Spring Cleaning: DeCluttering For Good

woman dancing in clean living room
riccardo.fissore via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Do you ever feel like you’re fighting a never-ending battle to keep your house clean? *Raises hand* Maybe it’s not a lack of nifty containers, baskets, or closet space. Maybe, it’s an excess of stuff. I know that’s our problem. With three kids, 3 sets of grandparents, and 2 sets of great grandparents all nearby, our kid’s clutter has reached critical mass. Add to that our hobbies and clutter, and we have way too much stuff. I know we’re not alone. I see that guilty look on your face.

I decided Step 1 of decluttering project would be “The Purge.” Just as ruthless as the movie, but with less bloodshed.

I got so overwhelmed thinking about the amount of stuff we had that I kind of just procrastinated and put The Purge off for a while. I would get all amped up to do it and then sit down and look at decluttering tips on Pinterest. I am such a sucker for before and after pictures. I wanted those results, but knew they couldn’t be achieved in the 7 minutes it took to read an article.

Instead of trying to declutter the entire house at once, I suggest breaking it down by room and doing a little each day. If you try to do it all at once, you’ll probably end up on the floor crying while surrounded by a huge pile of stuff and contemplating a huge bonfire.

For the purge, make 4 piles:

1. Keep – things you love and use regularly

2. Toss – things that are either badly stained, broken, missing pieces, or otherwise can’t be donated

3. Donate – things that are useable, but you don’t love or use

4. Maybe – things that you occassionally use, but need to replace or things that aren’t quite up to par but will work until you can find a replacement.

Once everything is sorted into the four piles, immediately take the “Toss” pile out to the trash and load the “Donate” pile into the car. Our local Goodwill is only five minutes away, so it’s pretty quick for me to just run over there, unload, and grab my receipt for tax time. Write-offs, people! After that, put away the “Keep” pile and the “Maybe” pile. As you replace the “Maybes”, donate them as well.

Take-Away Tips:

1. Get rid of things that are broken or you don’t like.
2. Get over the guilt associated with giving away a gift. If you don’t like it, let it go.
3. When in doubt, throw it out!