If you want to start decluttering and organizing on your own, here are a few tips:
If you have guests coming to stay with you or company coming over for holidays, I’d say start with the guest bedroom. Then do the kitchen. Then do common rooms like living room or dining room.
If you don’t have guests coming, declutter your whole house:
Sort by category, not location, in this order throughout your whole house:
To start in any room:
- Get three boxes, bins or trash bags
- One box/bin/bag is trash
- One box/bin/bag is recycle
- One box/bin/bag is donation
- Everything in that room that doesn’t belong – see a) b) c) Guidelines below – will go in those boxes/bins/bags. The idea is to get rid of stuff that doesn’t belong. Don’t even think about organizing at this point. Things need to be gone from your house before you can organize what’s left.
- Make sure you aren’t keeping things just because you have the space. It is far better to have space between items – space between clothing in the closets, space between items in a drawer, etc. Space lets your eyes see exactly what’s there. Filling up space makes it harder to see what’s there. And, if you end up buying more things (AGHH!! NO!!!), you won’t have a place for them.
- You will NOT have a set place to put the remaining things yet. That’s ok. At least you’re left with what you cherish and enjoy. Where to put those things will come later so move on to the next room or category before organizing anything at all.
What will be hard during this is that the things you remove from each room have to go somewhere. Generally, they should go out of your home. Ask yourself whether the things you are decluttering and organizing are things that you:
- a) love. Not ‘like’ but ‘LOVE!!’
- b) say something about your personality
- c) say something about your life as it is right now
- use clear plastic bins instead of boxes when storing things. You can see what’s in it (at least partially).
- find uses for everyday items instead of buying new things. For instance, small sturdy boxes can take the place of pretty bins for makeup, socks, underwear, desk items like paper clips and pencils and staples. Buy pretty bins later when you’re positive of the organizing methods you’ve come up with.
- keep any collections or memorabilia you absolutely love but feel free to throw away photos, high school and college memorabilia and anything that seems valuable but actually has no value to anyone including yourself. This is a last-step item so if you get this far, it might be helpful to have more coaching on this. It’s HARD!!!
- ask family members if they are ok with you getting rid of something of theirs. If you don’t ask, you might spur resentment and suspicion later. (I’ve made this mistake – not worth it.)
Questions to ask yourself:
- How many ________ does a person really need? How many _______ does my family need?
- Do I feel guilty for giving away/throwing away _______ because it was a gift from someone?
- Does ______ say something about me or my family? Or is it just a thing?
- Do I like ______ enough to give it valuable real estate in my home?
- Am I truly making room in my life for the things that matter or am I decluttering and organizing just to “get through it” and I’ll have to do this again in another few months?
If something is hard to part with:
Why do you have this?
When did you get it?
What meaning does it have?
Where did you get it?
What role does it play in your life?
To truly cherish things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.
The yardstick by which you judge is your intuitive sense of attraction to things you love.
I could go on and on but these are some important points.
If you get stuck, my website (link below) has articles that provide inspiration. I am also only a phone call away!!