It’s amazing how much clutter and stuff one can fit into a home, particularly if it has ample closets and storage areas. If your home is large, if you’ve lived in one home for a long time, or if you’ve raised a family there, you are likely aware that you need to let go of many items that haven’t been used or needed in years .
Apart from what you already know you need to get rid of, it’s possible you have much more in your home than you realize. Once you dig deep into closets, cabinets and storage areas, you might be surprised by how much you actually have hidden away but no longer need to keep.
Fortunately there are steps you can take well in advance if you plan to downsize! The earlier you start, the less stressful this experience will be. Whatever your end goal is and no matter how much time you have to complete it, it will help to break down the projects into manageable action steps.
Here are six easy-to-manage decluttering projects to help you get started.
1. Tackle the drawers.
Take some time to focus on decluttering all the drawers in your home. Remove everything from a drawer, throw away any discardable items or donate things you no longer need or love, and sort through to find like items. Try to consolidate things you own into at least half or a third of the space you had previously allowed for those items. So instead of twenty pairs of white socks, downsize to just six to ten of your very newest or best! Or instead of three kitchen drawers full of cooking utensils, for instance, donate older or little used items so you can consolidate your kitchen tools into just one drawer.
2. Declutter the bedroom.
Is your bedroom a place of peace or the dumping ground for laundry and stuff that doesn’t have a home? If you have too much laundry to fold and you find it regularly all over your bedroom, chances are your family has too many clothes or household linens. Pare down those items, give away the excess and put only the best of the items away for your use. Do you have lots of paper clutter piled up around the room? Use a shredder and recycle it or file it away.
3. Simplify the closet.
In order to downsize your closet, you’ll have to get ruthless. Look around your current closet. Is this the only one in which you store clothes? If not, gather up all the clothes and shoes and coats you have stored all over the house and put them into one place. Be brutally honest with yourself. Remove what you don’t wear, what you never reach for, the things you try on and don’t like the fit, or things you think you’ll like later. Let yourself keep several favorite outfits and shoes that fit right now and say goodbye to the rest. You won’t miss what you never wore.
4. Tidy the kitchen.
If you plan to downsize into a smaller kitchen or simply have too much for the space you have, take some time to think about what you really use. Separate the items you have in your kitchen right now into three categories—what you use to cook daily meals, what would be considered an extra (something you use a couple times a year), or a rarely used, convenience item. When you are short on space, you have to scale back to what can be used regularly. Everything else can go. It might be hard to get rid of that gravy boat and the electric knives, but in a smaller home, those items will have to be stored elsewhere and you’ll likely find it too much trouble to find them or dig them out anyway.Shine up the surfaces.
5. Shine up the surfaces.
Focus on just the surfaces; it’s much less stressful than tackling the whole house. What’s sitting around your house? It’s time to take a look and ask yourself if you truly need those items or if they’re mostly collecting dust. Do they belong somewhere else? Make it a game to declutter all the surfaces in your home so eventually nothing is out of place and nothing unnecessary is sitting out unless it is pretty enough to be there.
6. Clean up the bathroom.
Go on a decluttering mission in your bathroom. Make sure all similar items are grouped together so you see how many of each item you have. Start under the sinks. Do you have thirteen bottles of conditioner? Take eleven or twelve of them and donate them to a shelter. Do you have outdated cosmetics or expired medications? Keep only those that are still needed and aren’t expired. Keep cosmetics you use regularly and get rid of products that seemed like a good idea at the time but are now just taking up space.
Are you considering downsizing? Now is a great time to start!