Are you new to decluttering? Or maybe a seasoned pro? Either way, I share the best tips for where to start when decluttering. Plus some answers to some other common decluttering questions.
Why start decluttering in the first place?
Decluttering is a chance to let go of stuff that is no longer serving you and your family anymore. It is a chance to re-set your home and give your home a hug. For me, I was tired of all the extra stuff that I had to manage every single day. I had other things I wanted to do, like learning how to garden. So I reduce the amount of stuff I had to deal with every day. Whatever your reason, I am here to cheer you on. You can do this!
What do I declutter?
I recommend you declutter items that you have not used in a while. For some people “a while” is a year or more, for others, it might be two years. Do what makes you comfortable.
For me, if I haven’t used an item in one year, I will either donate it, or sell it, or toss it (if not in good condition). The one exception is for sentimental items. Those items I will slowly go through when I feel up to it.
What are some decluttering rules to follow?
These are the following decluttering rules I follow:
- Don’t declutter other people’s stuff. I would hate for someone to come in and tell me what I needed to declutter; minimalism mistakes. If a family member or friend asks for help, of course, I will help. But I steer clear of other peoples stuff. The one exception being, I will declutter our young children’s stuff.
- Only pull out what you know you can handle in the allotted amount of time you have. For instance, if I only have ten minutes to declutter, I will only pull out ten minutes’ worth of stuff. I do this so the house doesn’t become more cluttered and messy than when I started.
- Immediately load up donations or post items to sell online right away. Once I have decided to declutter, I no longer want the item hanging around. I try and get the items out of the house immediately. Thus it can’t make its way back into our home.
Where to start when decluttering?
Tip 1: Pick a small area
There are a few different ways to go about where exactly to start with decluttering. You can start with your clothing or your kitchen. Maybe you want to declutter your linen closet. You could start with an area in your home that is driving you nuts. Or maybe you want to start in an area that seems super easy to tackle. Maybe you want to declutter using categories, like Marie Kondo. No matter where you start, you are right!
Possible areas to start could be:
- one drawer/cabinet in the kitchen
- under the kitchen sink
- one shelf in the kitchen food pantry
- the bathroom vanity
- one category of clothing (t-shirts, pants, ect).
- the top of your nightstand
- the junk drawer
- the trunk of your vehicle
- one self in your linen closet
- coat closet
- cleaning cabinet
- one box in the garage
- spice cabinet
- sock drawer
- one shelf in bookcase
When I started decluttering, I started in our garage. I had over twenty boxes of teaching materials that I used when I was a teacher. The plan was for me to continue to stay home with our children. So I did not need all of those unused teaching supplies. I slowly over the course of two years went through the boxes. I donated what was usable to other teachers and students in the community.
Again, where ever you start decluttering, you are right! But I recommend you start small. This leads me to the next tip.
Tip 2: Get a quick win
Pick a small area so you can have a quick victory. This will allow you to feel good and confident which will allow you to continue decluttering other areas in your home.
There is nothing more frustrating than picking a huge decluttering task, getting halfway through, stopping, and creating a bigger mess than when you started. So get a quick win with decluttering first thing.
Tip 3: Set boundaries
Give yourself a time limit in which you declutter. There is something great about having only 5-15 minutes to declutter in. It helps you make fast decisions. This also keeps you from getting too overwhelmed with clutter. Set a timer, get decluttering, and call it good for the day.
Tip 4: Only declutter what you can manage
I briefly touched on this tip, but find it to be super helpful when knowing where to start decluttering. Only declutter what you can handle in the time limit you have to declutter in. You don’t want to make a bigger mess in your home.
If you have an hour to declutter. Then only pull out an hour’s worth of stuff. This is also important if you get interrupted during your decluttering session. It is easy to stop what you are doing, attend to the interruption, aka the children, or pet, or an important phone call. After the interruption, it shouldn’t be too difficult to quickly tidy up and leave it until next time or continue on if the time allows for it.
How do I make decluttering more enjoyable and fun?
Let’s face it, at times decluttering can be boring, challenging, and unfun. Decluttering our homes and lives doesn’t need to be a boring task. Here are ideas to mix decluttering up and allow the process to be enjoyable and fun!
- set a timer
- listen to music
- take before and after photos
- share before and after photos
- invite a friend over
- wear a costume
Craving more ideas? A list of fifteen, fun, silly, and motivational ideas can be found HERE.
Where to Start when Decluttering Conclusion:
If you start decluttering in your kitchen or start decluttering your clothing, no matter where you start, you are right! What area in your home will you start decluttering today?