Have you ever looked around your home and felt you’re a box or two away from being in a Hoarders episode? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Millions of people deal with an extraordinary amount of clutter in the home.
Clutter and hoarding are often interchanged. But they’re two different things. Clutter is what we refer to as the mounds of objects we have around the house. These are the papers we have piled up on our desk. They can be the pile of shirts we’ve been meaning to donate.
While it’s one sign of hoarding, having clutter in your home or office doesn’t mean you have a hoarding disorder. We all go through phases where we’re so busy with school, work, or life in general that house cleaning takes a back seat.
But it can be overwhelming to start the process of clearing up your stuff when there’s so much of it lying around. Never fear. There are methods to help you get away from this madness. Here are tips on how to start decluttering when overwhelmed with too much clutter.
Decide Where Everything Will Go
A lot of people panic over the idea of decluttering because they don’t know what to do with their stuff. You must decide what to do with the clutter before you start decluttering. If you don’t, you’ll end up with boxes of things you want to get rid of with no place to put them. The odds that these boxes will end up in your garage, basement, or spare room are high.
You can avoid that by making a plan on where things will go. For example, old clothes and toys will go to a local charity. You can have a garage sale for your old furniture, gadgets, and home items. Be proactive and call Goodwill or your favorite charity. Arrange for them to pick up the stuff or schedule a time when you’ll deliver it.
You’ll become amazed at how good you’ll feel knowing that some of your possessions will have a second life. It’s an effective way to inspire you to declutter some more.
Start in the Room You Don’t Like
There are two reasons for this. First, decluttering the space you’re unhappy about will get rid of the negativity you always feel. Let’s say you hate how dark and cluttered your hallway feels. Clearing away all those shoes or bags will make it look cleaner and more spacious. Add a new lighting fixture or a catchall for keys. These simple changes will make coming home a pleasant experience.
Second, you’ll feel more motivated to keep up the decluttering process when you see how good the space now looks.
Go for Bite-Sized Decluttering
It’s never a good idea to tackle a large room in one day. You’re only setting yourself up for inevitable failure. You might end up feeling depressed or discouraged. This could then snowball and you end up abandoning the process altogether.
A better approach is to break one room into smaller spaces or projects. You can start by decluttering one drawer or one cabinet. Move to the next small space once you’re done. Before you know it, you’ve already finished decluttering one side of the room.
Grab What’s in Plain View
Another strategy is to go for the easiest things first. Look around the room for things to throw in the garbage bin. The trick is not to overthink. Grab what you see and discard. You’ll become surprised at how much you’ll clear.
Once all the junk’s removed and the trash thrown, it’s time to tackle the big items. Scan the room for objects that take up a lot of space. Look for old furniture, boxes, or appliances that are no longer working. When my father died, my siblings and I removed five large boxes of newspapers and magazines from his room. Doing this cleared up the space fast. It also showed us what else we need to discard.
Let the Process Spark Joy
Marie Kondo was on to something with her spark joy mantra. But it can also apply to other things, like decluttering. Look for ways that will spark some fun and happiness in the activity. Why not put on your dance playlist while you declutter? You can sashay while you decide which items to throw and which to keep. Give yourself some challenges and a nice reward when you meet them. For example, order your favorite pizza if you finish clearing your china cabinet.
Don’t Force the Issue
There’s no denying the importance of decluttering to our mental and physical health. But it won’t make a difference if you don’t feel good about the process. Don’t do it if someone is pressuring you to do it. Decluttering because you think you should only stress yourself out. It’s also unlikely that you’ll feel motivated to keep at it. You could even make bad choices on what to throw and what to keep.
You should declutter when you’re ready for it. It will make the process go faster and easier. You’ll also feel more energetic and efficient if you’re in the right frame of mind for this task.
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