Keeping your home clutter-free simplifies your life in many ways. Hanging on to STUFF — all of the filler we accumulate over time — until it feels like our house might erupt can lead to disorganization, chaos and headaches. When your home feels cluttered it can cause stress and anxiety, which could eventually lead to short tempers or even depression.
Keeping homes organized and purged of needless items saves you time, effort, money and emotional struggles. You can host company on a moments notice, find important papers at the drop of a hat, avoid purchasing duplicate items because you’ve lost the first one, and feel more relaxed in general. And it doesn’t just effect you, but your entire family. Organizing your whole house can seem like an overwhelming task and it’s hard to know where to start. Follow these simple tips for how to purge your home and you’ll be well on your way!
1. Repeat, “they’re just things”
It can sometimes be hard to decide what to get rid of, especially when there’s an emotional or sentimental attachment. If you encounter items in your home that you never use, are not your style, or are worn out or broken, do not feel obligated to keep them. If you can’t seem to let go, try repeating a mantra like “things are not important” or “they’re just things” to help you detach the item from the event or person you truly want to remember. Sometimes taking a picture of the item can help as then you will always have a visual reminder.
2. 3 Bin Method
You’ve likely heard of the 3 bin method before. Once you’re ready to begin your complete purge, this is a great method to use. Find three bins or boxes and label them “Throw Away,” “Put Away,” and “Give Away.” As you work your way through each room, place any item that’s out of place in the appropriate box. Be ruthless. Obvious garbage is a no-brainer, but when you come upon an item that’s questionable ask yourself these questions: Do I need it? Do I use it? Do I love it? If your answer to these questions is no, get rid of it. If it’s broken, worn out, or missing pieces it goes in the trash. If it’s still in working order you can donate it — don’t donate stained, torn, chipped, worn out rubbish. It’s not fair to anyone.
3. 2 Pass System
Armed with your 3 bins, begin at the top of your home and work your way down. Do a quick first pass of the room and separate everything that’s obviously out of place into the correct box. On the second pass, do a more detailed work-through. Focus on drawers, closets, and semi-hidden spaces. Look especially for problem areas where clutter seems to congregate. Once you’ve finished two passes of the room, take your 3 bins to the adjacent room and repeat the process.
4. Out of sight, out of mind
Once your bins are full, take care of them immediately. Get them out of your sight and do not go back through them. Don’t second guess your decisions. Tie up the trash and take it outside. Close the donate box and put it in the back of your car. If your put away bin is full, set it aside for now and grab a new box. Once you’re done with your home purge, get those donated items out of there ASAP. No use keeping the boxes around to clutter things up more!
5. Everything in its place
After you’ve gone through each room, dumped the garbage outside and donated your unneeded items, it’s time to put things away. Find a specific spot for everything in your keep box. If there are items left, these will need to be stored for later use. Separate these and put like items together in plastic tote bins. Using clear bins is a great idea so you can see inside, and label them so you can always find what you need. Make sure your family is on board. Everyone should know where commonly used items belong and make it a steadfast rule to put things back in their places.
6. Don’t wait for eventualities
Don’t hold on to anything for a “someday.” Your donated items should be given away immediately, not held onto for that garage sale you might have. Don’t keep ill-fitting clothes because they may work again in the future. If you have items from a failed hobby attempt — camping equipment, exercise equipment, video games, scrapbooking supplies etc. — don’t keep it just in case.
7. Give it away
There are tons of charitable thrift stores out there that will gladly accept your donation. If you’d rather not drive your items over or if you have too many boxes or large items to fit in your car, many thrift stores offer pick-up services. Look online or in a phone book and call your local thrift stores to see what services they offer. You could also post them to your local chapter of Freecycle. If you have big ticket items or vintage items that are good quality, make use of Craigslist. If you’ve never sold on Craigslist before, these tips for sellers will help.
8. Avoid impulse purchases
With your house newly purged and organized, avoiding impulse purchases is key to keeping it that way. Don’t buy home decor items, items for a new hobby, housewares or toys and games unless you have a specific purpose in mind. If there’s a designated spot for it in your home and if you love it, then buy it. If there’s any hesitation about a purchase, walk away. You can always go back and buy it later after you’ve had time to think and plan.
9. Buy one, toss one rule
If you do buy something new for your home, your wardrobe, your kids’ overflowing toy box, your sagging bookshelf, kitchen or what have you, make room for it. Get rid of something similar you already have. That way you’ll be replacing items to reflect your current tastes, style and desires instead of accumulating more and more items that will just lead to another needed purge.
10. Give it time
If you’ve got your whole house to tackle, don’t expect to accomplish it in one afternoon. Give yourself some time. If you try to do it all at once you’ll likely just frustrate and exhaust yourself. Work a little at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. Just make sure to remove all items in your give away and throw away boxes EVERYDAY so you aren’t tempted to go back through them again.
Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com