According to the owner of GreenQueen Communications, Jodi Lynn Karpes, clutter at home is an inevitable side effect of a life well-lived, but decluttering can be a breath of fresh air for your home and family.
- Begin with four black refuse bags and label them – Trash.
- Add a municipal clear bag for recyclables – give away/sell
- Add a bag for items to repair – storage/put away.
- You could use a bag per room and place any items that need to be relocated to their proper place.
Bedroom: make your bed and clear away the day-to-day mess.
Bedside tables: clear away any items that you don’t need to access for bed.
Chest of drawers: sort each item of clothing using the ‘four-bag’ method. A good rule of thumb: if you haven’t worn it in at least six months or it no longer fits, it doesn’t belong. Try folding your clothes into small rectangles and placing them face-up, instead of stacked atop one another — so you can easily see each item when you pull the drawer open.
Cupboards: remove everything from your closet and lay it all out so you can easily see exactly what you have. This is also a good opportunity to wipe down any shelves and surfaces in your closet that rarely get cleaned. Next, ask yourself a few key questions as you decide what items you want to keep: when is the last time I wore this? Does this piece of clothing make me feel good when I wear it? Do I have something similar to this that I like more? It’s also a good rule of thumb not to keep something for ‘some day’ — like if it no longer fits but you’re keeping it around just in case it fits again one day. That mindset is how clutter accumulates! When putting things away, organise them in a way that works for you — whether that’s by colour, season or occasion.
Bathroom: Purge your products – if you haven’t used a product in six months to a year, then perhaps it is time to get rid of it. Take stock of your medicine cabinet – take everything out and throw away anything that has expired or no longer usable. Remember to wipe down shelves, drawers and doors.
Home office: remove or put away any personal/household items that don’t belong there, such as toys, dishes or workout gear. Your work space should be for work only. Non-work-related items act as reminders of other responsibilities, which can be distracting when you need to focus on work.
Sort through documents and papers – if your desk is barely visible thanks to a jumble of papers, now’s the time to sort through them. Make three piles: one for papers to shred or toss, one for documents to file away, and one for things you need to take action on. If most of your work-related documents are digital, go ahead and spend some time organising and cleaning those up, too. Even though digital clutter isn’t visible, it can be just as detrimental to your productivity.
Organise your desk drawers according to what items you use most frequently. For example, you might fill your topmost drawer with everyday items, like a notepad, pens or phone charger, while the bottom drawer is home to things like your hole punch or envelopes. Within each drawer, have the most used items towards the front for easy access.
Living room: your living room is where a lot of household action takes place, meaning it can be a magnet for clutter from everyone in your family. Sort through toys, books and magazines etc. using the ‘four-bag’ method. Reduce the amount of Knick-knacks – choice decor items add style, however, too many can make it harder to make use of the space — and harder to clean around, too.
Take stock of things you have sitting out on tables and shelves, and decide what you might be willing to part with: are there old picture frames, throw blankets or potted plants you no longer care for?
Create a permanent storage spot for everyday items: instead of just leaving things lying on your coffee table, designate a basket for everyday items — like remotes, chargers and video game controllers — and then stow the basket under an end table or in a drawer for easy access.