How to Finish Every Decluttering Project You Ever Start

Inside: If you’re tired of being overwhelmed or never finishing decluttering projects, check out this list of 7 tips that will help know exactly how to finish your decluttering project every time! 

It was a cold day in the mountains and all the campers have just left. We had a few hours before the new campers arrived. As part of the volunteer Summer work crew, one of my jobs was to change the sheets on the bunk beds throughout the camp.

This was a necessary but unglamorous job. At times the immature high-schooler in me did not want to do the job with excellence. Thankfully, I was paired with an older girl who had more wisdom than me. She said something that has stuck with me to this day. She said, “Anyone can start job well it’s how you finish it that matters.”

Many years later, I’ve taken that advice with me when I’ve ended professional jobs, moved to new to cities, or volunteered for organizations.

Despite my commitment to finishing jobs for others, it’s easy to let myself off the hook when it comes to personal matters.

Are you a serial starter?  How many times have you started decluttering only to get stalled in your tracks? Maybe you started a home organization project and got derailed. How many times have you started a diet and gave it up on Friday pizza night? Or maybe you set New Year’s resolutions only to abandon them before the end of January.

If I’m being candid, I’ve done ALL OF THESE!

I can so relate with my readers that share their struggle with finishing decluttering projects.  Recently, I have challenged myself to keep the commitments I make to me just as I would to others.

Let’s look at how you can keep your commitment to yourself by finishing what you started.  We’re going to dive into 7 tips to help you finish every decluttering project you ever start! (spoiler alert, you can apply these tips to more than just decluttering!)

1. Write down your goal

The first thing you should do is write down your goal.  You may not typically think about writing down a goal for decluttering, but writing things down has tremendous benefits!  Here are 7 to consider:

  • It makes you more committed
  • Helps clear your mind
  • Clarifies your goals and priorities
  • It makes you more efficient
  • Helps keep you motivated
  • Encourages consistent progress
  • Gives you a sense of achievement

close up of a woman's hand writing down her decluttering goals

2. Set timeframes and make commitments

In addition to writing down your goal be sure to include timeframes for finishing your decluttering project. You need to break the projects down into smaller tasks. For example, instead of saying I want to de-clutter the kitchen, break it into smaller steps like clean out the junk drawer, declutter under the sink, and organize the cleaning products. Once you break the project into smaller steps assign dates to each step.  These dates are your commitment to the timeframe. 

3. Prioritize

When you’ve broken your decluttering project into smaller steps you can then prioritize the steps even further.  Think about what motivates you. Maybe there’s an eyesore that bothers you every time you walk by. Put that project first on your list and imagine the satisfaction you’ll feel once it’s completed. Or maybe you’re having a hard time getting started… identify the smallest and easiest steps to help build your momentum. Prioritizing your action steps will help you finish your decluttering project every time.

4. Use time-blocking

Alright, let’s admit you’re guilty of multitasking.  Multitasking has been proven to actually make you less productive!  Gasp! How many times do you check your phone for text messages, emails, or Facebook updates?  I’m guilty too!  Time blocking is a simple tool you can use to help you focus your energy for a predetermined amount of time. 

What’s great about time blocking is you can make it work with almost any schedule. I know a woman who started a new business in the midst of running another business and having two young children. She decided she could work on the new business in 25-minute bursts of time. She listed her activities and then blocked off 25 minutes intervals at different points in the day.  Now she has a thriving new business that is significantly more successful than the previous.

To start using time blocking to help you finish your decluttering project, determine the amount that time you can dedicate on a daily or weekly basis. Block out the time on your calendar to commit to your decluttering project.

5. Identify the tradeoffs

Another helpful tip to finish your decluttering project is to recognize the trade-off in advance.

Recently a friend of mine decided to remove the carpet and tile and replace their flooring.  The husband had a 4-day weekend and this was their window of time to do it.  They watched a couple of YouTube videos but had no prior experience.  Four days later the entire family was still working on the demolition.  Their house was a  wreck and in total disorder and now they needed to go back to work so the project wouldn’t be finished until the next weekend.

In this case, identifying the tradeoffs would have looked something like this:

  • All 7 family members will need to be involved in this project which means they won’t be able to do other activities for these 4 days
  • The entire house is going to be in disarray, but it will look great when it’s finished
  • It may cost more money than you expect, so be sure to put aside some extra
  • In the end, it will all be worth it

Identify trade-offs before you start a project and you’ll be better prepared and more committed when things arise.

6. Practice achieving your goals

This is a real confidence booster. Do you know how many times you set yourself up for failure? You make a commitment to a goal so big that it’s highly unlikely you’d ever achieve it.

But big goals are not the only way to get things done. In fact, you’ll be more committed if you experience success if you take things on a little at a time.

Like I mentioned earlier, write down your goal. Make sure it’s a doable and achievable goal. In other words, make sure it’s realistic. If you’ve been burned by not completing projects in the past set out this time to start AND FINISH a small decluttering project. 

The more you see yourself being able to complete the decluttering project the more willing you’ll be to start and finish every decluttering project.

So how do you start small?… One drawer at the time, one shelf at a time, one small space at a time, or projects like cleaning out the bathroom drawer or the kid’s clothing drawer. Write down your goal (commitment), spend an hour or less to get it done, and see yourself achieve the goal.  This will build momentum and help you to finish every decluttering project you ever start! 

Decluterwomen's clothes hanging in an organized closet after she finished her decluttering project.

7. Manage your energy

There are natural points in the day when you have more energy.  Yes, it’s also true right after you have a cup of coffee that you’ll have more energy.  But you also have a natural circadian rhythm.  We have high energy points and low energy points in our day.  For most adults, between 1-3 p.m. is a low energy point.  THIS WOULD NOT BE THE TIME to start your decluttering project.

Maybe you’re an early bird or perhaps you like to stay up late to crank work out.  Think about when you have your burst of energy and schedule your decluttering project in that window of time.

You can also increase your energy by tapping into your internal motivation.  Remind yourself why this decluttering project is important to you.  How will it feel with you’ve completed it?  What benefits will you gain from it?  Will you save time, have less frustration, or just enjoy living in a decluttered space?

If you’re tired of getting stalled on your decluttering project and wondering how to finish every decluttering project you ever start, use these tips!  By writing down your goals, setting dates, and prioritizing your work, you’ll be more committed to the project.  Identifying trade-offs, practicing achieving your goals, and managing your energy will also help you cross the finish line.

So, what are you waiting for?  It’s time to get started (AND FINISH) your decluttering project!

 

 

 

 

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A smiling woman that is happy she finally finished her decluttering project

10 Ironclad Tips to Help You Get Started Decluttering

Inside: If you feel overwhelmed at the thought of decluttering, this list of tips will help you get unstuck. These decluttering strategies will help you take your first step and get started decluttering your home.

It surprised me again. How long had it been since I heard that once familiar sound? It snuck up on me, but I definitely heard a Robin happily chirping outside. The warm sun was pouring through the window and I was reminded that the winter would end soon. Spring would be here before I knew it. My heart lightened in anticipation.
 
Spring is one of the times when I am very motivated to get the house in order. That means decluttering, getting organized, and cleaning. It’s almost as natural as the Robin returning year after year.
But there are many times throughout the year when I struggle with motivation to clean. I know there’s work to be done and I’ll feel better when it’s complete, but oh the struggle to get started.
 
In these cases, I need a compelling reason to get started. Once I get started, it’s like a snowball effect. I make a little progress and get the itch to do more.
 
Do you struggle with how to get started decluttering? Check out these 10 actionable tips to help you get going.
 

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Woman starting to declutter her home with text 10 Ironclad Tips to help you get started decluttering.

1. Start with something easy

One of the biggest motivators is having a sense of accomplishment. Make a shortlist of your top 3-5 areas you want to declutter. Identify the easiest item on the list, hopefully, something that will only take an hour or less. If all your decluttering projects are on a larger scale, break them down into smaller parts. For example, instead of saying “declutter the kitchen.” List it as “declutter the junk drawer in the kitchen”.
 
To get started decluttering pick the easiest thing on your list, set the time for an hour, and get started. What you’ll find is, once you do something that’s important to you and that’s easy, you’ll be motivated to continue.
 

2. Start with a visible high traffic area

It’s one thing to declutter your chest of drawers, but if you don’t go there very often, you may forget the satisfaction you get when it’s clean and organized. By decluttering a high traffic area first you’ll see it frequently and reinforce the positive feelings associated with it. This will help you feel motivated to take on more decluttering projects in your home.
 

3. Reframe your thoughts

Decluttering can often be hard because it’s thought of as a chore. If you reframe your thoughts to focus on the benefits, it can be highly motivational.
So, how do you reframe your thoughts? There are a couple of ways. First, you can think about your vision for the space. Let’s say you have a room that isn’t currently used by your family and it’s become a bit of a catch-all. If you declutter and organize, you can use that space for some other purpose e.g. a craft room, office, or workout space.
 
Another way you can reframe is to list all the benefits you’ll experience by decluttering and getting organized. For example, if you decide to declutter your office papers, you’ll likely experience the following benefits. You’ll save time and frustration not having to look for items. You’ll no longer shuffle piles around. You’ll know where things are when you need them. The space will look neat and tidy.
 

4. Make it manageable…only commit to 30 minutes to an hour at a time

I hear from a lot of readers that you have difficulty getting started because it’s overwhelming. One way to resist feeling overwhelmed is to set time limits on your project. And like I mentioned in the first example, to break it down into smaller steps. So, set a timer for 30-60 minutes and declutter one thing at a time. Start with a drawer, a shelf, or a cabinet. Don’t tackle the entire space at once. If you need some ideas of where to get started decluttering, check out 15-minute decluttering tasks.
 

5. Declutter with a friend

As an extrovert, I’m very motivated to do things with others. This applies especially to anything hard e.g. exercising. Find a friend and commit with that partner what you want to do in a week’s time or a month. Set a deadline. If you want to make the deal even sweeter, determine a reward for when you finish the work. Like you’ll have a glass of wine together.
 

6. Do a garage sale so that you have a date to work towards

Externally imposed deadlines are another great motivator. Set a date for a garage sale or sign up to take part in a church or community sale. This date will help you be motivated to keep going and not give up on decluttering and getting things out of your house!
 

7. Invite people over

This is another magic bullet. If you’re like most, you probably want your home to look nice when you have people over. By inviting people over it will force you to pay more attention to the spaces you’ve been ignoring e.g. the mudroom, kitchen counter, pile of magazines in the living room.

Woman welcoming people to come inside her home after she got started decluttering.

 

8. Block out time on your calendar

Do you feel like something always comes up? It’s hard to get traction and make headway on your decluttering project? One of the challenges with decluttering is sticking with your personal commitment.
Make a promise to yourself and don’t break it. Block time out on your calendar to tackle your project. Think about it in advance. Look at the week ahead, consider your schedule and prior commitments. Then find the windows of time when you can work on your decluttering project. Commit to it like it’s an appointment with someone else.
 

9. Take a “Before” picture

This tip is helpful if you’re working on a space that needs a significant transformation. Take a before picture of the space. Think about your vision- what do you want this space to become, what challenges are you trying to address. Make note of them. Any time your motivation begins to slip, look at your before picture, and remind yourself of your vision.
Once you complete the space, take an “After” picture and save it to a folder of all your decluttering victories. As you do more, your folder will have increased testimonies to remind you that decluttering is doable and the sense of satisfaction you feel when it’s complete.
 

10. Have a plan to donate items

Last but not least, you may struggle with decluttering because you’re not sure where to donate the items. Some things are sentimental, like your great aunt’s china, and other things are like new, but you have no use for it. Make a list of the places where you could donate various items. Check out this post for a few ideas of place to donate.
 

Happy Home Happy Life

In a recent survey over 50% of my readers said the hardest part of a task is getting started. The reality is, we spend more time in our homes than anywhere else. And, by improving our homes we actually enjoy them more. The Happiness Research Institute did a study in 2018-2019 to look at the connection between happiness and home.
They found that “our homes are more important to our overall happiness than our income or jobs.”
Their report also shares that “73% of people who are happy at home are also happy in life.”

Lastly, their study found that

“Taking the time to improve our home

also has a positive impact on home happiness,

regardless of whether we enjoy the process itself.”

 
These 10 tips for helping you get started decluttering will help you improve your home and ultimately your happiness! Take a step now and determine the tips you’ll take and put in place this week!
 

10 Easy Decluttering Projects to do When You’re Stuck At Home

Inside: Don’t let cabin fever get to you. There are easy decluttering and home organization projects you can do that don’t require much time. If you’re stuck inside due to inclement weather or because of a health scare, check out these 10 easy decluttering projects to do when you’re stuck at home!

I woke up to ice and condensation on the INSIDE of our windows. It was another cold day…-19c to be exact. The skies were grey and snow was drifting across the street. The heat from the floor vents was warming my feet. Staying inside was definitely a better choice than going outside today.

I work from home and spend a lot of time in our house, but when you’re stuck at home…meaning it doesn’t feel like it’s a choice to be inside, you can become stir crazy!

Instead of sitting by idly, it’s helpful to keep busy and work on a project…queue decluttering. Remember that closet that you’ve been meaning to get to…or the pile of papers that frustrate you every time you need to find something. Well, this is the PERFECT time to tackle them.

Decluttered closet with sweaters neatly hung up with text 10 Easy Decluttering Projects to do when You're Stuck at Home

Decluttering Project Criteria

Whether you’re stuck inside for a day or weeks, make it your goal to take on small projects you can do with short bursts of energy. Don’t take on something that will be overwhelming or require a lot of time. Aim for projects you can complete in 60-90 minutes.

1. Organize Your Junk Drawer

It can be so satisfying to organize your junk. Seriously, when you see the transformation it is very rewarding. Picture unused birthday candles, coins, hair bands, pens, paperclips, and batteries. These are just a few of the things we found in our junk drawer.

Junk drawers are convenient and, in my opinion, necessary, but they need to be functional. If you can’t find anything in them or have no idea what they contain, then they are not helpful and will be frustrating at times.

So, how do you make it useful? Sort the items into ‘like’ categories. Discard broken items, garbage, and items that you will not use again e.g. a burnt birthday candle.

Use things you have around the house to help separate and organize your small items. E.g. an iPhone or other technology box, a mason jar, or an empty plastic food container.

2. Declutter Your Bathroom Vanity

Cleaning out under the bathroom sink, a drawer or a cabinet is another good area to organize when you’re quarantined.

Throw away any of the following items that are over a year old:
• Lotions
• Cosmetic samples
• Make up
• Expired medicines

Like the junk drawer organization process mentioned above, sort things into like categories and use containers to help separate.

3. Organize the Coat Closet

If you’re like me, you may not think of your coat closet until you have guests come over and they need to hang up their coats. Remove any coats that have collected there or that family members have outgrown.

Relocate items that shouldn’t be there e.g. sports equipment, hobby gear, games, whatever!

Organize things so that you can easily access space for coats when guests visit.

4. Clean out Your Deep Freeze

How many things get buried in the back of your freezer. If only you knew what was in there…you might be able to save some money on groceries. It takes surprisingly little time to clean out and organize your freezer.

Throw away any food with freezer burn and use the chart below to determine what other food should be discarded.

Food

Lasts in the Freezer
Raw beef, veal, lamb, and pork4-12 months
Raw poultry9 months
Lean fish (flounder)6 months
Fatty fish (salmon)2-3 months
Wild game8-12 months
Ground meat3-4 months
Bacon, sausage, luncheon meat, or hotdogs1-2 months
Cooked meat2-3 months
Cheese6 months
Butter6-9 months
Milk3 months
Yogurt1-2 months
Cream, half-and-half4 months
Most fruits10-12 months
Most vegetables10-12 months
Casseroles2-3 months
Soups2-3 months
Pizza1-2 months
Cakes4-6 months
Cookie dough2 months
Fruit pies, baked2-4 months

Once you’ve discarded the expired food, make a list of the food that remains in your freezer. Then incorporate the items into your weekly meal plan and save money grocery shopping!

5. Organize the Pantry

Cleaning out your pantry is also a good thing to do when you’re trapped inside. Your pantry is likely larger than your freezer, so you may want to break down the work into smaller parts. For example, instead of cleaning out the entire pantry, just do one shelf or one area at a time. You want to keep busy, but not get overwhelmed! However, if you’re on a spring-cleaning streak and have the motivation…go for it!!!

Check out this post for details on how long pantry food lasts and this one for ideas on organizing your pantry!

6. Pair Mismatched Socks

If you’re like most modern families, you probably have a pile of mismatched socks sitting somewhere around your house. Well, here’s your chance to finally deal with them.

Put on your favorite show, place all of the socks in front of you and try to match them. If you can’t find a match, then it’s time to discard the pile!

7. Eliminate Paper Clutter

Do you have a stack of papers you’ve been shuffling around the house? How many times have you touched that pile in the last month? I’m willing to bet it’s been more than once.

Sort into the following categories:
• Shred
• Recycle
• Action required e.g. pay a bill
• File

The File category will need to be future sorted. The good news is, you don’t have to keep many papers on hand. Check out this post for the types of documents you need to keep and for how long you need to keep them.

Pile of papers - easy decluttering project

8. Organize Your Tupperware Drawer

Another easy project in your kitchen is decluttering your food storage containers. Remove any containers that don’t have their partner…the lid or the container. Organize lids vertically like a file folder. Stack containers by shape…square containers, rectangle, circle etc. from largest to smallest.

9. Declutter Your Book Shelf

How many books do you have on your shelf? Are you still interested in all of them? How frequently do you pick them up to read? If your bookshelves are overburdened with books, use this time to sort through and declutter.

Remove any books that no longer interest you or that you have electronic copies of. Remember most user manuals are online now, so you can recycle any that you have hard copies of.

If you have a hard time getting rid of books, set a goal of the number you want to get rid of. This will force your hand a bit and help you prioritize as you review the titles.

Pile of books that were easily decluttered

10. Organize Your Board Games

The last area you can declutter if you’re quarantined is your board games and puzzles. Discard any games that are broken or missing parts. If you have games you no longer use or your kids have outgrown, put them in a pile to donate.

Being stuck inside is a good time to bond with family or friends. You can organize your games, cards, and puzzles and pull out a couple to play together while you’re stuck inside.

Things to do when you’re Quarantined

Don’t let cabin fever get to you. There are easy decluttering and home organization projects you can do that don’t require much time. If you’re stuck inside due to inclement weather or because of a health scare, make a plan to become productive and tackle projects you’ve put off in the past.

 

 

 

 

How To Declutter Your Kitchen Counters – Like a Pro

Inside: Stop kitchen clutter with these practical decluttering steps and kitchen countertop storage solutions.

Usually, around 7 p.m. my husband and I are struggling to not raise our voices as we deal with the kid’s bedtime drama.  But one night a month, I have a reprieve, G.N.O. (Girl’s Night Out) also known as “book club.”  It’s a much-needed break from the ordinary.

My neighborhood friends and I relax with a cool glass of fresh, crisp, citrusy white wine.  We talk over warm appetizers and sugary desserts.  Laughter fills the room as we share stories of our kids’ latest antics and other life musings.

This night, book club would be at my house.  And it was time for me to unleash the cleaning tornado.  Time to sanitize, dust, and declutter so that the home is welcome to visitors once again.

Clutter-free kitchen counters with text How To Declutter Your Kitchen Counters Like a Pro

Kitchen Counter Clutter Battles

The kitchen counter is where you likely fight daily battles with clutter.  It’s the landing spot for so many things…mail, homework, rubber bands, and hairbrushes.  And those are only the things that shouldn’t be there.  You’ve still got dirty dishes, the sticky cutting board leftover from cutting fruit at breakfast, and crumbs from the last kid that cut her muffin before eating it.

This is one clutter challenge I wrestle with on a daily basis.  Because we constantly struggle with it, I have figured out some tips that can help all of us.

Dealing with Kitchen Countertop Clutter

First and foremost, you need to understand why you have a clutter problem, to begin with. Here are three reasons you should consider.

  • Homeless – Something doesn’t have a home or designated place so it floats around and often ends up on the counter.
  • Poor Routine – Family members are not practicing daily routines and habits to keep the counter clear.
  • Lack of process – You don’t have a process in place for managing the new things that come into your home e.g homework, mail, or the latest toy from the kids’ happy meal.

Do it now:

  1. Take a look around. What clutter is on your counter?  Is it reoccurring clutter, meaning, it usually reappears every week. 
  2. Consider why it’s on the counter. Is it there because it’s homeless, family members are not putting it in the right place, or you don’t have a process in place?
  3. Write down the trouble spots and the reason for the clutter.

Professional Tips for Decluttering Kitchen Counters

Before starting any decluttering or organizing process, it’s always helpful to know what the pros say.  If you were going to hire an organizer, they would give you a few guiding principles to help you get organized.

  • Give it A Home – Make sure everything has a home or it will continue to float around and end up as clutter. If the electrical tape keeps ending up on the counter and you move it around from week to week.  You need to pause and think, where is the best place for this item and put it there.
  • Behind closed doors – Spaces look clutter-free when things are neatly put away out of sight. Consider your cabinet and pantry space.  What things can you take off of your counter and move to a hidden location?  Things like a toaster, blender, or cookbooks often fall in this category.
  • Use Attractive Storage Containers – There are some things you’ll want out on the counter, like a bowl of fruit. Instead of just placing the bananas or tomatoes directly on the counter.  Find a pretty bowl, potentially one that you already have, and use it to store your fruit.  The same can work for mail, sugar for coffee, or utensils.  Instead of a bowl, you may use a basket, canister, or bin.
  • Implement the One In – One Out rule – As you bring new appliances, dishes, or serving ware into your home, make sure to remove something from the space. This will help you to maintain your space and prevent future overcrowding.
  • Go Vertical – Make use of every vertical space.  For example, we put cutting boards vertically filed above our microwave in a space where practically nothing else could work.  Vertical space works well for spices, racks, and shelves.

Kitchen Countertop Storage Solutions

Now that you have a few tips from the professionals, let’s get to the nitty-gritty.  These are really practical steps you can do today.  Refer to the list you made earlier with the type of clutter that’s on your counter.

Paper Clutter DIY Solutions

If you find receipts, recipes, and mail often end up on your kitchen counter, then you need a paper clutter solution.

  • Create an incoming mail bin. Find an attractive basket or box, to put mail in when your first bring it in.  Give yourself a timeline to go through the mail and sort it.  A best practice is to do it immediately when you bring it into the house.
  • Get a folder or a plastic pouch for receipts if you save them for tax purposes or in case of returns. Otherwise, recycle!
  • Establish a command station if you have space. My daughter brings home a ton of schoolwork every day.  The sparkly glitter, colorful construction paper, and Crayon drawings became a mountain of clutter at the edge of our counter.  It lasted for weeks and clearly wasn’t a problem that was going away.  It called for a solution.  We created a mini-command station in our mudroom (near her backpack) where she could put her homework folder and any incoming papers.  The clutter is now gone from the counter!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Trinkets and Misalleanea Storage Solutions

  • Create an organized junk drawer. You may find random things land in your kitchen like never used birthday candles, all of the extra batteries in the house, flashlights, and rubber bands.  Designate a drawer or two for these things.  Fill the drawer with little containers to divide and create zones.  You can use plastic bins or even technology boxes like the box from an iPhone.  Even small mason jars can work, but circles don’t make the best use of the space.

These zones can be used to categorize the random things that land in the kitchen.  Now, instead of being on the counter, you’ve created a small home.

  • Make A Kids Basket – No matter where we go, it seems that we end up with little tiny trinkets for the kids. It could be the toys from a happy meal, stickers from the dentist, or loot from a birthday party goody bag.  It comes in all forms and lands in our house regularly. While I’d prefer to toss it, the two little humans in our home want to hang onto it – for-ever!!!  So, they have a designated space that includes a bin for their markers, papers, and trinkets.  A bowl works great for this too, but it has to be maintained (pruned regularly) or it becomes a clutter bowl fast.

Appliance Storage Solutions

  • Discard First – If there are appliances that you don’t use, give them away, donate, or sell them.  There is no need to keep them in your kitchen especially not on your counter.
  • Coffee Station – If you regularly have coffee or tea, then you can contain the supplies by making a cute coffee station.  Grab a trey, put your sugar on it, coffee beans or tea bags, potentially even a few spoons for stirring.  The trey contains the items and makes them look like a neat cluster instead of unruly clutter.
  • Make Use of Cabinets – For the appliances, you do use, put them out of sight as much as possible.  A lower cabinet is a great place to store them or an “appliance garage” or even the bottom of your pantry can work.

 

Spices Storage Solutions

  • You may store your spices on top of your stove or your counter.  This can add to the feeling of clutter.  Move your spices to a drawer, cabinet, or the pantry.  I grew tired of the amount of space my spices required, so we went vertical.  My husband built an inset spice rack on a pretty much useless wall in our pantry.  I love it and will never go back to storing spices on a horizontal surface. 

Cook Book Storage Solutions

  • This is another item to put out of sight.  Some people make use of their vertical space and put racks on the side of a cabinet or a wall.  Others make a shelf at the end of their island.  Also, cabinets are a great place to store cookbooks if you have the room.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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How to keep your kitchen counters free from clutter

Once you declutter and clear your kitchen counters, you’ve got to make sure you have good habits or routines to keep your final product. Create a habit that works for you and your family.  Here are a few ideas.

  • Do a nightly clean sweep and make sure your counters are clear before you go to bed.
  • Have family members immediately put dishes in the dishwasher
  • Sort mail when you bring it into the home

Here are 5 things to do in the kitchen before you go to bed.

Conquer Kitchen Clutter

Most kitchens see a lot of traffic and can quickly become clutter traps.  Now you have the steps you need to take to declutter your kitchen countertops.  The storage solutions will help you keep things neat and tidy.  And your daily routines will allow you to keep them clutter-free for good!

Pinterest: I’m overwhelmed with the clutter on our kitchen countertops and ready to get rid of it once and for all! These practical kitchen counter decluttering tips were so helpful.  Now I have great storage solutions and a clutter-free kitchen counter!

 

 

 

 

Decluttering for Downsizing  – What You Need To Know

Inside: You’ve decided to downsize and now need to declutter. Check out these downsizing tips and steps to decluttering your belongings.

Stuffed animals from my childhood, a faded high school letter jacket, and an outdated Encylopedia set are just a few things taking up space at my parent’s house.  Their next move will be to downsize and deal with the clutter that has accumulated over a lifetime.  

Are you in the process of downsizing?  It happens all the time!  You may be motivated to have a smaller home that requires less maintenance.  Or you may want to spend less money on your mortgage.  You may have retired and don’t need the space you once did.

While the reasons for downsizing vary, one thing remains the same.  Everyone who downsizes needs to declutter BEFORE the move. 

This can be overwhelming and you may not know where to start.  Don’t worry, I have tips that can help you get unstuck and make a plan to declutter before you downsize your home.

Step 1: Make a List of the Things You’ll Need In Your Downsized Home

You want to be sure to keep the things you need as you downsize.  Make a list of the furniture you’ll need for each room in your new but smaller home.  You may also want to make a list of the things you need to get rid of.

Let’s say that you have a king-size bed, but know that it won’t fit in the size of your new room.  You could add it to the list of things to get rid of.

Go through room by room and make your list of general items you want to keep.

woman decluttering before downsizing packing boxes before the move eith text decluttering before you downsize what you need to know

Step 2: Make a Decluttering Action Plan

In order to create your action plan, you need to identify your priorities. Many of us have rooms that overwhelm us, a closet we’ve ignored, or categories like books, clothing or sentimental items we’ve held onto for far too long.

1) List your top 5 rooms or categories that need attention.

2) Indicate the size of the challenge: small, medium, or large.

3) Finally, indicate how important a priority it is for you – high, medium, or low.

Now write down the action steps you need to take to declutter each space.  Get as detailed as you need. The larger the step, the more likely you are to get stalled. The smaller, the step, the more likely you are to accomplish it.

Big Action Step

  •  Clean out and organize the kid’s rooms.

Bite-Size Action Step

  • Clean out Johnny’s Closet
  • Organize Johnny’s Drawers
  • Donate Johnny’s items to the Salvation Army

As you make your list of action steps, put a target date by each item. 

Step 3: Deal with Other People’s Stuff First

Outside of the people living in the home, make a list of anyone else that has substantial stuff in your home.  This could be an adult child, an old roommate, the friend that stayed at your house “temporarily.” 

Contact them to see if they want you to discard their things or if they could come over and get them.  Set a date if they choose the latter.  If you really want to expedite the process, go ahead and box their items, so that you can put it all in their car and nothing remains.

Do not have them sort through the things at your house.  This will only prolong the process and you will more than likely end up with the things they don’t want.  Creating another problem for you.

If they are ok with you discarding them, then box them up and take them to a donation center. The goal is to avoid spending too much time sorting through the items.  Get them out of your house as fast as possible.

Step 4: Declutter Your Most Dreaded Space

You likely have a space in your home that you dread decluttering.  Even when you make progress in other areas, this dark cloud hangs over your head.  This sort of thing can encourage you to procrastinate…and then make the decluttering process take twice as long as necessary.

Focus on the gratification you’ll feel once you’ve conquered this space!

Set aside the required time…1 day…5 days (whatever you need) to conquer it!  Be committed.  Part of the battle is your mental stance.   Put mind over matter and commit to accomplishing it. 

Decluttering Process

Start with one category in the room.  For example, if you’re decluttering a bedroom, start with the clothes.  Then ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need this in my new space / do I have room for it in my new space?
  • Is it a duplicate or do I have something like it that fits the same need?
  • When’s the last time I used/wore this?
  • Do I like it? E.g. is it still my style or taste?
  • What would I do if I didn’t have it?

Keep in mind, when downsizing, your goal is to get rid of as much stuff as possible. 

How to Get Rid Of Decluttered Items

Discard doesn’t mean “throw-away” you have many options.  Some require more effort than others.  As you identify things to get rid of sort them in the following piles:

  • Keep
  • Donate
  • Sell
  • Trash
  • Recycle

>> Make Money Decluttering <<

If you have large things like furniture or valuable items like jewelry, handbags, or electronics, selling them is a great option.  However, small items like clothes, books, etc.  can take a lot of time for little financial return.  It’s better to donate those items and get them out of your house instead of selling where you risk them piling up in another space.

Check out this post for more details on what to do with unwanted items.  It contains a helpful list of items that donation centers will typically accept.

 >> 5 Options for Getting Rid of Unwanted Stuff After Decluttering <<

 

sentimental items including books and photos that need to be decluttered before downsizing.
Stack of old family photos and photo albums

Decluttering Sentimental Items When Downsizing

When decluttering and downsizing, you are faced with parting from things that are special and meaningful but that you no longer have space or use for.

This can be difficult.  Don’t rush this process and don’t try to get rid of it all.  Give yourself a specific amount of time.  Thoughtfully sort through and keep only your prized possessions.  Consider if there are family or friends that would appreciate it just as much.

Allow yourself to keep some of these items.  One option is to keep the things that are the most important to you.  Get a plastic bin and dedicate it to your sentimental items.  The goal is to only keep things that will fit in that container.  When it is filled, sort through and reprioritize discarding the items that are not as special. Time helps bring clarity to what you really want to keep.

Every family member can have their own box.  As an example, I have a container for my kindergartener.  She brings home school projects every week.  The projects that required more effort go into her memory bin.  Right now, the pile is a couple of inches thick.  But, she’s only in her first year of school. As each year goes on, we’ll need to reprioritize to keep her sentimental items to the one box.

Also, consider if there are other formats for the items.  For example, if they are photos or documents, can they be scanned?  If they are material, could they be made into a quilt?

Lastly, give yourself permission to let go of things.  Some times we hang onto things we think are sentimental because they were passed down.  Maybe you have a china set, crystal vases, or wooden furniture that was handed down to you.  They aren’t your style, you don’t really like them…you just like what they represent or who gave them to you.

Truly, the value for you isn’t in the item, it’s in the memory.  You don’t need that item to keep the memory.  Give yourself permission to pass it on or sell it.

For more ideas check out How to Deal with Decluttering Guilt.

Plan Ahead

If possible, plan ahead and give yourself time to declutter before you downsize.  Downsizing may be an emotional process for you.  So, do a little decluttering at a time.  Take on one space a month.  Commit to going to the donation center once a month. 

Of course, you can do it all at once, but that may be more emotionally draining for you.

You’re now ready to get started!  Mentally commit!  Make your Action Plan!  Remember your options for discarding.  And give yourself permission to keep some sentimental items while getting rid of others. 

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