Okay, so maybe you’re not ready to take on your entire house—it can a lot—and when you’re thinking about decluttering and you look around and feel every room in your house needs help, you might find yourself so overwhelmed you don’t declutter anything and give up before you ever start.
I’m a declutter junkie. I refer to myself as an anti-packrat. Both set of grandparents were/are packrats; my parents are packrats; my husband is a packrat—not me. No way. However, living with clutter my whole life has prepared me to know how to tackle it and get it out of the house.
For this post, all I want to do is share with you ten “quick” things you can do this month (yup, all of this in September—I know you can do it) to declutter five areas on in your home. ::Note—times will vary depending on how much you have in any particular category::
Are you ready?
- Find a place for those keys (2 minutes): All right, so keys don’t add to clutter, but wasting time every day looking for your keys is silly. Pick one spot in your home, and every time you come home, walk straight over to that spot and hang up your keys. I went ahead and simply hammered a few nails in the wall at the entrance to my kitchen. Simple and it took me no time at all.
- Movies (30 minutes-1 hr.): How many movies do you own that you either 1) never watch or 2) are in such poor condition you can’t watch it anymore? Those need to go straight into a donation or trash pile now. Use two packing boxes (or even trash bags) and label one “Donate” and the other “Trash.” Separate all your movies into these boxes or lay them aside if you want to keep them. Once done, look at your keeps: For each movie, ask yourself, do you really want to keep this? If yes, it goes back on the shelf. If not, place it in the appropriate box.
- Sort out duplicate cooking utensils (15-30 minutes): Do you really need four whisks? How about five ladles? Lay out all your cooking utensils and group like items with each other. Now do a quick count. How many of each item do you have? Do you need that many? Are any of your utensils beat up or so old you never use them anymore? And again, place all utensils in either the donate box, the trash box, or back in their appropriate place in your kitchen.
- Match up your Tupperware (30 minutes): First off, if any of your Tupperware is so old, you are embarrassed or grossed out to use it, please throw it away—now. Next start matching up your plastic with their right lids. Any mismatched Tupperware needs to be thrown away.
- The closet (1 hour): This isn’t as intimidating as it sounds, I promise, because all you are going to do for now is take out every item of clothing that is either damaged (this can be anything form missing a button to tears, holes, etc.), doesn’t fit anymore (be honest here), or you haven’t worn in more than a year. Place each article of clothing in one of the following piles: Donate, Trash, Repair. All clothing that can be repaired can go back in the closet for now, but I recommend adding a reminder on your phone to fix each item yourself or to hire someone who can.
- The bedside table (15 minutes): Go ahead and remove everything from the top of your bedside table and from its drawers. Immediately throw away any trash or expired/bad lotions, hand creams, etc. Next, take any items that don’t belong in your bedside table (like random change and pens) and put them in their appropriate place in the house. Finally, carefully pick two or three items to go on top of the bedside table, and replace everything else back in the drawers, keeping you most used items up front.
- Clean out your medicine cabinet (15 minutes): All expired or old medications, vitamins, lotions, face wash, etc. should be thrown out. The same goes for duplicates or items you don’t use (like that deodorant you tried one time three months ago and didn’t like). Replace what remains back in your medicine cabinet with the name facing out so you can easily see what each bottle is.
- Under the sink (20 minutes): Pull everything out from underneath your bathroom sink. Now go ahead and give it a good wipe down because the underneath the bathroom sink tends to get forgotten about when we’re cleaning. Check for anything that is expired or you simply don’t use and won’t use. Next replace like items with each other, keeping your most used items up front, and least used (or extra toothpaste and shampoo) in the back.
- Create a mail center (20 minutes): Find a place in your office where you can handle all incoming and outgoing paper. This can be on your desk, a side table, the top of a filing cabinet or bookcase—it doesn’t matter where as long as it isn’t in the way and is easily accessible. Next, move your stamps, envelopes, checkbook, and some pens over there. Finally, use two trays (or shallow boxes) and label one “Inbox” and the other “Outbox.”
Bonus! How to use a Mail Center: Now when you pick up the mail, you’ll go straight to this mail center. Anything that requires you to take action (like pay a bill) will go into the inbox, anything that is trash belongs in the—you guessed it—trash, and anything that is for reference only should be filed away then and there. [I’ve also seen people include a third tray labeled “To File” and they clean this out once a week]. Finally, anything that needs to be mailed will get placed in the outbox, and you should be emptying this a couple times a week. If you don’t have one already, you’re going to discover this month that having a mail center is life changing.
- Bookcases (1 hour+): I love books, but if you are anything like me, then odds are, you probably own some books that you are never going to read again. Why not give these away to someone who will? Are there any books you own that you would rather have in e-book format to fee up more space? The hardcopy of these books can be donated as well. Take some time cleaning out your bookcases and stacking your books into “have to keep,” “would like to keep,” and “can donate” piles. Once done, put all your “have to keep” books back on the bookshelf. If you have room, now you can go through your “would like to keep” pile and dig out which books provide the most value. Once those books shelves are filled, everything else goes into the donation pile.
And finally, finally, donate everything you’ve set aside in the donation boxes. Otherwise you are going to have a clutter of boxes piled in your living space. This should only take an hour or so to load up your car, drive to one or two thrift stores, and drop off the boxes.
If you pick 2-3 of these items every week this month, you are going to have a less cluttered home by the end of September. Most of the items here will take less than thirty minutes. Set an alarm on your phone to declutter, take thirty minutes, and tackle one of this items. Do this 2-3 times each week, and you’re done. Pretty easy right?
I’d love to know what tips you have for decluttering your home. And if you use any of the tips listed above to declutter your house this month, tell me in the comments or tag me in a picture on Twitter or Instagram. I love hearing from you guys. Happy Decluttering!