5 Steps To Declutter Faster
Do you need to declutter your house but you’re feeling discouraged in your efforts because it’s taking too long or you don’t know what can stay and what should go?
Know that you’re not alone, in this blog post I want to help you gain your momentum back and help you get some big wins back to simply your house or get it ready to sell.
TIP # 1 - Your Mindset
Tip number one is the first and most important step to take control of, which is Your Mindset.
When getting your house ready to sell, you will be purging things that don’t need to go to the next home and things your buyers don’t need to be distracted by when viewing your house. If you’re not ready to shift your mindset, you may have a harder time decluttering quickly. This shift needs to be a want and need. You need to put your own time and energy in priority over your STUFF.
Many of us get these mixed up and the constant cleaning, arranging and money spent on stuff takes away from things you could be doing that make you more happy. I can’t count the number of hours most of us, including myself, spend on dusting, organizing and buying storage bins to organize things we simply don’t need.
The easiest way to go about this is going through your things and deciding if it’s a yes, you keep it. But if it’s not a sure yes, then it becomes a no and you get rid of it. Garbage, donation, yard sale whatever it may be.
For example I have many cookbooks I’ve accumulated over the years and I constantly tell myself I’ll use them or need them one day, but in reality most of my recipes come from my own knowledge, experimentation or inspiration from an online search. Those books are better off going to someone who will use them more than me. Moving them to the kitchen where I think I’ll use them only prolongs the day where I finally admit that they need to go. So if you find yourself finding a new home for something, you’re most likely trying to trick yourself that you will use it another day.
When selling your house, your realtor is most likely going to ask you to remove personal belongings and anything you don’t need on a daily basis while your house is for sale. Take this time to get rid of things you don’t need in your new home.
Shift your mind and get rid of it. The less stuff you have, the more time you have to yourself, less boxes to move and more time spent enjoying your new house and not finding homes for that stuff to sit for another 10 years.
Tip #2 - Breaking Down Into Smaller Tasks
Once you’re ready to make sure YES decisions we can move onto tip number two which is deciding where to start.
This can be overwhelming for some but let’s not look at the whole mountain, let’s look at each step of the staircase leading up to your goal.
Picking a room to start with can be good for some but still overwhelming for others. So instead of saying I want to clean my office, you can say I want to clean out my drawer and start by organizing all the pens, paper or bills. Go around the room and gather them all up in one area so you can take a real honest look at how many you have and make a decision on what you need to keep in order for your job to function. You can sort out and pick the very best to keep. The rest purge, donate or sell.
If you enjoy starting with a room, be sure to stick with it. I personally find myself organizing one room only to move it to the next and then get distracted by something I want to organize in that other room. Be conscious of flip flopping from room to room and task to task. Break down a room into small tasks.
A tip within this topic is to make sure you’re not shoving things in the closet for another day. Buyers viewing your home will open the closets as it’s a good selling feature, so make sure they are clean, well organized and rid of anything that can showcase the size of the closet.
Tip #3 - Children’s THINGS
Tip number three is for anyone with children. We all know kids need a lot of stuff through the stages of their lives. But there’s a few things you can do to keep the clutter down such as limiting their toys to a few bins.
For example my daughter has two wicker baskets that hold all her toys, excluding a few things such as her play table and a few larger items. But when those two bins fill, that’s her limit for toys. I personally don’t like toys, stickers and Lego toys scattered throughout the house. Kids are allowed to be bored once in a while, it triggers their imagination to get creative. So when she has a birthday or Christmas, I like to go through her things when she’s away and donate or sell any toys that she has outgrown or doesn’t use anymore.
Another tip moms have shared with me is toy rotation. When your child gets a lot of toys at once, store some away to bring out at a later time as well as rotating toys every month or so, that way the children are excited to play with them again. This gives you time to sort through toys they don’t use anymore as well as keeping your children stimulated on the same toys throughout the months.
Tip #4 - Sentimental Items
This can be a touchy topic for some as we like to put memories to objects, which is perfectly fine. But that object has to still continue to give us joy and we need to differentiate a sentimental memory with someone gifting something to us. If you have a book or Christmas décor that you get out every year that you read to you kids each season or was passed down each generation that holds value, of course keep that. But if uncle Joe, who you see twice a year, gifted you a Christmas plate that you’re only holding on to because you think he’s going to wonder where it is next Christmas, what value is that bringing you?
If you’re really torn, work through these items and put them in a box, properly labeled with the contents and the date you organized them. If you come back in 3-6 months and haven’t used them or even given a second thought of using them in the future, it’s safe to assume you can most likely donate those items.
I understand the feeling of someone giving you something and not wanting to get rid of it, but I see it as donating it or selling it to someone who truly could use it to its full potential. You also need to envision where these items will be placed or stored in your new home. So don’t waste time and energy packing and moving it, just for it to be stored in the basement again.
Tip #5 - Organize & Label
My tip number five for decluttering quicker or preventing the need to declutter is to organize and label. When things each have a home it’s easier for us to see when we have an abundance of one thing. Such as linens and towels. If they are scattered around, you will lose them and just buy another one. Designate one area for them and if you want to upgrade your current ones you can donate them to a pet shelter and know exactly how many more you do or do not need. If you have two or three places you store towels. It will be easy to misplace how many you have.
A few ways to prevent the need to declutter in the first place is the FIFO method I learned in the kitchen which means first in first out. This method can be used for almost anything in your pantry or household goods. When organizing them, bring the closest best before dates to the front and when you buy new, put those ones to the back. This way you are not wasting food and you can see exactly how many you have in that row. If you need to buy some clear storage containers, then make that investment and save yourself that money down the road from food waste.
One more tip to staying organized in your deep cupboards I personally do, is I put a sticky note near the door that tells me exactly what is at the back of the cupboard above my eye level. A quick peek at that list and I know what’s there and saves me time pulling up a chair to check each time too.
Being proactive on your day to day cleaning and decluttering can make the home selling process easier when you’re ready to sell.