Raise your hands, how many of you had New Years Resolutions to declutter your house and have since given up? I’m determined to see this through and really get my house decluttered, organized and then decorate it. I have listed out how I’m decluttering, where I’m sending everything once it’s decluttered, and how I’m organizing below so hopefully you can follow along and do the same at your own house!
To start, I listed out all the rooms in my house and made it into a pretty graphic because I’m extra like that:
Then, I listed them out in two categories: Hard and Easy. Hard means it will take more than an hour to do or will require multiple attempts to declutter. Most of my “easy” rooms will take 30 minutes or less which is good to know, so if I have an “easy” room left on the list and I have a half hour to spare one day, I can start and finish the project in that time. Once you have them listed out, re-order them in order of importance to you. For example, Shane’s office is hard but not that important to me so it’s at the bottom of the hard list. If I have time to do 1 hard room this weekend, I want to do something that will make the most impact on my life.
If there is a room where you can break it down into easier parts, list that out so you can declutter in smaller chunks of time. For example, in my guest room, we store linens and we have a dresser full of random crap we didn’t go through after we moved. Going through the linens will likely take 20 minutes, and going through the dresser will probably take 30 minutes.
Look at your calendar and block out time to declutter. It will take at least a couple of hours to do the more difficult rooms so maybe plan out some time on the weekend or split it up into smaller sections to get it down throughout the week.
I really like reading books about the author’s real life (probably why I like blogs so much), and there are so many good books about people who have decluttered and have tips about doing it well. Below are a list of my favorites that you should borrow from the library or buy for your kindle (don’t want to add to your clutter while you’re trying to declutter!)
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul by Ruth Soukup
The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker
I know Marie Kondo says that if you follow her plan, you only have to declutter once in your life, but I can’t imagine a life where that is true. There are so many different phases of life that I hope to go through that will require all different “stuff”. We hope to have kids someday and that will require different stuff. Our body shape may change so we’ll need different clothes. Our preferences will probably change and new technology will come out so we’ll need different stuff to update. I never want so much stuff that it is a burden to care for it all; or so much stuff that taking care of my stuff gets in the way of taking care of the people closest to me, but I think there is a balance each person has to find for themselves.
I recently read the Realistic Guide to Decluttering: 30 Steps to Save your Sanity, and it is so good. At first I thought, do I really need to buy this? What could be in there that I can’t find anywhere else online for free? Tasha goes step-by-step in the decluttering process throughout the whole home and it’s so worth the $15 it’s currently on sale for.
Get Rid of the Clutter
Plan on taking multiple trips to the thrift store and discarding as you go. I know it looks cooler on Instagram to get rid of everything in one big sweep and have a whole carload of stuff for the thrift store, but decluttering and organizing your house takes a long time and you don’t want to have piles of stuff to get rid of taking up space in your home for weeks. If anything, getting rid of stuff while you go will help you get rid of more and encourage you as you go because you will start to feel the benefits of having a decluttered home right away.
GR Kids has a great list of places to donate items in Grand Rapids. If you don’t know where to donate something, either find a place close to you with a Google search, or find a charity that you like and see if they have a thrift store. Many charities have thrift stores to fund their mission including Pine Rest, local Christian Schools, World Vision and Mel Trotter.
If you have items you’d like to sell, here is a list of consignment shops near Grand Rapids:
If you want to recycle, Kent County has an excellent recycling program and their website is really helpful to find out where you can recycle almost everything.
If you are concerned about the environmental impact of decluttering, then absolutely try to recycle and donate everything you can. There will inevitably be items that cannot be sold, donated or recycled and you will need to throw them away. Please do not keep something just because you don’t want to fill up a landfill, because that is not a good reason to make your house a landfill. You should not live with trash; just throw it away and resolve to make better purchasing decisions in the future. You can’t change the past but you can change your environmental impact in the future by not accepting “free samples” you won’t actually use, only purchasing items you really need or will use, and by using reusable & recyclable materials whenever possible.
Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress. I struggle with needing perfection and really loved reading the book “Finish” by Jon Acuff. He really talks more about business projects, but you can apply the solutions to any project you tackle even organizing your house. Once you’ve spent so much time decluttering, it’s easy to feel like it’s good enough and not finish the project. I think that if you spend a little more time to get organization systems in place, you can avoid needing to take so much time to declutter next time and keep your house tidier everyday.
I’m quite lazy. I know this about myself and I set up my house so my laziness doesn’t get in the way of getting things done. For example, I don’t have just one basket with all my cleaning supplies. I have a basket under every sink with all the supplies I could need for that room so when I see a mess, I can quickly clean it up instead of putting it off because I don’t want to walk up and down the stairs to find the cleaning basket. I have a basket in the living room with things I normally need in the living room like a hair brush, hair ties, a couple bobby pins, coasters, floss, hand lotion and a box of Kleenex. I keep similar items in the top drawer of my nightstand because I know I am not going to get up out of bed to get a hair tie when I “need” one in the middle of the night. Instead of having 1 first aid kit, I have one in every bathroom. This could be a logistical nightmare for some people, because then I have to keep track of more things and know when I need to buy more, but this really works for my personality.
When you organize, you need to know what kind of personality you have and how to organize for YOU. How do you actually live? Do you grab the mail when you walk in the side door after work and drop it all on the kitchen counter? Having a mail organizer near the front door won’t be a good fit then; you need a solution for near the side door. Look for solutions for your specific problems that will work for your own house. Keep a list of solutions to look for so you can find pieces on sale.