We skipped spring cleaning this year and all the ‘sheltering in place’ saw us giving shelter to more than the usual suspects. We now have more toys and reading materials lying around, more paper from working remotely and homeschooling, and just more mess from a home being lived in more than ever.
It’s possible that the clutter was always here, but now we’ve reached a tipping point!
The truth is, when things are out of order, it’s tough to relax after a long day—especially when you spot that exploding pile of laundry on the floor, or can’t see the full surface of your dining room table.
If your home feels disorganized and disheveled, try rethinking your situation in order to give belongings a home. This doesn’t mean that you have to go all Marie Kondo or embrace minimalism. Hone in on the spots which tend to accumulate mess the most – is it the entryway to the house or the desk in the kitchen? – and why.
To get motivated, let’s review the most popular tips from decluttering experts.
10 Basic Home Decluttering Guidelines
1. Everything you own should have a home.
Just like you have somewhere specific for your cutlery, find a set spot to put all the craft supplies, games, and take-out menus. An easy way to start is to utilize a ‘container’ like a magazine holder, tray, or basket, to hold a grouping of similar items.
2. Put things back in their place before the dust settles.
Return it either immediately after use (I see you, keys) or at the end of the day (later, LEGOs).
3. If you haven’t used it in a year (two at the most), part ways.
This can be hard to do with clothes, books, makeup or toys—but it’s a rule that really works.
4. Baskets, bins, drawers, and shelves are the right places to store things.
Not surfaces. There are certain areas of your home that are designed to hold your stuff. These simplify the clean-up process.
5. Add storage furniture to rooms that need something more.
If you’re finding the playroom is getting a little too crazy or your tween’s floor is overflowing with stuff, figure out what needs organizing and incorporate storage solutions. If built-in shelves aren’t possible, look for open shelving units and add containers to suit your needs.
6. Add shelving with lidded storage bins to organize storage areas such as closets, basement, shed, and garage.
Clear plastic makes it easy to see what’s inside; and stackable bins are best. Use open baskets for things that require easy, quick access.
7. Define limits with items that are taking up a lot of space.
Do you like to keep boxes? I do, because boxes can be useful—but a bunch of empty shoe boxes take up too much real estate. If you like to collect items, figure out a way to put the best pieces artfully on display and free up space.
8. Throw away damaged or broken items.
Get rid of the “this must be fixed at some point” things because if it isn’t important enough to fix it quickly, do you really need it?
9. If it doesn’t fit, get rid of it.
This is the decluttering mantra for clothing and shoes. For example, each time your child tells you that an item of clothing is too small, place it in a shopping bag in the closet, out of the way. When the bag’s full, pass it on.
10. Organize one annoying thing at a time.
What issue is bothering you the most? Marie Kondo’s theory is to work through each category, e.g. clothing, books, etc. before moving on to the next while other experts prefer to declutter room by room. Either works: Take on a little spot and you’ll feel motivated by each small victory to continue further.
Storage Ideas to Get You Started
Baskets are your best friend in the decluttering department. Great for stashing toys, electronics, and extra blankets.
This wall organizer is a brilliant way to keep track of smaller things that you need when exiting the house (and keeping track of what day it is).
Lastly, if you get your kicks from looking at attractively organized homes or just want a wealth of organizing tips, check out Remodelista The Organized Home and the Organized Home website which is completely dedicated to stylish DIY home organization.