We all have things in our homes, both big and small. However, these items can be broken into two fundamental categories: those that we absolutely need (like our toothbrushes or dining table) and those that we don’t (those extra ten pairs of heels in your closet). After some time and as your house collects more material items, things can get a little overwhelming. You may seem to always lose your keys in the midst of it all. Or, you may just feel overwhelmingly stressed for seemingly no reason.
The truth is, when we declutter our living spaces, we declutter our minds. It’s actually been scientifically proven that a clean and uncluttered home can result in you feeling happier and less stressed on a daily basis. Surely we all want to be happier and minimize stress. But I know what you’re thinking; decluttering in a weekend will cause more stress than it’s worth, right? It would take forever and a day to do!
Not true. The great news is, it is possible declutter your home in a weekend. And, when you’re done, you’ll feel an amazing sense of relief that is well worth the time. Here’s how to do it:
Remove emotional attachment to material items
This is the first, hardest, and most vital step in decluttering your home. We tend to hold on to things not because we absolutely need it, but rather because we have an emotional attachment to it. You have to understand that material items are not the source of one’s happiness. Happiness comes from people, memories and experiences. If you’re still holding onto that 1960s fine china collection your grandmother gave you, it might just be time to let it go. I know this may sound extreme, but your grandmother does not live on through the fine china set. She lives on forever in your memories and the experiences you’ve shared. Remove the emotional attachment to material items and decluttering your home will be surprisingly effortless.
Create a strategy. (map out your house, plan which room to start in, anticipate time per room)
Before starting any task, it is best to have a strategy so you know exactly what you have to do, and in the proper sequence. Start by mapping out every room of your home. Then, create a plan to work on the room furthest from the front door first, working your way toward the front of the house. When you reach the front door, you’ll then take everything out of the house that you’ve decided to be rid of.
Buy proper supplies
In order to clean and declutter your home, you’re going to need a few cleaning supplies. This includes a broom and mop, duster, trash bags and bins, rags, and more. Think about each individual room in your house and what cleaning supplies you’ll need for that room. Before you start cleaning your home, be sure to buy these supplies so that you don’t have to stop your decluttering process once you’ve started.
To discard, to donate, or to sell?
All of the items that you decide to get rid of are going to fall into one of three categories: to discard, to donate, or to sell. Buy three bins or get three trash bags and, as you declutter your home, throw these items into their rightful bin or bag. This organization will make it super easy to take these items out of your home once you reach the front door. Simply throw the discard items into the trash bin, take the donate items to your nearest Goodwill or Salvation Army, and list your “to sell” items online or run a yard sale.
Remember the 80/20 rule
Similar to Pareto’s principle regarding cause and effect, we only use roughly twenty percent of the items we actually own. If you really think about it, do you wear all of the shirts in your closet? Do you wear each and every one of your heels consistently? The answer is more than likely no, because we tend to wear only a fraction of our clothing on a consistent basis. As you’re going through your home and deciding what to get rid of, think hard about if you absolutely need certain items. If you really have to think long and hard about it, the answer is most likely no. Throw it into one of the three bags or bins to get rid of.
Stay on track
I remember my first time “decluttering” my home. It was a failure. I was able to clean my kitchen and room with much success. However, once I reached cleaning my closet, my progress came to a complete halt. I stumbled upon an old shoe box where I had collected old photos from high school, old love letters, you name it. I proceeded to spend just about the rest of my day sitting Indian-style in my closet, shuffling through the photos and reading each and every letter.
This is what not to do. To avoid doing this, set a timer for each room based on how long you think it may take you to clean that room. Once that timer goes off, immediately go to the next room. Working against time will help you move at a steady pace and keep you more focused on your goal of decluttering your home.
We tend to work a lot better when we are rewarded for it. You should absolutely celebrate this big accomplishment! Make plans (before you start the declutter process) about what you’ll do after you’re done. Go to the movies. Run a movie marathon with a nice glass of wine. Go out with friends. Whatever it is, make sure that it is something that you truly enjoy. As you clean your home, you’ll be super excited to accomplish your goal so you can reward yourself with some fun.
Have a chat with your family/housemates
Now that you’ve been able to declutter in a weekend, you’ll want to try your best to keep it that way. If you’re living with others, this can be a daunting task if they’re not on the same page as you are. Plan a meeting with them to discuss plans to keep the house clean and clutter-free. Set up house rules if needed. The main goal here is to make sure that everyone is in agreement. When this happens, you’ll be able to keep your house clutter-free with little to no effort. Now that you’ve experienced what it feels like to have a clutter-free home, you’ll never want to go back.