I hope you all survived the Christmas season. It can be pretty overwhelming dealing with extended family members, eating too much food, and dealing with the mass of new things that you suddenly acquired in one day, especially if you have kids.
If you’re stuck trying to figure out where to put it all now that it’s January, never fear! I’m here today to help you figure out how to declutter your house. I understand it can be hard to get rid of things, but if you’re ready to get serious about decluttering, then there are tricks you can use to help you get rid of some of the tougher items.
Maybe you’ve made a resolution to tackle the sea of clutter in your home this year so that you can breathe a little easier, or maybe you simply want to get rid of a few things to make room for that lifelike porcelain baby doll and banana bunker that Aunt Pearl got you for Christmas. Whatever your reasons, here are seven clever ways to declutter your home.
1. Go On a (Hypothetical) Extended Vacation
Pretend you’re going on an exciting adventure overseas, and you are going to move to Fiji (or your paradise of choice.) You can only take so much stuff with you, so what will you bring? Look at every item in your home and ask if you would take it with you when you move to Fiji. Is each item Fiji-worthy? If not, let it go.
A different (but not quite as fun) approach is to pretend there’s been a fire or theft and you’ve lost everything you own. What would you actually pay to replace once that insurance check comes in? Would you replace that set of Christmas china that gets used once a year (when you remember to pull it out?) Would you replace those boots that always pinched your toes? Or that sweater that made you feel fat? I doubt it, so now’s the time to ditch them for good if you have too much stuff.
2. Discard Clothing That Doesn’t Make You Feel Your Best
One of the easiest spots to declutter is your closet. If you’re honest with yourself, you can quickly determine which items of clothing you actually wear on a regular basis. If you struggle with this, though, try reversing all of the hangers in your closet. When you wear an item, hang it up the correct way. After six months or a year, discard anything that is hanging on a reversed hanger.
*Related: Sitting on an old cell phone? Read our guide on the best places to sell old cell phones for cash and turn it into found money.*
If the hanger method doesn’t work for you, pull out those iffy pieces that you never wear, and make yourself wear each piece throughout the next week. Notice how each piece makes you feel. If something is ill-fitting, too itchy, too fancy, too ostentatious, or if it doesn’t suit your lifestyle, then toss it. There’s a reason you don’t wear it often, so why keep it if you don’t love it?
3. View Your House from a Stranger’s Perspective
Walk into each room and think about what strangers see when they step in. Does each room feel spacious and comfortable? Or does it look cluttered, untidy and smothered? Is it a room you’d want to stay in if you were a guest in your house? Try to see it through someone else’s eyes.
I sometimes catch myself looking at other people’s things and wondering why they have them, but then I remind myself that I also have plenty of things that I keep that others wouldn’t understand. (Why else did I hang onto that janky old snow globe?) We make emotional attachments to the items we keep and no one else has the same attachment to our things that we do, so picturing it from someone else’s point of view can definitely help in the decluttering process.
4. Banish Wishful Thinking
If you have a yoga mat that you never use, skinny jeans that haven’t fit for years, books that you’ve never read, or scuba gear that you kept in the hopes that you would become a master underwater diver, it’s time to be done with your wishful thinking. That’s not helpful.
Tell yourself that you probably aren’t ever going to read that/wear that/take up that hobby. If you truly wanted to do those things, you would’ve done them by now. Let go of the would-bes so you can make room for things that do matter to you. You’re awesome without that stuff. It’s time to let it go.
5. Hide It
If you have something you aren’t sure you want to keep but can’t seem to bring yourself to get rid of it, then start filling up a box with those items. Once it’s full, seal it and put it away on a high shelf or in the basement or attic for 30 days. (You can write the date on the box.)
Once that 30 days has passed, don’t open the box. If you can remember an item in there that you still need, then take it out, but if you can’t even remember what’s in there, donate the unopened box. You won’t miss the items, I promise.
6. Picture Your Dream Room/Closet/Cupboard
Think about how you wish each room in your house looked. In your mind, would they look spacious and clean? Would your closet be stuffed to the brim and your kitchen cupboards have storage containers spilling out of them, or would the clothes hang with breathing room and the shelves in your cupboards be nice and organized?
Whatever you picture in your head, make it happen. That doesn’t mean you should go out and buy a bunch of storage systems; buying more things to corral your other things doesn’t help. Rather, start getting rid of the items you use the least or not at all.
7. Give It a Place of Honor
For items of sentimental value that you choose to keep, make sure they have a place of honor in your home, where they can be appreciated every time you lay eyes on them. If you keep a memento in a box in the attic, where it attracts musty smells, bugs, and dust, do you really love it that much? I don’t think so. Pick your treasures from the attic to display proudly in your house and discard the rest.
I know it’s easier said than done, but decluttering doesn’t have to be drudgery. You can absolutely make it fun, and you will feel so much lighter when it’s all said and done. If you keep items without knowing why, then it’s just weighing you down mentally. You’re paying to maintain it, store it and you’ll come across it again each time you declutter. Why waste all the mental effort? It’s time to realize that you own your stuff, not the other way around.
Do you have trouble getting rid of things? Do you keep a lot of sentimental or “just in case” items? What’s the last room you decluttered and why?