Whether you live in a small apartment or a spacious house, the more time you spend indoors the more you become acutely aware of how much stuff is in your home. The physical clutter in your space can have an impact on your creativity, productivity, and even your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Your home should be optimized to work and feel best for you, and finding that balance can be challenging. If the clutter in your home is causing distractions and stress, it might be time to change your lifestyle. We have some tips on how to get started and maintain a clutter-less lifestyle, beginning with your home.
A quick and easy step to start decluttering your home is by picking out one area to work on. The area can be a pantry, an entryway, closet, or even just a kitchen drawer.
Once you’ve chosen the area, identify what is excess and no longer needed. If you’re familiar with the Marie Kondo method you know that it’s not necessarily about getting rid of everything but about keeping only what serves you and brings you joy. Essentially, it’s about being thoughtful about your possessions because even the smallest alterations to your living space can make a significant difference.
- Organize by easiest to hardest: When you’re ready with your tools — baskets with labels, carts, extra hooks, and hangers — and it’s time to start organizing start with the easiest items in your home. If books hold sentimental value, organize and sort those last. It’s easier to decide if you need three different scissors vs. sentimental items such as 20 different photo albums.
- Folding Technique: There are thousands of folding technique videos online for every type of garment. Find one that works for you and use that to fold your clothes, towels, undergarments, and everything else in your home. Bonus: Take a before and after picture to see the difference.
- Check Expirations: Medicine, makeup, and food in your fridge might be expired. Not all beauty products have an expiration date but a general rule is foundation, concealers, eyeshadows, and powders should be tossed after 12 months, mascara after 3 months, and lipstick after 18 months.
- Zones: Start with specific zones in your home. Take your kitchen for example and dedicate a zone of items that are used most often and organize that zone so that everything can be moved around and be put back in place on a daily basis.
- Segment and sort: We tend to segment and sort during new seasons but if we do it more often it can help sort what we really need. Take everything from your closet for example and decide what you want to keep and what doesn’t need to stay and can be donated.
Take it a step at a time: It’s easier to declutter your home if you break it down by weeks. Pick an area of your home to focus on each week of the month. For example, if you have a long entryway, tackle the jackets, key holder, and shoe rack. If you have a home office, organize the electronics, office supplies, and mail. Don’t take on too much at once because it’s not about decluttering just to declutter. If you start getting rid of everything, you might end up regretting what you throw out and have to spend money to replace the purged item.
Don’t clutter other spaces: Working on one section at a time is great because you can figure out the inventory, decide what is important, and figure out the system that works for you but avoid cluttering other areas in the process. If you’re cleaning and organizing one area of your home, don’t sacrifice the space of another area. Sometimes spaces such as the garage, attic, or shed are great for storage but don’t pile on too much and take up all the space by moving the clutter over.
Have a visual: Imagine what your apartment will look like and build towards that visual goal. Similar to having a vision board, manifest what your dreams are for your home.
Work with what you have: You might need to buy some clear storage boxes and labels but you don’t need to add more stuff to your home. Make smart choices on what you absolutely need to buy and try to use what you already have at home.
Have high expectations: The investment in your home should be a team effort from everyone living in your home. If you live with other people, it should be about teamwork so try to hold everyone accountable in this decluttering journey. It can be as simple as folding the laundry right away and putting it away neatly.
Be patient: Big change is possible but it will take time. Be honest with yourself about what you can take on and be patient about the process because it’s about changing your lifestyle for the long-run. Remember, this shouldn’t be a painful experience.
There are a lot of benefits to decluttering your home. You won’t be dreading opening your closet anymore, you won’t have to haul so many boxes every season, or feel guilty about the things that you throw out. Here are some of the best benefits of decluttering.
Less stress: When everything in your home has a place to live, you’ll spend less time looking for items and feel really good about not wasting time looking for items. No more worrying about having to rush to find things or saying things like, “Where is the remote?”
Less spending: Although this might not be true for everyone at first, when you start getting rid of excess you realize you can live without a lot of stuff.
Elevated energy: Waking up to an organized kitchen is a great way to start a productive day. Small changes in your home can change your perspective and mood. Decluttering will help keep your energy high and your mind clear.
Looking for more great stuff? Check out our tips for storing books in small apartments.
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