Every room in your home will have some kind of clutter or mess in it. That is just a fact of how people live and the way that we use our homes, especially when we live with other people who are just as likely to create a mess as we are. Every day, you will end up creating at least one piece of clutter, even if it is something as simple as a chair that you have moved or a piece of scrunched-up paper that didn’t quite reach your trash can. Eventually, though, you will start feeling like you need to clean it up.
When you are ready to start decluttering your home and freeing up more space, there are a lot of methods that you can rely on, but not all of them will work for every person. Here are some decluttering tips to help you get rid of every single item you don’t need without putting too much stress on yourself.
How to Approach Decluttering
The first thing to do when it is time to declutter your home is to get into the right mindset. There are plenty of professional organizer books and videos out there designed to go into the mentality of decluttering and how it is supposed to work, since being in the right headspace is one of the most important parts of cleaning up at all. Even though you can see clutter in your home and know that you are supposed to clean it up, many people just won’t, either because they do not have the right mental focus or because there are other things to distract them.
One of the biggest distractions you can find is entertainment, especially after a long workday. Video games, television shows, or books can easily tear you away from your decluttering projects, and even the best time management skills won’t save you from the draw of your entertainment center. To remove clutter, you need to be focused on the clutter itself.
It is also important to remember that clutter can affect your motivation. A messy room is likely to stay messy because you can’t build up the motivation to clean it, leading to a spiral of irritation over how dirty it looks. Once again, this can be solved with the right sort of mentality to keep you on the right track.
Small Decluttering Methods
Maybe your desk is full of clutter, or you have got a lot of items in your bedroom that you don’t need anymore. If you are the kind of person to hoard interesting things, letting go can seem difficult at first, but you don’t necessarily have to get rid of them permanently. Here are some ways to make use of your storage space and clean up a smaller area.
The first place to start, with a small, cluttered area is simple: put things away. The best way to make a room feel clutter-free is to put away all of the clutter, and doing this can be surprisingly effective as long as you don’t own far too many things to properly keep. Emptying your recycling bin trash bags and putting your home office items back in the corect containers can be the easiest way to make a space feel less frustrating and messy.
If that is not working, getting a few more storage solutions can help. A simple storage unit, such as a drawer cabinet or a shoe organizer, can sometimes the first step you need to make more space in your home.
Another topic used by many people, including professional organizer Marie Kondo, is to follow certain routines to the letter. For example, if you make sure that everything in a room has its proper place, you are much more likely to put things back, in the same way, every time. This could also be a routine like “give one thing away every day until your room feels clean” or “label each drawer with a purpose and only fill it with relevant items.”
Following a structure can be one of the things that many people find surprisingly effective, especially if it helps you let go of your natural tendency to keep everything you buy. Routines are good for decluttering your mind, but they can also do the same to your home. Within six months, you will usually find that the structure becomes second nature to you, and you will naturally want to keep things clean even without the routine in place anymore.
Having a set filing system for office space or closet space can also be a good option, especially when you are trying to counter clutter with the organization. This means getting rid of your junk drawer and using organizers to structure everything properly. Ideally, you want to know where all of your important possessions are at all times, especially if they might be needed for emergencies.
Get a Third Party
Another good way to declutter your home is to get the opinion of a friend or family member who doesn’t live there. They might be able to point out areas that could be decluttered which you missed – this can happen quite often in your own home, since you are around the mess all the time and might not see it as a mess anymore.
Having another person’s perspective of a space can also build the momentum you need to clean up an entire living room when you only started with a small table. When you declutter one item or area, you open yourself up to more ideas, and it can quickly spiral into a much bigger project that leaves your home looking neater and tidier than ever before.
When things can’t be solved by merely putting items back on a shelf, it can get much more serious. Usual decluttering tips like trying to follow a routine might not work if you are wanting to get rid of large pieces of furniture, since you have to actually arrange for the disposal to be possible, and it can often take an hour or two to properly get a larger piece of furniture out of your home.
Furniture is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to decluttering since there isn’t a simple way to just move it somewhere else. It can be a hassle to move even the most basic storage units in many homes since they are often full of items and generally heavy even when they are empty. Getting a large wardrobe or shelf unit down some stairs can be incredibly dangerous, too, and there is no guarantee that it will fit around every corner or doorway.
To fix this problem, you can always try taking the furniture apart. This is an excellent option for almost any large items, as well as some small ones like a medicine cabinet. Larger items like beds are even designed to make this easier since you are supposed to take the bed apart when moving it in or out of a home.
When trying to take something apart, see if you have the original instructions anywhere. This can make it much easier to be sure that you are doing it properly, but you don’t always need them, especially with simpler designs that don’t need much effort to take apart. Once a piece of furniture is in pieces, you can move it from place to place or choose to store it somewhere, meaning that you can get it out of that room reasonably easily.
However, on its own, this isn’t decluttering. You still own the item, and taking down storage units might even leave you with more mess since you don’t have as many shelves to use for holding smaller possessions. Because of this, you should always treat it as a first step, but not a solution to the problem.
Larger messes often include items that you are only keeping because of their value, whether it is an old toy or a fancy statue that you can’t let go of. However, getting rid of items like this can also make a massive difference to your decluttering efforts, especially if they are old gifts that you have been too timid or concerned to give away. Rather than just putting shiny things in a drawer for later, you can try to sell them – even if you don’t need the money, it gets rid of the item and makes sure that it is going to somebody else rather than being dumped in a landfill site somewhere.
There are plenty of ways to sell your old possessions. While the easiest would be offering them to friends and family members, it isn’t hard to set up an account on an online marketplace or go to local markets and try to sell items that way, especially if the items are old and worth a lot to certain collectors. This can be true of almost anything, from ornamental decorations to toys: somebody will pay you eventually.
The same principles for selling pre-owned items apply to this situation. For example, collector’s items that haven’t been used or opened will be worth a lot, and including unique charging cables or accessories with old electrical devices will increase the amount of money you can get for them. If you are lucky, you might not even need to stress about delivering them, and you don’t always have to meet up in person to make the transaction.
If you are not getting any offers or you are desperate to clean a room, then giving away household items is also a possibility. While it won’t earn you any hard cash, it is often the first choice of people who want to remove clutter without contributing to landfills or filling up a cupboard in their home. Many of the things you own can be valuable to the right person, even if they are useless to you, so passing them along to people who will actually use them can be an excellent way to solve two problems at once.
Some declutterers just want their clutter gone and gone fast. This often leads to them disposing of the items quickly and efficiently, usually by taking them to a recycling center, scrapyard, or trash dumping site to get rid of them for good. This is great for people who have no problem with letting go of their old possessions, and can be one of the more permanent methods of clearing space and removing clutter: while it can be seen as wasteful, it also ensures that you get rid of the items permanently.
In most cases, disposal can be treated like any other household chore, although you will often have to use a car or truck to transport the unwanted items. Gathering them up isn’t hard, since you can simply walk through your home and pick up everything that you don’t need, then throw it into your vehicle and go to throw it away.
Make sure you check the clutter you have gathered for items that you have mistakenly added to the pile since there isn’t usually a way to get them back once they are dumped (with a scrapyard being an exception most of the time). This is a very permanent type of declutter method, and you aren’t getting the things you dispose of back in one piece.
Remember that recycling and normal disposal aren’t the same and that not all items taken in one can be used in the other. Recycling centers have very strict rules on what can and can’t be recycled, so you might have to take certain items apart to get rid of non-recyclable materials before you can properly dispose of them.
Sometimes using your own vehicle isn’t enough. There are many cases where people need to dispose of a large number of their possessions, either because they are moving house or because they finally have enough money to replace all of them at once. It could also be because an entire room was damaged, such as a kitchen that caught fire or a front room that flooded. Either way, decluttering at this scale requires more than just some plastic bags.
One of the easiest ways to clear out any space, from a small laundry room to an entire floor of your house, is through disposal companies. These are freelance or contract groups that act as a declutterer for your home, helping you get rid of items in large amounts rather than leaving you to do it all yourself. This can be important for people with barely any technical skills (when appliances need to be removed) or not enough physical strength to move the items on their own.
Since these companies are contractors, they treat each home differently based on your needs. The last home might have needed them to simply carry items out to a dumpster, while your home might need them to take the items and dispose of them directly. Each company will have its own rules on what they can and can’t do while they declutter, so it is a good idea to ask each company what they offer before deciding to use one.
In general, a disposal company (or waste collection company) serves two purposes. The first is to declutter your property by removing any things you have said need to be removed, and the second is to aid in the disposal of those things. Even in a basic situation, a declutter company can rapidly clear space in your home, especially if they send multiple people to deal with clearing out an entire house.
If you want to make the job even faster, you can take apart any large things that can’t be pushed through your home doorways and hallways properly, such as beds. This allows them to easily take the individual parts outside without risking damage to your walls or other items in your home. The whole process works best when you treat it as a ‘reverse delivery,’ with all of the same tips still relevant in some way.
Another great way of decluttering a home is renting a dumpster or trash container. One of the best decluttering tips that you can follow is the idea of taking everything a step at a time, but renting dumpsters removes the need for you to focus on disposing of the items at all. When you rent a dumpster, you are generally given a set time and date for it to be picked up – this is the time that the company will arrive to dispose of everything inside it.
Because of this, you have a set amount of time to move all of your clutter into the dumpster. This may seem stressful, but it can often be a week or more before the pick-up date, so you can take your time with the process. For example, you might start with a laundry room on the first day, but leave the next room for the following day, then another room the day after that.
Dumpsters are an extremely efficient tool for declutter projects, as they don’t force you to take up space in your home or your vehicle. Instead, you can throw the unwanted items and scrap materials straight into the dumpster, then leave it for the company to deal with. This takes off a lot of the pressure while also opening up more space in your home, making the junk removal much easier overall.
You can ask about the specifics of each company’s dumpster renting process and rules by finding their email address and dropping a few questions in their inbox. If you can’t find their email address, then phone conversations or in-person meetings are also possible – the more you know about their limits (such as load size and restricted materials), the easier it becomes to work with them properly.
Other Decluttering Tips
While there are plenty of ways to declutter, sometimes by hand and sometimes by calling upon companies that have all rights reserved on a specific technique or piece of equipment, smaller tips can also be useful. Clutter comes in all shapes and sizes, so there isn’t a single way to solve everything, but little differences can easily build up to larger changes over time.
- Donate clothes that you don’t wear. This can clear up your wardrobe, making it look far less cluttered when you open it to take something out. Donated clothes often also go to people who really need them, whether they are given directly to friends or passed along to a charity.
- Throw away any expired products you happen to own. Many people will do this with food and drink, but rarely with medicine or moisturizers. Getting rid of outdated ones, especially ones that you have never had a reason to open or use, can clear up shelves and medicine cabinets without feeling like you are throwing away perfectly usable items.
- Sometimes, making more mess intentionally can motivate you to start cleaning it up. For example, if you start leaving clothes on your bed or chair rather than putting them in their normal places, you will eventually find it such a hassle that you will be obligated to put them away.
- Don’t be afraid to make a mess during your cleaning. If you want to tidy a shelf, take everything off it and place it on your bed or the floor, then sort through everything as you put it back. This makes it much harder to forget items or ignore things that are sitting at the back of the shelf, and also means that you will have to actively think about each and every item that you are picking back up.
- Leave empty space. While it can seem odd to leave a bookshelf unfilled or a wardrobe looking sparse, this actually makes them seem less cluttered. If you fill them to the brim, it can look like a lot more, even if the amount of items on display is still the same.
- Focus on visuals first and foremost. Clutter is mostly a visual element of a room, so you don’t need to throw everything away – sometimes, you just need to move your electronics, gadgets, spices, pens, collectibles, glass displays, and flowers to a different place to make more, look like less. Curtains or closed drawers have the advantage here since they can make items visually ‘disappear’ without taking them out of the room.