This is my personal method for de-cluttering my home. A few of you asked me to share my “how” and “when,” and I already posted here about “why.” After teaching an Influence class on the subject, I have really honed in on how I like my house to function – even in the midst of having babies, crazy work seasons, and living in a small-ish house. This is part of what keeps me sane.
Take what works for you, and leave the rest.
Start at the top and work your way down. (Without conducting a big purge first, the daily stuff will seem both overwhelming and pointless.)
Roughly once a season, I go through our house top to bottom, one room at a time. My goal is to leave each room organized, filled only with absolute essentials. (Be ready for a mental battle.) Anything that is not useful, in the wrong place, redundant, ugly, kept out of guilt, or frustrating, is placed into a laundry basket* and promptly removed from the room. Then I organize what remains. On a sheet of paper I write all my goals or dreams for the room. If something needs fixed, changed, painted or upgraded, I write it down before moving on to the next room.
Less stuff means more time, less stress, and greater value placed on what you choose to keep.
We rotate our off-season clothes twice a year. This gives me an opportunity to weed through our closets for items that went unworn.
*I use my laundry baskets every 3-4 days, so everything in the basket must find a landing spot by the time I need to wash clothes again. Maybe it needs to go in another room. Maybe it needs to go into my Goodwill box or Half Price Books box in the basement. Maybe I’m not sure , so I put it in the Goodwill box and reassess when I’m ready to donate.
I do the laundry and put ALL clothes away. We live in a 1930s home with limited closet space, so we’ve drastically downsized our wardrobes to fit into the available space. Every clothing item has a place to go.
I generally clean the house. Hear this: I am NOT a great cleaner. I sort of hate it, so I do 3-4 cleaning things each week and call it good. There would probably be a few dust bunnies if you dropped in.
An organized home has pattern and flow. It is knowable and consistent.
Zach and I work through the “unread mail” folder on our desk.
As we live in our house, I keep an eye out for trouble spots. Is there something in a room bugging me? Is there a closet or drawer that is un-manageable? Is there an item that simply doesn’t have a good place to be stored? Are there things that we never use? I’ll fix these issues during the next quarterly de-clutter.
I make our bed and pick up any clothes left on the floor.
I hang up my husband’s clothes. (They bug me more than him and I’m home all day, so this compromise works for us.)
You’re not a victim of stuff. You allow each item in your home to be there.
I sort the mail, throwing away the junk and placing the rest in the “unread mail” folder on our desk.
At bedtime, all toys get picked up.
Simplification is a process, a lifestyle change, so I’ll be posting more about the way we try to live a pared-down life in the future. What is your take-away action step? What are your trouble spots for organizing or decluttering? I’d be happy to problem-solve reader questions in an upcoming post, if you’re up for sharing!