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Some Tips and Tricks to Help You Declutter Your Home

A new year is here, and for many, it means time for a fresh start. That fresh start may begin with a thorough decluttering throughout your home.

While this is a project many want to tackle, it can be overwhelming. Maybe you feel you have too much stuff, or maybe you just don’t want to make decisions about what you should keep and what you should get rid of (by either throwing it away, recycling it or donating it). But if you can take the first steps, it will be helpful for you to start 2020 with a home that has exactly what you need and want—and none of what you don’t.

A decluttered home is quicker and easier to clean and organize, allowing you more time to do the things you want to do. You can save money, too, if you become more focused on not buying stuff you don’t really need.

Getting Started

If you feel overwhelmed with the idea of decluttering, start small. Pick one area to tackle, and allow yourself a certain amount of time to work. Maybe you start with a closet, a junk drawer or a small storage space. Or you can start even smaller, like a bookshelf full of books and knickknacks.

Set a timer for 30 minutes to see how much you can accomplish in that time. Even if you don’t get through that space, you’ve still taken the first step (which can often be the most difficult part of the process!).

Ask Yourself These Questions

As you go through each item, as yourself these two questions:

Do I NEED to keep this?
Do I WANT to keep this?

The answers will be easy for some of your belongings, but more difficult for others. But the bottom line is this: If this isn’t an item that you need to keep for regular use, or something you want because it makes you happy, there’s no reason it needs to stay in your home.

Throughout the Process

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you declutter:

- Paperwork. Once you've gone through paper clutter and made a stack of what you need to save (make sure you put your bills aside to be paid!), organize it into folders that you can put in a file cabinet, so you have them on hand if you ever need them. Or, better yet, scan the papers and save them electronically with a cloud storage service so you can easily access whatever you need, whenever you need it, from your computer. This way, you won't have to keep the paper clutter in your house. In fact, many bills and statements can be sent to you electronically, so you don't even get a paper copy in the mail.

- Closets. When you go through your clothes closet, turn all hangers in the reverse direction. Each time you hang up an item you've worn, turn the hanger back in the correct direction. Any hangers that haven't been turned around by a certain pointsay, six months or a yearare items you can probably get rid of, since they aren't being worn regularly.

- Heirlooms and sentimental pieces. If you have an item you want to keep for sentimental reasons, see if you can replace it with something else you own. For example, if you've been storing a chair that belonged to a favorite relative, find a place in your home to use the chair
but then donate the item it replaced.

- Check back later. There will be a few items that you just can't decide if you should keep or get rid of. Put these items in a box and store them away for the next month. If, during that month, you find yourself looking for one of these things, go back and get it out of the box. At the end of the month, go through the box again and see what you have left. Were these items that you missed, or had you forgotten about some of them? If you didn't think about them, it's probably time to get them out of your house.

- Long-term storage. There will be some storage spaces, such as attics and basements, where you put items that you need to keep because you do use them, but you don't use them frequently (for example, beach chairs for your annual beach vacation). Pack these belongings up where they're out of the way, but still accessible when you do need them. To help you further stay organized, make a list of what's stored in these spaces, which will make it easy to find what you're looking for.

Staying Ahead


Once you’ve finished decluttering, your goal is to implement these habits so you can avoid taking on the process again. Instead, stay on top of anything that comes into your house by immediately putting it in the right place—or immediately getting rid of it.

Decluttering doesn’t have to be an overwhelming project! Just tackle one space at a time, for a few minutes at a time. Even if you only go through a drawer a day, by the end of the week, you’ll have gathered a number of items that you can get out of your house. Keep this up, and before you know it, you’ll feel more relaxed in your decluttered, organized home.