box. As soon as you find items you no longer need, put them in the box. Some organizing experts even suggest keeping a donation box in each closet in the house. Just adding a little bit to the box at a time can really add up!
“Keep a donation box always. You can contribute as you realize items are no longer needed and then take to a donation center once a month.” – Missy
“I’m going to start a box and put it in the bonus room closet. My goal will be to add one item per day to the box. Just one thing per day should result in 30 items per month. If I add more, great, but if I tell myself to just pick one item, it’s a small thing that will add up over time.” – Rachel
6. Enlist help. Have your husband, a friend, or even older children help you with the decluttering process. It can be so helpful to have another set of eyes and hands to help you get rid of items you no longer use or need.
“Let your husband (or other trusted non-hoarder) empty your closets/ drawers, etc. When you go back to look over it, if you don’t notice what’s missing, you probably already forgot it existed and don’t need it.” – Mary Beth
“I ask my sister to come over once a year and make me get rid of stuff using tough love.” – Julia
7. Move! There’s nothing like moving to get you to really pare down your items, but even if you aren’t moving, you can declutter as if you were. Go through each room of the house with the lens of moving and get rid of anything you would not take with you or would not buy again.
“Move and then don’t unpack your boxes.” – Jenny
“Move overseas.” – Kara
8. Rotate toys. Kids’ toys can get out of control quickly, but a toy rotation can help keep things interesting.
“I do a toy rotation each week to minimize the clutter and keep things exciting.” – Angie
9. If you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it. There are exceptions to this rule (like the super cute sequin skirt hanging in my closet that I’m not ready to part with), but if something hasn’t been used in a year, it’s probably a good candidate for decluttering.
“I have tried to implement the rule (for most things) that if I haven’t used it in a year, it’s gone.” – Lauren
10. Save sentimental items for last. If you struggle with decluttering sentimental items, save those for last. There’s nothing like a trip down memory lane or the guilt of getting rid of an item to derail a decluttering project.