From the deepest, darkest corners of our home is where my anxiety lives. From the depths of our disorganized, disastrous basement, pantry and closets… you’ll find my blood pressure rises to a boil.
I know I’m not alone here. For me, it’s an everyday annoyance. I realize I have 3 small children, and the clutter will probably never completely leave, but I decided earlier this year to start doing something about it. I believe if there is something in your life that nags at you, gives you an anxiety or drives your stress level to the red zone it’s time for a change.
Now, this isn’t going to be a quick fix. I really wish it was, I think we all wish we could snap our fingers and the clutter would disappear. While I can’t promise magic, I can promise a few simple steps I’ve discovered that helps me with decluttering.
- Have a plan – You’ll read a lot of articles that say, ‘Don’t plan to declutter, just start!’ While that’s solid advice, I find that having some sort of plan in place…even if it’s a simple one, helps me tremendously. When you make a plan, be sure to set some goals. My personal goals over the next several weeks are to have my kitchen, clothes closets, and toy area of our basement organized and free from clutter. I realize these are some pretty lofty goals for a busy mom of three messy children, but it’s a start!
- Start Small – It’s so easy to look at a room and feel your blood pressure rise. For example, our kitchen. While it looks clean on the outside, behind our cabinet doors is an abundance of unnecessary pots, pans, utensils, coffee mugs, plates, etc. I decided to start with our cup cabinet — I then moved on to where our coffee mugs are housed. I then decided to tackle our pantry. Setting a goal to hit one area per week.
- Clutter Before You Declutter – Say, what?!? Seems counterintuitive, but hear me out. Clear off a clean area of your home. If you’re working on decluttering the kitchen pantry, clean off your counters. Then remove everything from the pantry and lay it out on the counter. Every last box of cereal and canned good. Then start pitching things. Keep only what you will use, throw out what has expired and donate what is unopened to a local food pantry. This concept will help you visualize a “clean slate” as you figure out where everything goes. Everything should have a place.
- Ask yourself the tough questions – Whether you are a sentimental sap, or a purging queen…be ready to ask yourself some serious questions when decluttering. Here are some example questions I use:
- Have I used this item in the past year, 6 months, etc.?
- If I was out shopping, would I spend money on this?
- Do I already own something similar?
- Am I holding onto this for sentimental reasons?
- Will I think about this item tomorrow?
Honestly, sometimes I clean an area and stuff everything in garage bags and wait it out for a couple days. If there was something I decided was a donation item, but I am already missing, it’s very simple to go back into the garage and save the treasured item. This is rare, but it has happened to me before!
5. Be Patient, and get ready to declutter again – Decluttering your life won’t happen overnight. I feel as though I’ve been taking baby steps over the last 6 months. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And here’s the crappy part…but you will have to do it again….and again….and again. That’s just the reality of life, especially with kids! More stuff comes into your lives, kids grow out of clothes, birthdays happen…ugh!
One final piece of advice, go for the areas that annoy you the most. For me, my closet was a thorn in my side. Because no one ever saw my closet, it started to get out of control with clothes thrown everywhere. A few weeks ago, I had had enough and decided to clean it out. I can’t tell you how refreshed I feel and going into my bathroom/closet area keeps my blood pressure at bay. Ha!
Baby steps. Just remember, decluttering doesn’t happen overnight.
What tips do you have when it comes to decluttering? Comment below! I’d love to hear more.