Declutter 101: Your Simple Guide to a Clutter-Free House

We all have been there. Clinging-on to stuff for 10 years thinking we might need it ‘one day’; the day that never comes. Read on how to declutter your home without feeling overwhelmed, and bring positivity and clarity in your home and life.

Clutter & Decluttering:

Clutter is an untidy pile of mess, and decluttering is sorting out the mess.   

Why do we clutter & hoard?

Some of the reasons we tend to clutter might be:

-Impulsive buying

-Comparison with others

-Following trends

-Saving money on sales!

Another reason we pile up on things is because we tend to forget what all we have stored in every space in the house. Hence, we might have doubles or triples of the same or similar item at home. It is just like out of sight, out of mind. 

Why is it difficult to let go? 

Some of the reasons it is difficult to let go of things are:

-Value/cost of the item

-Sentiment attached to it

-Guilt of giving it away as it might be a gift from someone

-Comparison with others. Someone else has it, so I must have it too.

-‘Just in case I might need it’

-‘What if I regret later’

Do you remember the items you had in your life 5 years back? Or even 1 year back? Chances are the answer is no. Hence, do not let the reasons mentioned above hinder your progress.

Why declutter: 

          The main reason to declutter is to create clean space, make movement easier and things more accessible in the house. 

          It is easier to clean the house when there is less clutter, thus creating a hygienic environment. 

          It helps to save money when instead of buying something at an impulse, you already know you have something similar at home that will serve the same purpose. 

          It does not matter how small or big the space is that you live in. A place free of mess brings a sense of accomplishment and positivity in life.

 Things needed to declutter:

          No fancy equipment is required to declutter. All you need is a positive mind, a can-do attitude, and a bit of ruthlessness!

 You will also need:

-Boxes & cello tape

-Bags & tie strings

-Markers to label

-A timer to help you allocate time for each area because you want to spend quality time to achieve your goal.

 How to Start:

1) Make a list of the rooms/areas in your house. I have enlisted some below. You may customize the list according to your requirement. 

-Entrance

-Corridor/hallway

-Living room

-Dining room

-Bedroom

-Children’s room

-Study area

-Play area

-Kitchen

-Toilet

-Garage

-Laundry room

-Balcony

-Basement 

–Store

-Office

-Garden/lawn

2) Then make a list of major items/spaces in each room:

Furniture

-Drawers

-Shelves

-Under the bed

-Side tables

-Inside Cupboards

-Over the cupboards

-Dressing table

-Makeup products including brushes

-Hair accessories

-Jewelry

Toys, crafts items, educational material

-Bookshelf, Newspapers, Magazines, Printed Documents, 

-School/College/Uni Books

-Diaries/journals/planners

-Mobile/laptop charges

-Shoe rack/shoes

-Medicines

-Decoration items

-Storage boxes

-Tools cabinet/Tool Box

-Indoor Plants- Real & Artificial

Linen:

-Clothes including socks & undergarments

-Curtains

-Bed sheets, pillows, pillow covers, duvets, cushions

-Towels

Kitchen:

-Pantry

-Counter top

-Kitchen gadgets

-Kitchen appliances

-Baking ware

-Crockery/cutlery

-Glassware, Mugs, Glasses, jugs, bowls

-Fridge/Freezer

-Inside the oven!

-Utensils

-Spice containers

-Fridge/freezer

-Pantry

-Tupperware/food storage boxes

-Under the sink

Bathroom:

Toiletries

-Toothbrushes

-Personal Hygiene products

-Cleaning Supplies

-Under the basin

How to start:

So now, you have made the list according to your house. You may start the clearing process from which ever area you wish. Start with a small area, as you will clear it sooner and hence will be motivated to do more. 

What to with the items you see:

Follow this general criteria: 

Keep – Pass on – Donate – Sell – Recycle – Throw

Sort your items based on your needs, and not wants.

Keep the item according to their use in your daily life.

Pass-on to acquaintances who might need it. Let them know that you have stuff in good condition that you are looking to give away.

Donate items that are in good useable condition.

Sell online, or in second hand shops, garage sale, flea markets, etc

-Recycle box

-Throw

What not to keep:

It will be easier to decide on what to keep if we try to be more practical than emotional.

Do not let guilt interfere in your decluttering process. What needs to go, needs to go. Ask yourself if the item in hand is a need or a want.

How to avoid regret:

I admit that doing away with things is not an easy task. Some items will give you a hard time in making a decision. You can always put these things in a box or a bag and come back later to them. 

You may also involve your family or friends for advice and suggestions, as they will advise you from a neutral, practical perspective than an emotional one.

          As Muslims, what is even more helpful in the decluttering process is the knowledge of knowing that this world we live in is temporary and transient. Everything we own will remain here. Nothing shall remain forever with us and nothing will go with us. 

          It is normal for humans to have emotions and attachments to things but it must not be to an extent that they rule over us. Yes, we do love to buy and have possessions to make us happy but let us keep it in check and always maintain balance.  

Instead of letting an item lie uselessly at home, it is better to give it to someone who might benefit from it. 

How to decide what to keep or toss:

A general rule what I follow is that if I have not used an item in one year, it has to go. It also depends on the type of item, its value and usage.  

Tips for decluttering:

-Make it a fun process.

-Do not think of how humongous the task is. Remember you are not in a race with anyone. You are doing this for your own benefit and sanity.

-Involve family members including the children. They would love to help you. You do not have to do it alone. Make a chart for the kids for the items they have to clear and put a smiley or star along it when they finish the task. You could also reward them.

Start it now, start it small. Think of it in this way: Instead of not being able to do the whole house, at least you will have done one drawer.

Focus on the nooks and corners in the house, which we tend to overlook.

 –Re purpose items if you can. You do not necessarily have to buy extra stuff to organize. Make use of things you already have. 

 –Avoid double and triple items in the house

-Use your time wisely. Fix a deadline to sort each area, but do not overwhelm yourself.  

-Do not attempt to do everything the same day. Set small and manageable goals.

 –Remember your goal is not to throw stuff from your house but to decide what needs to stay. Not everything needs to be done away with. If there is something you do not need but has value, you can always pause to choose and decide.

 –Throw expired medicines, makeup products, food products, spice etc.

 –Finish what you start.

 -Keep big bags handy to put things in.

Tick off each category from the list as you sort them. It will make you feel good about how much you have accomplished and encourage you to do more.

Hope this post is beneficial for you. Would love to know your decluttering journey. What works for you? What is your challenge when it comes to decluttering? 

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