Staying home has become the new normal, and figuring out ways to adapt has been top-of-mind for many. This time could also be giving you ideas for ways you could improve your home, particularly when it comes to decluttering. Things have a tendency to pile up, but there are steps you can take in order to manage it. So here are some quick tips to put you on the right path for decluttering your home.
1. Start with a plan
The best way to clean up a home is to follow a plan or checklist, and have a set amount of time that you spend doing it each day. Make a list of the things you want to get done (which could very well include some things we’re about to mention), divide them into tasks and start checking them off one by one, five to fifteen minutes at a time. You’ll want to make sure you remember to also take some breaks, so adding them into your schedule may help you take them and stay on track!
2. Pick up the floors
We’re not sure how things end up there, but one of the first things to give some attention to when decluttering is the floor. What’s on it that shouldn’t be? Are your kids’ or pets’ toys lying around? Are there pairs of shoes scattered throughout the house? Have papers and miscellaneous objects found their way out of their normal spot? Take some time to pick up these loose items and put them in their proper place. A clean floor is a great first step to finding some clarity and peace in your home.
3. Clear tables and workspaces
Surfaces often get cluttered due to busy lifestyles or items not having a normal place to be stored . Now that we’ve all been able to slow down a bit, we can take some time to not just clear off these surfaces, but find places for the items on them to go. If you’re cleaning off the kitchen table, find a new spot for the mail. If you’re clearing off the counter or cleaning out the sink, put the dishes away or put them in the dishwasher. Then, once everything is cleaned off, clean and disinfect the surfaces themselves. You’ll be amazed at how much better your mind will feel when it sees an empty, decluttered space. Make a habit of doing this and finding places to put things besides a surface, and you’ll find your overall mental health improving!
4. Create breathing room
We all have those rooms or closets where our stuff tends to get stored or pile up. Many of these items don’t get used, so take some time to sort through the clothing, books, spare furniture and tools and find some things to either neatly store, repurpose, donate or even say goodbye to. Be willing to make a new mess when doing this by pulling everything out of where you’re keeping it and finding new homes for it all. You can manage this process by making a list or inventory of things to keep and discard, or create a four-box system: one for trash, one for storing, one for giving away and one for sorting later. You could even make a commitment to either discard or donate half or a third of the possessions you go through. You’ll find that by clearing out these spaces, you make room for yourself to decompress.
5. Set up a no-clutter zone
Defend what you have cleaned! If you find yourself about to put a miscellaneous household item on a particular surface, make a commitment to find a different, more logical place to put it instead. Start by keeping one table, desk or chair free of clutter.
6. Do some dusting and sweeping
Grime and debris make things look old and unused, but keeping it away helps maintain a clean and fresh appearance in the home. It is also better for your overall health to not let things sit in your home with dust since it is typically full of allergens. So not only will your home look cleaner, but you’ll probably even feel healthier.
This one might take some time, but remember to do it slowly. Think through your current organization system and then compare it with what you actually need. Then use what you have to figure out a new system that will enable you to have a place for everything, such as files, mail slots, shelves for specific items and bins for blankets, tools and other items that don’t get used all the time. Once you’ve figured this out and created a habit of putting things where they belong, you’ll find that your surfaces stay cleaner and less cluttered.
8. Clean up a room at a time
Cleaning a lot can be overwhelming, especially when faced with tough, emotional decisions about your possessions. So take it slowly. Don’t make an immediate goal of cleaning the entire house. Rather, take it a step at a time, a room at a time, or even just a corner or shelf at a time. Also, cleaning up doesn’t have to be rearranging. It can be refreshing your bed linens and making the bed, cleaning the bathroom or vacuuming a rug.
9. Get things out of the house
While you may not be able to leave your home right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t commit to saying goodbye to something that doesn’t belong there anymore. Create boxes of things to get rid of and put them in an unused corner or closet, or even put them in your car to signal that they will be leaving the house ASAP. Take out the trash and see if you can find a way to safely get rid of items you don’t need, like taking it to a donation site or giving it away on a yard sale site. The feeling of seeing something leave your house can be immensely freeing.
10. Make a routine
Cleaning up doesn’t have to be a single-day, exhausting task. In fact, it’s easier and better if it’s not. Define your goals and then work toward them every day. Keep surfaces clean whenever possible, create a habit of putting things in their places and take care of chores when you think about them rather than putting them off for later.
Decluttering doesn’t have to be stressful, and it’s best to find ways to make it enjoyable, especially right now. We hope these tips help you as you work to make the most of your current situation!