If you feel like you’re constantly battling clutter, you’re not alone! It seems like most of us have a problem with “stuff”, whether because we haven’t figured out the best way to store it, or we simply have too much of it.
The good news is that no matter what kind of clutter problem you’re facing, there’s a way to overcome it. I’ve done a lot of research over the years on the topic of conquering clutter, and I’ve picked up plenty of tips that make the task a lot easier!
A seasonal shift is a great opportunity to clear out some clutter and tidy thing up, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite decluttering tips with you in this post. With the help of these handy tips, you’ll be able to kick clutter to the curb and restore neatness in no time.
9 Tips And Tricks For Dealing With Clutter
1. Practice “One In, One Out”
One easy-to-remember tactic for cutting down on clutter is the “one in, one out” strategy. With this strategy, for each new thing that comes into your house, you have to get rid of something else.
Following this rule is an effective way to hit the brakes on accumulating additional clutter, and that will allow you to put more of your focus on paring down pre-existing clutter.
2. Learn To Part With Gifts
The gesture of giving and receiving gifts is far more meaningful than the object itself. It can be difficult to consider getting rid of items that were given to you as gifts, but if it isn’t something you need or enjoy, it’s okay to let it go. You can part with a gift without disrespecting the person who gave it to you or the intent behind the gesture.
3. Ask Yourself Questions
Deciding what to keep and what to get rid of can be one of the more difficult aspects of decluttering, especially when your emotions are involved. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself when you’re struggling with those hard choices:
- “Is this the best, my favorite, or necessary?” This decluttering wisdom coined by Emily Ley can help you narrow large collections of items to only the cream of the crop. It will remind you to keep only the best set of mixing bowls, for instance, or your favorite dish towels or mugs.
- “Is it useful or beautiful?” “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” This wise outlook attributed to William Morris can help you prioritize the items that enrich your life without accumulating excess.
- “Does it spark joy?” This question forms the basis of organizing guru Marie Kondo’s approach to decluttering. If asking yourself whether each and every one of your belongings sparks joy works for you, it can be a galvanizing way to let go of a lot of the stuff you’ve been holding onto.
- “Would I make an effort to get this back from my ex?” The “Ex Test” is a thought experiment that can help you gauge whether you’d really miss a particular item. Imagine the item was in the possession of your ex (real or imaginary) after a bad breakup. Would you would be willing to contact them to arrange to get the item back? If not, it’s probably an item you can comfortably live without.
4. Purge Before You Splurge On Organizers
The appeal of having all your clutter tucked away into neat baskets, bins, or totes can be hard to resist, but it’s important to purge before buying a bunch of new organizers. Get rid of what you don’t need, then buy whatever you need to organize only what you kept.
5. Do A Little Bit At A Time
Burning yourself out by trying to declutter your entire home at once is not a good strategy. Instead, put parameters in place to make your efforts more sustainable, like deciding you’ll do one area or room start-to-finish, or by limiting a decluttering session to a set amount of time.
6. Digitize Papers And Documents
Paper clutter can easily get out of hand, so take advantage of the computer in your pocket! Use your phone to snap photos of paper menus and schedules so you can recycle the physical papers. Also, remember that you don’t need to keep paper copies of things you can find and download online, like owner’s manuals, credit card agreements, and so on.
7. Take Before And After Photos
We all know how inspiring a good set of “before” and “after” photos can be, so why not use them to inspire your own organizing efforts? Choose a small, cluttered area to work with, like your kitchen counter, and take a photo of it.
Declutter that area, then snap another photo. Having a record of that transformation can help motivate you to transform other areas of your home.
8. Use A Decluttering Outbox
As you clean, you may end up with items you’re not sure if you want to keep or get rid of. Setting up a “decluttering outbox” is a simple way to give yourself a place to put those items while you consider your decision.
You don’t have to decide right away, but don’t let items pile up in your outbox either. You don’t want it to become just another source of clutter!
9. Make It More Enjoyable
If the work of decluttering feels arduous or tedious to you, pair the task with something you enjoy. Here are some ideas of ways to make organizing a little more enjoyable:
- Listen to a favorite podcast or audiobook
- Put on a fun playlist (like my spring cleaning playlist!)
- Sip on your favorite beverage
- Reward yourself when you reach a milestone, like finishing a particular room
- End a big decluttering session with your favorite meal
Getting rid of the stuff that’s cluttering up our homes can be hard work, but these tips can help make it a little easier. I hope they prove as useful to you as they have been to me!
What’s your best decluttering tip?