Decluttering your home can be a heavy and stressful job. You might be doing it to downsize or to simplify your life, still, the best way to approach it is to divide it into phases:
- Deal with one room at a time
- Complete one task before starting a new one
- Organise the contents of the furniture room by room
With this approach, you will have visible results and gain momentum and, gradually, you will see some noticeable progress.
What do you need to start decluttering properly?
It’s pretty easy, all you need is 5 baskets or boxes to:
- tidy up all the items that don’t belong in that room and that need to be put back in their place – like a coffee mug in the bedroom, for example.
- recycle anything you can (paper, plastic, glass)
- organise anything that needs to be mended or cleaned – like a pair of dirty shoes
- bin all the rubbish
- donate all the items that you would like to give to someone as a gift or offer to a charity
You can take all 5 boxes with you as you move from room to room or maybe leave them in the middle of the house and reach for them as you’re working.
The most important thing is not to think about them once you’ve started working – get them ready in advance!
The Spruce website offers very useful advice on how to use these different boxes in every room to declutter properly.
Let’s see what they are!
Decluttering the bathroom
To tidy up the bathroom, you should start by binning all the medicines, make-up and beauty products that have expired or been open for a long time, as they will have lost their effectiveness.
Place anything that you use daily on the furniture, at eye level.
Take a quick look in the drawers and leave only the things you need in there.
If you have items that you often use – like hairbrushes, for example, put them in the highest drawers.
Repeat the same process with the products that you keep in the shower/bath.
Now, everything that is left can be easily organised in one of the 5 boxes you prepared.
Decluttering the bedroom
Start by making the bed, because it’s going to be very difficult to see what progress you’re making in this room if the bed is unmade.
Open the bedside tables and remove everything that belongs in other rooms, like books that you’ve finished reading, pencils, letters and other stuff.
Throw away or recycle anything that cannot be used, like tissues, old pens and batteries that no longer work.
Repeat the same process with all the furniture and look for any clothes scattered around the room: if they’re clean, fold them and put them in the wardrobe, if dirty, put them in the laundry basket.
Take a hard look at what you’re currently wearing and, if you’re keeping something that ‘might fit you again sooner or later’, put it straight in the donation box.
Decluttering your wardrobe: clothing
Now that you’re in the bedroom, you need to deal with the wardrobe. The easiest way to reorganise the wardrobe is, first to organise your clothing by type: shoes, clothes, underwear, jackets and so on.
It’s much easier to decide what to keep and what to get rid of if you look at everything at once: of all the jeans you have, which ones do you really need?
Go on asking yourself the same question with all the different types of clothing.
After having looked at everything, you will only have to:
- put anything that was in the wrong place back where it belongs
- put any dirty clothes in the laundry basket
- put aside anything that needs mending or washing
- put in the charity box anything that you no longer use.
Decluttering the entrance hall
Even if you don’t have a grand foyer separated from the rest of the house, you’re sure to have an entrance area, and it’s very important to make it functional.
If you have a small table, a desk or small cabinet, take a look at every single drawer and decide what to keep and what not.
Take a look at what’s on the shelves too, and if you have a place where you normally drop your keys and other important stuff, make sure it’s nice and tidy.
Your hall stand will have to be treated like any other piece of furniture, so take a look at what’s there and remove anything that belongs in another room.
Decluttering the kitchen
Keeping your kitchen in order is a great challenge, because it’s there that many different activities take place: cooking, eating or simply hanging out.
For this reason, your kitchen has many different items stored inside the cabinets. You can choose whether to tidy up your kitchen one category at the time (glasses, tools, baking trays, plates) or alternatively go through your kitchen cabinets one at a time.
The first step is to empty each space, evaluate all the items and then put everything back.
Start with the cupboards and shelves and then go through the cabinets, drawers and the space under the sink.
Leave the worktops to last and keep only the things that you use daily there.
Finally, get rid of everything that you don’t use anymore, anything broken or unusable and throw away any expired food from your fridge and pantry.
Decluttering the living room
The living room, together with the kitchen, is one of the most difficult rooms to keep in good shape.
This is because it is a room that gets used a lot and that, usually, has a lot of furniture where we store our stuff – and often forget that it’s there!
Choose where you want to keep all the items that you use regularly.
Start with the bookcase, desks and coffee tables and then move on to the rest of the furniture and drawers.
Empty everything, evaluate all the objects you find and then put them in the boxes you prepared to either be thrown away, recycled, donated or put in a different room.
Keep only what’s useful and functional: tidy up the books, check your mail, find a good place for the remote controls, fold any throws and so on.
Now move on to your electronic devices: remove anything that is not connected to the TV or your home entertainment system.
If you don’t need it, it doesn’t need to be there!
When you’re decluttering your home, always ask yourself these two questions: “Am I using it? Does it work?”
Only keep the things you really need in each room.
Decluttering is not as difficult as you might think, you just need to organise your work in the best way possible to avoid wasting time, so you can really regain space and order in your home.