It's easy to get overwhelmed by clutter. The piles of papers on your desk, the items that've been hiding under the bed for months—all of that stuff can start to feel like a weight on your shoulders. It might even seem impossible to clear it all away, but we promise you, it isn't! We've helped many clients declutter their homes and simplify their lives over the years, and we've discovered a few tricks along the way that make this process much easier than you think!
How to Decide What to Keep and What to Toss.
When deciding what to keep and what to toss, we encourage our clients to consider their needs. What do you need the item for? Do you use it now, or at least once a year, for a specific task, or are you keeping it “just in case”? For just-in-case items, if you do end up needing them in the future, is there another way to get the item (like borrowing from a friend or purchasing a new one)?
If it’s something you can easily replace for under $20, if you need it in the future, then worst case is you’ll spend under $20 to replace it, and you can donate it. The space and mental clutter you clear now by letting go of all those “just in case” items makes the risk of needing to buy one thing again in the future seem not so bad.
If you're having trouble determining whether an item has sentimental value, ask yourself: If I didn't have this [item], would I miss it? Do I remember where I bought/gave/received [it]? If it’s not something you remembered you had or even care about seeing on a daily basis, it’s not something worth holding onto. We encourage many clients to take a photo of the item, so they can remember it, then let it move on to another owner!
Say Goodbye to Things You Don't Need.
Decide what you want to keep, and what you want to throw away. Once something is in the toss/donate pile, do not pull it back out. Make your final decision and be done with it. We take donations away for clients each session. That way, the decision is made and you don't have the urge to second guess things (or drive around with donations in your car for months).
You may be tempted to try selling items that seem valuable, but if you don’t already have a plan in place to sell those items, chances are they will sit around for a while. Even the best of intentions can get pushed to the side due to overwhelm.
If your stuff isn't worth much in monetary value (it can help to set an amount, say $50 or more per item that you can realistically sell it for), consider recycling or donating it. If it’s totally unusable or not worth repairing, toss it. You’ll instantly feel lighter!
Setting Up Organizing Systems.
Creating functional systems is what it's all about at Hello Simplified. We want your home to work for your individual needs. We give every item a home, so it's not only easy to find items, but it's also easy to put things back where they belong.
Using labeled containers makes daily life simple. You’ll know where everything goes, and if an item doesn’t have a home, this can be an indicator that either you already have too many items or it’s not something worth keeping.
Avoiding Clutter in the First Place.
It's not always possible to avoid clutter, but with a few reminders in place, you can avoid clutter in the future. Some rules we like for maintaining an organized home are: Don't leave things lying around - put them away as soon as you're done with them. Don't buy things you don't need, and don't keep things you don't use just because you paid money for them.
Let it Go if it Doesn't Bring You Joy.
As you declutter, it's important to keep in mind that not everything needs to be kept. If it doesn't bring you joy, or if it doesn't serve a purpose in your life, then it's time for that item to go.
The same goes for things that aren't used often enough and have no sentimental value attached to them. There are many reasons why people hold onto things like this: maybe they think they might need them someday; maybe they don't want to throw away something expensive; or maybe they feel guilty because it was a gift. It’s time to let go of the guilt and reasoning with ourselves as to why we need to hold onto things we don’t love or use. If they aren’t serving a purpose in your home, let them go!
Hopefully, this guide has helped answer some of your questions about decluttering and how to get started. However, if you’re overwhelmed or just want a partner in decluttering, we are here to help. As professional organizers, we can simplify the process and get your home decluttered and organized efficiently.
Ready to get started and learn more? Download our organizing guide to see how we can help!
At Hello Simplified, we specialize in helping clients going through big life changes. We offer home organizing services and packing & unpacking services. Read through for tips on how we help our clients feel less overwhelmed and more in control of their busy lives and homes.