Everybody wants to live in a neat, well-organized home with designated cabinets free of clutter and disposable items. More often, people will move inessential belongings from one room to another until it’s time to downsize or create more space that they consider decluttering. Regardless of your reasons for removing unwanted items, we have rounded up some helpful tips for your reference in the sections below.
1. Set Decluttering Rules
Before you begin decluttering or downsizing your home, you want to set clear goals and understand the motivation behind these goals. For instance, are you decluttering your garage to create more space? Or do you want to eliminate specific items that are becoming a nuisance? Understanding your goals is key to setting decluttering and downsizing ground rules. This will help you avoid decluttering mistakes such as moving clutter from one room or space to another or giving up items you may still need in the future like an old bathtub when you have installed a new one.
Ideally, you want to decide what to do with each item within your home. If you do this right, you’ll have at least four options as to what happens to your belongings. Typically, you’ll have items to keep, sell/donate, recycle/trash, or pass it down to a friend or family member. Choosing which item fits into what category is often challenging, especially if you are used to keeping everything you perceive to be of value. This is where the next step comes in – taking inventory of your items.
2. Take Inventory of Your Items
Once you have your goals right and have listed a few decluttering/downsizing rules, you want to proceed to map out the essential items you have in your home. Unless you take this step seriously, you are more likely to miss some items or, even worse, get rid of things you actually need. Through this process, you can decide what to keep, what to donate or sell, and what to outrightly throw away.
To keep a clear record of everything, you want to move room by room with a notebook and a pen. Begin by listing all the items you can see and checking the appropriate action for each. For example, if you’ve some old electronics lying around in the kitchen, list them by name and tick recycling as the appropriate action. Once done with the exercise, you’ll have a detailed inventory of every item, including their specific location and what to do with each of them. This makes your work easier when decluttering, downsizing, or getting your property ready for sale.
3. Get Rid of Unwanted Items
Creating a plan to get rid of unwanted items is perhaps the most challenging part of the entire decluttering or downsizing process. Generally, there are things you can do to get rid of redundant, old, or unnecessary items. These are:
Go through your inventory and highlight the items you wish to donate. The goal is to transfer ownership of the things you no longer need to those who need them. Most charities within your area will gladly accept clothing, household items, shoes, and toys. By donating, you not only help someone else and add value to society, but you also create space and reduce luggage when it’s time to relocate.
Staging a garage sale could be a great idea if you are moving out to a smaller home but have some items you do not wish to carry. This is especially true if you need extra cash to foot some bills. Items such as books, furniture, power tools, lawn equipment, and even kids’ clothes may fetch a reasonable price and help pay the moving fees.
Not everything within your home can be sold or donated. You could have some valuable items that are more personal to you, but you cannot carry them to your new home. These are often things of value that hold years or decades of memories. An example would be a gift from your childhood years or something you inherited from your parents or grandparents and would wish to pass them down as a gift as well. Where necessary, you can preserve the emotion or memory of such items by taking a picture of them before passing it along to a relative or family member.
Anything you cannot keep, donate, sell or pass to someone as a gift would need to be disposed of properly. Instead of finding a dumpsite and planning for the transportation and permits, you want to hire a dumpster to do the heavy lifting. Some items that will fit this category include broken appliances, obsolete household items, and tattered furniture.
Decluttering and removing extra or unwanted items can be pretty demanding. You’ll often need to strategize and plan everything from scratch since every home and individual needs vary. A solution is to take your time to understand your goals and ensure every item falls into its rightful place. Where necessary, seek help from close friends, or professional declutterers in your area.