The Easy Way To Start Decluttering

Getting started on the clutter in your home can feel overwhelming, but there are two steps you can take now that will build momentum with minimal stress.

Be a beginner.

To win the battle with clutter in your home, you have to accept that it will be a learning process and will take time. When my house was a hot mess, it was easier not to think about it than to try to address it. I was overwhelmed by the magnitude. I had no idea where to start, so I just sat with my shame and embarrassment. I would get motivated enough to clear a cabinet or a closet, feel a small sense of accomplishment, then lose all hope when the space I'd worked so hard on was a disaster two days later. Then I realized it was a skill --- a skill I didn't have. And that's okay. I couldn't fly a hot air balloon either, but what I could do was be persistent and determined, not give up, and learn.

Step one is garbage.

When you start work on decluttering a space, step one is literally trash. Getting rid of trash -- and/or recycling, if that's your thing -- is a no-brainer. It's frictionless and doesn't require decision-making. So grab a garbage bag and scan the area for stuff that can be thrown away. Don't do anything else. Just look for trash, even if you think there isn't any. Always look. A cluttered closet, for example, might contain broken hangers, tags from a dress you bought three months ago, slippers you stopped wearing because they have a hole in the toe, or a purse with a broken strap and lipstick stains in the bottom. You get the idea. You might be surprised what getting rid of trash and only trash can do for the volume of stuff in a space.

Step two doesn't even go here.

Once you're gotten the trash out of the way, look for things that belong elsewhere in your home and just need to be put away. I'm talking about stuff that you don't have to question whether or not to keep. Stuff you don't hesitate about. Things that you immediately recognize as simply being out of place. In that closet, there might be a pair of your daughter's shorts that somehow ended up in your laundry, wrapping paper that goes in the garage but got left behind when you were hiding Christmas gifts in there, or a hammer you used to fix a wobbly shelf. If you stall at all on what to do with an item, put it down. Move on. Do what's obvious and painless and let the rest be what it is for now. Another tip -- everything in your home should live in the first place you'd look for it if you needed it.

Rinse and repeat.

Imagine if you did only these two decision-free steps in the problem areas in your home. Try it on a prominent space that seems to always stay a mess and see what you can accomplish. Be sure to take before and after pictures so you can recognize the difference you've made and, if you're feeling up to it, time yourself. It really is incredible how quickly you can have a big impact.

Tell me how it goes.

If this tip worked for you -- or if it didn't -- share your thoughts below, or you can drop me a line here. I'd love to hear from you. Truly.


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