First of all, don’t panic! You can do this.
I know it seems daunting to take on your whole house at once, but in fact you will achieve faster results if you tackle large segments at a time—say, the contents of one counter or cupboard, instead of every single item everywhere. And you can always revisit other areas in subsequent purges. Let’s discuss how to declutter when you’re overwhelmed!
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Since COVID, I have decluttered and organized around our home at least 5 or 6 times! It brings me so much joy when I get rid of stuff! I feel so free when I get rid of things we no longer need or use.
An uncluttered home is one of those things that seems completely out of reach if you are suffering from clutter fatigue, but I promise you it isn’t. It will take some time and effort, but the benefits to your peace of mind are worth it!
After decluttering a few rooms, you’ll be amazed at how much more energy and enthusiasm you have to tackle the next one. It’s like peeling an onion: once you get down to the core, it gets easier from there on out.
The basic process is really very simple: just gather up all your things, put them in boxes or bags for donation or trash, then store what you’re keeping in clearly labeled containers. Once things are out of sight, they will be out of mind. This process is called the KonMari Method, named after its originator, Marie Kondo, who boils it down to just two words: “tidy up.”
Here’s how to declutter your house room by room.
Your Bedroom: Tackle Each Surface in Turn
If you are going through a move, or if you have just de-cluttered your bedroom and still want to get it organized again, go around the room in this order: dresser, closet, nightstands (including the top and any drawers), chest of drawers, shelves or bookcase.
Your Laundry Area: Do Your Own Cleaning Job First
Take a few minutes to consider whether there’s any room for streamlining in this area of your home—for example, do all those baskets really help you find things quickly? Do you really need that iron and ironing board? If the laundry isn’t where it belongs—in your washer, dryer, or wherever you are storing dirty clothes before washing them—put everything in its place.
Your Living Room: Take Time to Enjoy Your Household Items
Take time now to enjoy all the things in this area of your home. How many of them bring you joy every time you see them? Are there any that don’t, and if so, can they be donated or tossed?
Your Office/Den: Look Through Every Last Drawer and File
Are there items in here that are no longer necessary to keep on hand—for example, old manuals for software you don’t use any more or old tax and insurance documents no longer in use? Donate, recycle, or discard them.
Now look through every last drawer and file cabinet in your office, making sure you haven’t missed anything.
Your Kitchen: Toss Then Store
Take a quick look inside all your cupboards, drawers, and containers to see if there’s anything you no longer need—and if there is, get rid of it.
This can be a big job if you’ve got lots of storage containers! If everything isn’t fitting back inside your cupboards, organize them on shelves or in cabinets elsewhere in the house. Put things you use often next to each other; label any miscellaneous containers with their contents and place them as necessary.
I recently went through my kitchen to organize my refrigerator and cupboards. I cleaned my refrigerator by cleaning each shelf, including the nooks and crannies. I even purchased clear containers to help organize everything.
I also purchased clear storage bins for the cabinets and under the sink. These are perfect to organize dry foods in the cabinets and cleaning supplies under the sink!
Your Closets: Go Through One at a Time
Take 15 minutes to go through each closet in your home, making sure you have a clear idea of what’s inside and why you’re keeping it (and if there are items that don’t belong here). Sharpen up each “department” by getting rid of anything that doesn’t belong there. I recommend storing similar items together, even if they’re not in a specific category—for example, sweaters with sweaters, pants with pants, and so on.
This is where you will want to use all those clear containers! You can recycle boxes or get rid of them altogether; just make sure that any items you donate don’t have an odor (unless it’s clothes that can be washed first before being donated).
Your Bedroom: Make Way For Your New Decluttered Bedding
Once you’ve decluttered your closet, go through the clothing in your drawers and put everything away. Then, take a fresh look at your bedding and accessories. Anything you don’t like or use can be donated or tossed.
Your Bathroom: Do You Really Need A Separate Makeup Bag?
Take a look in your bathroom at the items that aren’t used daily and ask yourself if they’re really necessary—for example, do you really need a separate makeup bag, or can you use an extra drawer?
Here’s an idea: ask yourself whether any of the items in your bathroom are used enough to warrant having them there. If not, they should be anywhere but your bathroom—for example, if you aren’t storing makeup, skincare, and nailcare products that often and would rather have additional storage space for towels or toiletries.
If it’s not an essential item, donate or throw it out. Your bathroom is for comfort and relaxation; make sure you keep that in mind when deciding what needs to be there.
Kid’s Bedrooms: Declutter and Organize
Set up an area for kids to donate items they no longer want or need. For example, do your younger children still have stuffed animals? If so, can these go in another room instead of their closet? Do you have toys from when your child was a baby that are still around? If yes, why? Make sure all clothing is out of your kids’ closets and organized by category. Organize the toys according to what’s used most often, and keep them in a designated area—for example, under the bed or on their shelves.
Teen Girl Bedrooms: It’s Time To Declutter, Teens!
Take another look at your teen’s bedroom and ask yourself: does she really need all of those clothes? What about makeup, hair care products, jewelry, books? Take a second look at her closet and drawers and ask if there are any items that can be donated or tossed—they’ll surely be appreciated by someone else!
Teen Boy Bedrooms: Declutter, Organize, and Donate!
If your teen has a lot of clothing or other items that he doesn’t use on a regular basis (for example, sports equipment), these can be donated to people in need. If you have anything left over after passing it along to someone else, make sure you clean out containers and properly dispose of anything that’s broken or in poor condition.
The best way to get started is by taking baby steps. Start with one area of your home that you feel most overwhelmed in, and break it down into manageable tasks – even if this only means tackling the clutter on your desk for five minutes at a time. Once you’ve taken care of these small projects, take note of what strategies worked well for you so that next time, when confronted with an overwhelming task or project, you can use those same techniques again and not be as stressed!