JANUARY – DECLUTTERING AND ORGANIZING
The first month of the year is when I try to get my home back into some form of order, especially after the chaos and busy schedule of the holiday season. So each week this month, I will be focusing on ways to declutter and decorate our homes. #tametheclutter
You might be tackling the job of decluttering as part of downsizing, or maybe just to simplify life. Whatever the reason, decluttering an entire home is a big job. That’s why I recommend breaking it up into stages: one room, one space, or even one area of a room at a time. One zone of a room might be kitchen cabinets – it could even just mean that junk drawer in the kitchen. Whatever stage you choose, be sure to finish that completely before moving on to the next stage. Tackling it this way not only builds confidence in your ability to keep going, but it also helps you begin to make the decisions listed below.
If your room looks anything like this, you may want to consider doing some decluttering!
Some jobs require fancy tools…not decluttering. But you do need five baskets, cardboard boxes, or tubs so you can separate items as listed (these are the decisions I mentioned above). Set up these five containers before you begin.
- Put Away Where It Belongs: This is where you put items that may have ended up somewhere other than where they belong. Soccer shoes that ended up in the kitchen, plate & fork in a bedroom – these items go into this container.
- Recycle: Paper, plastic, glass items go into this container.
- Trash: This container is for things that can immediately go into the trash.
- Fix/Repair: Put items that need mending or repairing into this container, or that pair of shoes you’ve been meaning to shine.
- Donate: Items to donate to Goodwill, or your charity of choice, go into this container.
START WITH LOW-HANGING FRUIT
Which room of your home has the least clutter and will be the easiest to clean and organize? In my home it would be the bathrooms. A great place to start is the medicine cabinet. Remove everything and begin by discarding expired/outdated prescriptions, makeup, skincare products, and anything that is almost empty. Put all those items in one pile. Next put back the items you are keeping, and organize them while putting them back. Be sure to put things you use most frequently at eye level.
Cabinets and drawers are next. Again, remove everything and make quick decisions about what you are keeping and what gets put into the five containers you’ve staged. Replace items you are keeping into the cabinets and drawers, and put the things used most frequently where they can easily be accessed.
Under the sink(s) too! Pull everything out, make those decisions, and replace what you are keeping.
Last step, everything that didn’t get replaced needs to be sorted into the five containers that you staged for this step. Once things have been sorted into the five containers, take action with those containers. If it’s the into the trash container, do it right then, etc.
If you are finished for that day, you should identify which room/area will be next and commit to a day/time you will focus on that area.
TACKLE OTHER AREAS OF YOUR HOME
Move on to the bedrooms, closets, entry areas (mudrooms, foyers, etc.), kitchen, living room, and laundry area. Personally, I think the closets are the most difficult so that’s where I would head next. The kitchen poses special challenges because that area gets used in so many ways: meal prep and cooking, clean-up, eating, kiddos doing their homework at the kitchen table, socializing, and all the things. Tackling the kitchen is best done by breaking down the entire area into zones that represent all the uses of the room. Hint: decluttering and organizing the countertops first will help you tackle the rest of the room. Keep only what you use every day on the countertops.
Once you’ve finished a room or area, the next goal will be to keep the finished areas as clutter-free and organized as possible, while you continue to work on the rest of your home. The sense of accomplishment you feel as you finish each area will help you to move on to the next. Just imagine if you walked into your bathroom and it was as clutter free as this?
Look for the blog next week when we look at the things you should get rid of when decluttering or moving.