We’re spending a lot more time at home these days, which gives us the opportunity to take stock of all the clutter we’ve accumulated over time! Whether you’ve thought about purging belongings to get your house ready to sell, or you just want to free up some space, here are four decluttering methods you can use at home.
The KonMari Method™
Thanks to the hugely popular Netflix show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” the KonMari Method™ is likely the most recognizable method on this list. Renowned tidying expert, Marie Kondo’s bestselling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” teaches people how to “transform their cluttered homes into spaces of serenity and inspiration.”
Tidy up by category, not necessarily by location. Begin with clothes, then books, papers, miscellaneous items, then finally, sentimental items.
As you go, physically hold or touch the items in your house. Ask yourself: does this spark joy? If the item doesn’t spark joy, set it aside, thank it for its service, then let it go. Keep in mind that some things that spark joy won’t always be rational, but if you really love it, keep it!
If you come across an item and think, “Someday I might need this, therefore I should hang onto it,” think about the last time you needed it? Or the last time you even noticed it? According to Kondo, belongings are stripped of their dignity when they go unused at home. In this situation, just let it go!
Instead of cleaning one room a day, you’re urged to devote an entire day, or weekend, to tidying up. This lessons the likelihood your house will fall back into being cluttered if you wait to tidy over a period of several weeks.
Swedish Death Cleaning
It’s not as morbid as it seems, we promise! Based on the book, “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter,” the idea is to slowly begin decluttering over a period of years, so no one will have to get rid of your possessions after you pass. The author, Margareta Magnusson, decided to write the book after she was left to try and figure out what to do with her parent’s and husband’s belongings after they died.
Begin with the things you have in storage or hidden away somewhere. You can even tell your friends and family you’re beginning this process so they can claim things before you throw them away or donate them.
Throw away anything that might be upsetting or embarrassing for your family to find.
As many folks tend to take a walk down memory lane when going through photographs, letters and journals, leave those until last.
If you know what you’d like to be done with certain items, tell someone or leave a note attached to the item explaining what should be done. For example, if any books should be returned to their original owners or if an item should be donated to a museum.
Create a “throw away” box, filled with items that mean a lot to you, but wouldn’t necessarily hold value for anyone else. This box could hold anything from old programs, love letters or memories from traveling. The idea being, your friends or family may look through the box, but they’d have permission from you to get rid of anything inside.
The Four-Box Method
This method attempts to force decision making in a simple way.
Gather four boxes and label them: trash, give away/sell, storage, or keep. Take the four boxes into every room in your house and place every item into a box. Don’t skip an item, even if you think it’s insignificant. Work on one room at a time to provide yourself with an easy stopping point. When you do stop, immediately throw out the trash, box up the storage box and put the give away/sell box in the garage, or somewhere out of sight. Don’t give yourself time to rescue the clutter!
Trash: This should include any item you don’t need or want, that is not worth donating or selling. If you have belongings that are damaged or broken but aren’t worth repairing, toss them!
Give Away/Sell: If you have possessions you never use that are buried in closets or cabinets, think about who else might benefit from using them! Either donate these items or sell them at a garage sale.
Storage: These items should be ones you cannot part with but do not need on a regular basis. Group similar items together as you go, like out-of-season clothing.
Keep: Ideally, this would be your smallest category. These items are ones you need on a regular basis. Consider however, if you truly have a place for each belonging. If you find they clutter your home, try to reassess if you really need them.
Created by Joshua Becker of the blog, Becoming Minimalist, this system combines both decluttering and organizing.
Each day, locate 12 items to throw away, 12 to donate and 12 to be returned to their proper location. You can even turn this into a friendly competition with your family members!