A few days ago, I wrote up three points to help prep for simplifying and decluttering your home in time for a good Spring cleaning! Today, as promised, we will go more into the actual process itself. I love a good declutter!
If you didn't get a chance, hop on over to the previous post so you can be all caught up! Preparation and intentionality are key to making this work :)
I think I could write separate, detailed posts about each of these, but I spared you and condensed everything in a few points per room. I so do love lists, don't you? Of course, everyone is different and has different decluttering needs. This is meant to be a guide to help you with your decluttering and simplifying.
First, let's tackle some excuses we might come up with for items. Ideally, you want to only touch each item once in this process (do you have your boxes/bags ready?):
Sentimental Items. These are probably the hardest thing to deal with. If someone special gave you an item, or a certain item holds a fond memory, it may be hard to let go! This was actually the biggest thing that kept me from making radical decisions when it came to decluttering. I had boxes of cards that people had given, and items that collected dust on shelves. Before I knew it, I was overwhelmed - but I still couldn't give them up. It took a while before I realized that a lot of these things were just clutter in my life. I finally went through everything and managed to decide on a few items to keep in a memory box. Everything else I took pictures of (if I deemed it worthy) and donated/sold/threw out the rest.
Item you think you might need in the future. Honestly, if you haven't used it by now, you likely won't. Accept that it is just taking up space, and it needs to go. I should probably let go of the ice cream maker I have hiding in my cupboard now that I think about it...
Items that were expensive. Yeah, that happens - we don't always make the best purchase decisions. Everyone makes mistakes. But if you're not using it, why are you holding on to it? Think about other purchases you likely don't make too wisely, like the phone plan you spend way too much on or all those fast food stops. Though not material, a lot of money goes into these things for some people. Is it any different? Something to chew on anyway (no pun intended).
Be honest about your clothing - Oh man, I think I could write a complete separate post about this one. Get rid of everything that doesn't fit, is worn out or beyond repair, things that you don't love wearing, and items that you haven't worn for a year (if you didn't wear it last summer, you probably won't wear it this summer either). I like to use thredUP to send my great condition clothing to and make a little money (Send your used clothes there to sell! And buy great second hand items there too! Here’s a link for $10 for you to use to find something you actually love!)
Accessories, shoes and scarves too! - Say goodbye to the accessories and scarves you don't wear anymore or don't fit your style. Trust me, you'll feel better once you do!
Critique your sock drawer - it's time to let go of the socks that have no partner and the underwear with, gasp, holes! Anything with worn out elastics probably should be purged as well.
Remove things that shouldn't be in your bedroom at all! - Your bedroom is for sleeping and dressing and escape. Why is there a toothbrush in your closet and a rubber duck under your bed?
Reduce items on surfaces - Clear the top of your dresser and your side tables, and limit items to 3-5. It's soothing to see clear surfaces.
Get rid of unnecessary duplicates - Do you really need 5 whisks and 9 sauce pans? Chances are that your burner can't handle that many pots at a time anyway...
Spices and canned food that are outdated or you never use - Don't forget to check your fridge and freezer! I like to use bins in my cupboards and fridge to keep things organized :)
Extra dishes you never use - Also the ones that are broken/or chipped.
Small appliances you don't use - Remember that ice cream maker I mentioned earlier.....?
Containers with no lids - If you have a giant drawer full of Tupperware with mismatching lids and pieces that are no longer useable, I urge you to please, please get rid of them. Limit and organize!
Linens - That one ratty dishcloth needs to go. You know the one I'm talking about.
Throw away soaps, lotions, cosmetics, etc., that you haven't used in a year - or don't plan on using (think of all of those Christmas sets you received last year). You also probably don't need six tubes of lipstick...
Expired medication - Medication should not be kept in the bathroom due to moisture anyway. Take expired goods to a pharmacy to be disposed of properly.
Duplicates - The four boxes of bandaids under the counter are probably not necessary. Weed through and consolidate.
Linens - Get rid of completely worn out towels and those with holes in them. Five towels per person in the household is also a bit excessive...decrease to two and add one or two for a guest.
DVDs, CDs and Video Tapes - In this digital age, do you really need or use these? Digitalize what you can and get rid of the rest.
Magazines/Newspapers - Get rid of editions you don't read or need anymore unless you're planning on making a collage TODAY. Otherwise, say goodbye. I agree, there's nothing like flipping through a magazine, but digital copies do help keep clutter down if you would consider...
Games that are missing pieces or games you don't play - replace pieces if you really like a game, but get rid of games or toys that aren't played with! You really don't need them.
Papers! - Unless you've gone paperless (we'll tackle digital clutter next), you have likely collected quite the amount of paper! Go through old papers and shred what you no longer need, and file what you do. If you are not completely sure about something, I would vote scanning and still shredding it. Just don't shred your birth certificate. Not a good idea.
Clear off your desk - Keep what you leave on your desk to a minimum. It's much easier to get work done that way anyhow.
Junk Drawer? - I will admit I had one of those in my desk - until I decluttered. It is now an orderly collection of materials I need. I had some random things in there - like key chains and old batteries...it was a scary sight. You don't need these things either! It's such relief when I can go in there and find the essentials I'm looking for right away.
Emails - this is a large undertaking indeed. Delete all time sensitive emails (expired coupons, deals, etc.) and emails you no longer need. Archive important emails.
Contacts - there are probably a lot of contacts you no longer need to have - like your brother's best friend's sister's cat's previous owner, with the email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictures - I feel as though I'm constantly cleaning my photos because I neglect to do it right away. You don't need blurry pictures that are impossible to decipher...and that one photo you took 50 times to get a perfect shot? Just keep the one perfect one.
Create a filing system and stick to it - Create a system that works for you. Folders can be your best friend! Go through old documents and get rid of ones that are no longer relevant or useful. Digital clutter is a real thing!
Clear your desktop - Having a clear desktop is amazing. Clear it off after every project to avoid having to search through it, wasting time and energy.
Feeling ambitious? - Back up all of your files and reset your computer to the factory settings! It feels great - like getting a brand new computer! I do this on my devices once a year.
Go through boxes of stuff - you know the ones I'm talking about. You probably haven't looked through these boxes in years - do you really need to keep what's in them?
Throw out old paint, oil, cleaning supplies, boxes, newspapers, etc. - do it responsibly though and recycle what you can :)
Get rid of tools you never use - if you haven't used that electric saw or wood detailer ever, you might just want to sell them...
Exercise equipment - commit to using it, or say goodbye.
Holiday Decor - Do you still use that wreath from 1978? No? Toss it. Consider minimizing your decor in general - less is more!
Go through the glove compartments - There might be more trash in there than useful items! Organize or throw away receipts and other papers (important papers fall under the 'organize' category, okay?).
Check the trunk - The less weight you have in your car, the better! At one point, I had a few half-filled bottles of antifreeze in my trunk... Consolidate what you can and store everything else away properly. You should keep that extra blanket in the trunk though.
Phew. I think that's enough for now. Did I miss anything? If you've ever decluttered before, you likely know what a difference it makes in your life.
Do you plan on decluttering and simplifying your home this Spring? I hope so! In this case, I wish you a happy decluttering and a wonderful weekend!