Clutter is the enemy of a happy home. While sometimes difficult to notice at first, its slow creep eventually eats up space and can prove stressful to those living in it.
Thankfully, when it comes to clutter, there is a cure. In this guide, the experts here at Stor-It provide seven effective tips to help you declutter and organize your home without hassle. Conquer your clutter once and for all, and contact our team to reserve your self-storage space today!
Tip #1: Identify the Clutter
You’ve heard the expression “know thy enemy.” When it comes to clutter, no phrase could be more relevant. To an outside observer, clutter may stick out like a sore thumb. To many of those who live with it, however, clutter all too often becomes the elephant in the room — literally. It builds and builds, blending with important items and becoming a part of your home’s scenery. Eventually, some have trouble differentiating clutter from necessary stuff.
If this sounds like you, it’s time to take a good long look at the stuff in front of you. Ask yourself this simple question: When was the last time I used this?
If the answer is over a season, you may be dealing with clutter. (Of course, there are exceptions — such as decorative displays, books on bookshelves, and some seasonal equipment. However, even these items deserve a second look.) After that, consider some of the items (or piles of items) in your space and pay close attention to your feelings. Are you happy that those items are where they are? Do you feel dissatisfied? Stressed? If your emotions are at all negative, they may be indicating that you’re dealing with clutter.
Finally, if you’re finding it difficult to function in your own home — it’s hard to find belongings, hard to move around, and hard to focus — stop for a moment and look for reasons why. If any boxes, piles, or strewn-about stuff comes to mind, it’s clutter.
Tip #2: Start With the Spaces You Spend the Most Time In
Wondering where to start decluttering? The answer is the most frequently-trafficked places in your home. That’s where clutter is doing the most damage — clogging up your space, impeding your work, and just generally making your life a hassle. In most cases, this area will be your bedroom or your home office. Start there, and concentrate your initial efforts on a single corner or surface. By confining your first decluttering campaign to a smaller area, you’ll have a higher chance of victory.
Biting off more than you can chew by trying to tackle your entire house at once can lead to extra stress, confusion, and a quick victory for clutter. Pick your battles wisely, win them one at a time, and then move onto more.
Tip #3: Assemble Your Five Bins
So, you’re in your first room, ready to declutter. Now what? You need bins. They can be baskets, bags, or even spaces on your floor — what’s important is that you have enough of them serve five distinct purposes. These are:
Trash. Your trash bin is pretty self-explanatory. If you have an empty or close-to-empty trash can in your house, you can use that. This is the bin where you’ll place all the clutter you want to throw away. (Just make sure it’s not recyclable. That stuff will go in your next bin.) Common types of “trash” clutter include containers and wrappers with food or other non-recyclable substances on them, broken appliances and other large equipment, styrofoam, clothing hangers, and more.
Recycling. The next bin is your recycling bin. This bin will contain all items you wish to dispose of that can be recycled. Most papers and plastics can be recycled — just make sure they’re clean and free of any residue. (Plastic bags are a big exception. Those go in the trash.) Metal cans are recyclable, as are cardboard boxes and padded envelopes. Glass can also be recycled, but depending on the state you live in, you may have to take it to a recycling location yourself.
Donations. As you begin to declutter your home, you may come across things someone else could use. These are items that you should donate. Old but still functioning appliances, hand-me-down clothes, books, and even whole furniture are great candidates for donation. Put them in a bin, a corner of your room, or in your garage. You may have to drop them off at a local donation center yourself, but some cities have organizations that pick up donations for you. Check the internet to learn about the options in your area.
Sales. Some stuff is simply too good to just give away. Expensive purchases, collectibles, and other in-demand goods will certainly go for a good price if sold — so why not try to sell them yourself? Craigslist, letgo, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace are all great online resources for selling items individually. If you compile enough stuff, you could also go the old-fashioned route and host your own yard sale.
Relocations. We’ve saved the biggest bin for last. While sorting through your clutter, you’ll find many belongings you’ll want to keep — preferably in a to-be-determined proper place. These are your relocations. If you begin amassing a considerable amount of these items, it may be a good idea to make a relocations bin or pile for a few major locations in your house, such as your garage, kitchen, and home office. That way you’ll know where each item is going as you sort it.
Tip #4: Pace Yourself and Have Fun
There’s no way around it: decluttering your home is work. But it doesn’t have to be painful. With the right approach, it can be manageable — and even fun. To prevent exhaustion and keep morale up, pace yourself. We already mentioned starting your decluttering journey with one area at a time. At first, you should also limit the time you spend decluttering each day. Twenty minutes or a half-hour is totally acceptable. You can always work up. Likewise, you don’t have to break a sweat as you sort. Work at a steady pace, not a frantic one.
Once you’ve got your pace down, have some fun! Put on music, bring your pet into the room, and make sure to reward yourself for a job well done. Save your favorite TV show for after your decluttering session, or treat yourself to a good meal. With perks, decluttering can quickly become a positive experience.
Tip #5: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
In keeping with the theme of reducing stress and hassle, one of the biggest ways you can optimize your decluttering process is to ask for help. Friends and family can cut labor into fractions, all while adding fun to the process by keeping you company. When you ask, ask nicely. You can even bribe your friends and family with gifts, food, or a fun outing.
Tip #6: Get Creative With In-Home Storage
As your bins begin to pile up, you’ll need to find places to store your ex-clutter. Without this final step, sorted stuff can quickly become clutter once again. To prevent this from happening, get creative and optimize storage in your home. Seek out empty spaces on your walls, your doors, and even your yard to add extra storage. Invest in new furniture like door-hanging units, floating shelves, and outdoor sheds to add more storage in your existing space.
Tip #7: Consider Self Storage
Clutter cannot always be overcome with organization alone. Sometimes, there’s simply too much stuff to fit in a given space. If this sounds like the issue that’s plaguing your home, self storage is your solution. Available for a monthly or annual rate, self storage units are off-site homes for items of all shapes and sizes. Like apartments, self-storage units are available in a wide range of square footage options. (They’re even available in climate-controlled options: a must for temperature- and humidity-sensitive items.) With self storage, you can take your excess belongings and put them somewhere else — drastically reducing clutter in one fell swoop.
Learn More and Declutter With Self Storage From Stor-It
Equipped with these decluttering tips, you’re now several steps closer to tackling clutter with expertise and confidence. Need more info on how to declutter? Ready to cut out clutter and free up space with self storage? Our team here at Stor-It has you covered. We’re Idaho’s oldest and largest self-storage providers, proudly offering an extensive selection of high-quality storage units at 16 locations across the Gem State.
We also offer flexible month-to-month leases, packing and moving supplies available for sale onsite, and FREE locks to new tenants. Explore our site to get more decluttering advice, storage tips, and info on the Stor-It experience — and strike a decisive blow against clutter today!