Less Is More: How to Start Decluttering

A messy room piled full of clutter and boxes of junk.

You can improve your home's overall look while providing yourself with peace of mind and a more organized atmosphere — start decluttering today! (Image: Ingrid Balabanova via Dreamstime)

We all strive to be organized and efficient. But how can we be organized if our closets are overflowing, our floor is stacked with boxes and newspapers, or the kitchen is filled with dirty dishes and expired items? You cannot function in such an atmosphere. Therefore, if you are trying to stay organized or want to simplify your life, start decluttering.

But before we begin, it is essential to understand what clutter is. Clutter is anything that we keep in our house or surroundings, which does not add value to our lives and creates a mess. Decluttering can not only improve your home’s overall look, but it can provide you with mental peace and positive energy.

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Sort it out

You don’t need fancy tools to declutter your home, only a few baskets or bins for five different purposes:

1. Keep

This box is for items that you wish to keep with you. 

2. Recycle

This bin is for items that can be recycled, such as unwanted paper, fabric, or glass.

3. Fix

This bin is for items that need repair.

4. Trash

This bin is for items that can go into the household trash like expired products or broken things. 

5. Donate

This bin is for items that you can donate.

Decluttering step by step

Once you make up your mind to declutter, keep in mind the following tips:

Plan it

The best way to begin is by making a plan. Organize what you want to do and where you want to start from. Categorize the items and tackle them one by one. Making a list will help you stay organized and on track. As the first step of decluttering begins, you will not be overwhelmed or stressed.

Two notebooks sit on a table with the words "To Declutter" and "To Keep" at the top, along with colored pencils, a magnifying glass, and paper clips.
Categorize items and tackle them one by one. (Image: Faithiecannoise via Dreamstime)

One area at a time

It is a good idea to begin by cleaning one area at a time. Decide which area or room you want to start with. Try to focus on one room and after completing the decluttering of that room, move on to the next space.

Start slow and small

If you’re new to decluttering, you can start slowly and build momentum by dedicating at least a few minutes a day. Even if you give away 2-3 items a day, you will gradually begin the cycle of downsizing and decluttering. 

Look at everything

Once you start the process of decluttering, you must look at everything in the designated room. This way, you will get a good idea of your belongings and decide what you wish to keep and what needs to go. 

Be definitive

When adding things to the boxes and sorting through your belongings, don’t put anything away unless you have a definitive idea of what to do with it.

Ask yourself

If you have a tough time deciding what to keep or not, ask yourself if you love it and need it. Are you going to use it? If the answer is no, give it away. However, if any particular belonging has some sentimental value attached to it, you may store it separately.

Getting rid of clutter physically

Identify clothes and things that you no longer need or have never used and donate them to an organization or someone who might need them. Getting rid of clutter physically is an integral part of organizing your surroundings. This will not only help you stay organized, but you would have done a good deed too.

To help with decluttering, donate all the clothes you no longer wear.
Identify clothes and things that you no longer need or have never used and donate them to someone who needs them. (Image: Andrii Zastrozhnov via Dreamstime)

Make space  

Once you have designated the belongings to either of the five boxes and gotten rid of everything you don’t need or no longer want, assign a designated space for all the belongings that you have retained. You may invest in some good containers to stay organized. 

Stay motivated

Take before and after photos of the area you have decluttered and organized. Once you see how your home looks, it becomes easy to declutter your home.

Control the in-flow

The decluttering process is continuous, you must ensure the surrounding stays neat and tidy. Assign a dedicated space for incoming letters, mail, and other things, that take up room on your counters and shelves. These things account for most of our clutter.

No matter how big or small you start out or what tips you follow, make the decision to declutter and actively work on it. You’ll be glad you did!

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