How to Declutter Your Home

Woman contemplating which outfits to keep or discard to declutter her closet.

If you’re looking for a sign to declutter your home, then this article maybe it.

As homeowners, we tend to safeguard a lot of items we don’t necessarily need. If it’s not well managed, you may eventually run out of storage space.

Aside from storage concerns, a lot of clutter can create other problems including mould and fire hazards, as well as uninvited guests like animals and insects.

So to help avoid this potential issue, we’ve prepared the following decluttering tips to help you create a more organized and safe home.

What do I Need to Keep in Mind When Decluttering My Home?

Woman reviewing her clothing to decide what to keep or discard in an effort to declutter her bedroom

Set a Goal

It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you plan to clean your entire home at one time, so make it more bite-sized or manageable. Know what you would like to accomplish by the end of the day whether it be cleaning out a drawer, closet or an entire room.

Develop a Checklist

Nothing keeps you better organized than a checklist. Identify each room in the house and make a list of its necessities. Consider staying out of the room when making your list, as you may be influenced to keep items that you see in front of you. Go into a neutral space and compile your list, once it’s completed go back to the room and remove everything not identified from your list.

Abide by “The Rules”

A minimalist – someone who has a simple, uncluttered lifestyle and doesn’t believe in owning things for the sake of owning things – typically abides by one of two sets of rules to help keep their space as simple as possible.

20/20 Rule.

Minimalists and bestselling authors – Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus – developed the “20/20” rule which simply states that if you can replace it for less than $20 and you can replace it in less than 20 minutes from where you live, then you should consider letting the item go.

12-12-12 Challenge

Author and self-proclaimed minimalist Joshua Becker developed a rule for people who are trying to decide what to let go: He recommends identifying 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate to charity and 12 items to be returned to its proper place.

Recruit help

Many hands make light work, so get your kids and your partner to help. After all, they likely also contributed to the mess.

How Can I Maintain My Home After I’ve Decluttered?

Image of a man trying to reorganize their garage to help declutter it.

Find a place for everything

Make sure everything you have decided to keep has a place for when it’s not in use and always put items away when you are finished with them.

Go through items on a regular basis

To keep your newly organized space clean, donate items regularly.  A general rule of thumb is when you acquire something new, get rid of an item that you no longer use.

Keep track of items in your closet

A good way to keep track of which clothing pieces you actually wear is to hang all of your hangers the opposite direction.  As you wear each piece, flip the hanger back to its original position to indicate that you’ve worn that piece.  At the end of the year, remove the clothing with hangers that haven’t been flipped and consider donating those items.  You haven’t worn that piece in over a year, chances are you likely won’t wear it this year.

If you own more items than you can reasonably and safely store in your home, you may want to opt for renting a storage unit. Just remember, items in a storage unit are generally only insured by a typical homeowner policy for a period of 30 days. After 30 days, the items may only then be covered for theft, not other causes of loss, such as fire or water damage.  Before renting a storage unit, speak with the storage facility about their insurance coverage and be sure to check with your insurance provider for full details on your specific policy.

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