AV 069 – Practical Tips to Declutter your home – one room at a time

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Did you know your home is like a mirror reflecting your emotional state?

Yep, you read it right – and clutter is a sure telltale sign of inner struggle. Where am I going with this? Why do we create clutter? Often it’s in an attempt to try to fill some void inside us. So how does decluttering our home effect us on a deeper level?

Here are a few benefits of what tidying up and clearing out can really do for us:

  • less time spent picking up
  • it’s easier to clean when there isn’t clutter in the way
  • more time for things and people that are important to us
  • freedom from holding on to the past and “someday”
  • creating more space to live in the “moment” and be more present
  • happier outlook – you are surrounded by things that bring you joy
  • money and more mindful purchasing – you learn to ask yourself if you “really need” it?
  • when we declutter our home – usually our mind follows

By decluttering and removing excess from your home, from your life, a shift in perspective happens. At least for me, it did.

I was always one to feel calmer, with fewer things around. I feel less “consumed” by my consumption I could say… Traveling can create a great opportunity to truly appreciate this and understand this. I really noticed this amongst my yearly trips to India. While I was there – I really only wore a few of the same pieces of clothing  (yes, of course, I washed them – regularly). So year after year I would try to minimize my luggage even more. Now, not everyone travels… I get that. I am using this an example to state my next point. By minimalizing, you start to literally strip away these layers and understand that what you wear, what you have, or what you own are not you! That these materials, these objects don’t define who you are, or fulfill those voids you may be experiencing.

Everyone has a little ‘junk’ lying around the house. Sure, some of us have more than others. Regardless of how much stuff you have, everyone can benefit from getting rid of clutter and things they don’t need anymore.

I don’t know about you but I know if there is a mess around I feel my stress levels rise. Rarely would this be identified as the culprit for most peoples stress – however Psychology Today breaks down how clutter can affect us on a more psychological level. Don’t you want to choose to live free from stress? You do know you have a choice, right? If you want to make a change and create more “space” and freedom in your life – start with your home. 

HOW TO DECLUTTER YOUR HOME

Tackle One Room At A Time

Let’s face it if you try to tackle your whole home you are going to get overwhelmed and just stop!

The better way – declutter one room at a time. Seems more manageable doesn’t it? And well, less intimidating 😉

BEFORE YOU GET STARTED CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:

  • Make a list of all the rooms in your home and set dues dates of when you want them to be organized by. Be realistic with yourself when setting these goals. You can even go to the extent of ranking how cluttered each room is so you have a better plan of attack as to which room to do first.
  • Start with your storage room – so you have a place for things… 
  • If you need some encouragement, reward yourself after you have finished each room 

Now, remember when you were a kid and your mom/dad asked you to clean up your room and you opened your closet and started to throw everything in there. Yeah, well that we want to avoid. Don’t “pile move” this is just procrastination and well laziness.

Deal with the clutter – and this next tip will help you find a place for it.

Categorize Your Things

As you go through the room a system will help. The easiest one… gather 3 boxes and label them as follows:

KEEP

GET RID OF

STORAGE

KEEP – after you have sorted, put these items in their new found space – neatly.

GET RID OF – these items may be ones to throw out, donate, or maybe sell. Figure out a game plan for them and do it within the week of organizing your room.  Or use it as a motivator to get the remaining rooms of the house done and then take everything at once to donation, or post it to sell online, or have a garage sale.

“One person’s clutter is another person’s treasure.”

Whatever you choose – GET RID OF IT!

STORAGE – Put these items in a storage bin (organized) and label it, put them in your storage.

Make a commitment

Don’t think because you got rid of things, that you have created some space for new things… commit to the fact that you will keep your home clutter-free.

TIP:  If you buy something new, remove something old.  This way you won’t accumulate.

Declutter One Room At A Time:

Let’s look at some specific ideas on how to tackle each room in your household. 

KITCHEN

  • Test appliances – ask yourself if you use them?
  • Downsize your tableware… plates, cups, bowls, etc… If you host events a few times a year just put the extra tableware in storage.
  • Keep it simple, do you really need a cookie jar on the counter? Or how about the flour jar? Maybe you bake daily – so that totally makes sense. What I am trying to suggest here is to keep counters etc. Minimal – only have the things you use on a regular basis. Now I know you will try to convince yourself “well, maybe having the flour out will inspire me to bake more” Really? Okay, well don’t argue with yourself but give yourself a time limit and track how many times you actually use it within the next week.
  • Check expiry dates, etc… trash it if it is no longer good or if you don’t want to be eating it. We provide a whole chapter in our Vegan Weight loss Manifesto book and our AV coaching showing you how to give your pantry a healthy makeover!

BATHROOM

  • Start with your medicine cabinet. Check expiry dates and only put the things you know you need or will use back in the cabinet.
  • Okay, ladies… lotions, face cleansers, hair products and the list goes on. I am sure you have multiple of it all. Do you really need it or use all of it? Be honest with yourself, if it has sat there for the past month untouched – donate, throw out or re-gift it 😉
  • Next one should be addressed on its own – makeup. Go through everything…. and only keep what you REALLY use.
  • Now the same goes for any other drawers, cupboards, and shower.

BEDROOM

  • If you haven’t already – make your bed.
  • Go through your nightstand(s) and clean up books you have finished, multiple pens that have accumulated… keep this drawer tidy and only have the things you really need.

I think I am procrastinating on mentioning this one, as I am sure you procrastinate with decluttering it – YOUR CLOSET!

  • The easiest way is to do this by type – shoes, dresses, pants, gym wear…. etc.
  • Start by grouping everything into these categorized piles. It’s much easier to decide if you want to keep those heels when you are looking at 10 pairs. If you are really not willing to give up somethings but insist you will wear them eventually. Try putting it in storage… see if you really miss it. I learned this from being a “nomad” for like 18 months!
  • Once you filter through everything – now start to categorize them into the 3 boxes – KEEP – GET RID OF (try consignment) – STORAGE.
  • you can also add a laundry pile as well as “fix” pile.TIP: donate or consign any clothes that still have a tag on it! Also when you put your clothes back into your closet you can try the “hanger trick”. When you wear an item turn the hanger around – give yourself say 3 months and take a look at the hangers. The ones turned are items you have worn the ones not turned are ones to maybe reconsider.

LIVING ROOM

  • Probably the hardest to keep clean as it is likely the central room.
  • Go through everything coffee tables, bookshelves, storage trunks… do you use it? Where is the most efficient place to store it? Even filter through your electronics – do you still use your blue-ray or made VCR 😉 Or is Netflix your go-to? Maybe sell, or donate any electronics you don’t want or use. Or recycle any that no longer work properly.
  • Finally, if you have kids – the toys. Look at every toy (maybe when your child isn’t around). Does it still work? Do your kids still play with it? Keep, recycle, donate or store each toy. If your child is in pre-school consider donating some toys to the school or daycare.

I mentioned the most common rooms of a home… you may need to tackle others, like an office, kids room, toy room… same rules of thumb apply – use the 3 box method and start sorting!

Once you have finished making sure you attend to GET RID OF IT pile. The longer it stays around your home the more time you have to second guess your decision.  So make sure you donate, consign, recycle or even re-gift these items ASAP.

If there were items you were really stuck on and couldn’t decide, put it in storage. Have one separate bin that is for Misc items. Having it out of site will really test if you miss it, or need it. Put it on your calendar say 3 months to go through the bin again – if you haven’t scrummaged through it already to get something … then do you really need it? Now GET RID OF IT!

Some questions to help you decide what box to put your clutter in:

Does it make my life simpler or bring me joy?

Do I have more than one?

Is it easily replaceable, or can I borrow it?

The important takeaway is that you are not your things – it does matter how you do it, what you choose to keep, or really how much stuff you end up with. The important thing is allowing that shift in perspective—be proud of who you are even if it is living with less. Understand that the things you own DON’T represent how successful you are, that who you are and what you have IS ENOUGH and that no material or objects can really fill that void – it comes from within you. Now that you have more freedom, and more space, you may start to realize this and connect with it. 

With love and gratitude, 

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