I don’t know what it is about the winter months that make me feel so unmotivated to keep things around the house tidy. Because of this, I always find myself needing to do a major decluttering right before Spring every year.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a clean freak, so my cabinets and countertops are always sparkling, but when it comes to my closets, pantry, and garage, things do tend to pile up over time.
That’s why I use the beginning of Spring as a time to whip the house back into shape. In my home, a big part of that is my yearly decluttering.
In this article, I’ll provide you with my favorite decluttering tips that will save you potential time, money, and frustration, and a checklist for decluttering your home.
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The Meaning of Decluttering
Decluttering for me means getting rid of things around the house that don’t hold value in my life anymore. Sometimes that means donating old clothing that I don’t wear or clearing out canned goods in the pantry that I’m never going to use.
By doing this, I’m not only re-organizing my space and finding a new home for items that have piled up but also making sure the things I love are visible, and the things I use are accessible. That’s all about the meaning of decluttering!
The Benefits of Decluttering
A cluttered house equates to more stress and anxiety in my life. Your home is your safe place, and it is supposed to be a place where you can go to relax. If you allow this space to become cluttered, you essentially throw off the balance, which negatively impacts your sleep, your stress and anxiety levels, and even your mood day-to-day.
The good news is a good decluttering approach can zap these negative effects and get you back to feeling relaxed, balanced, happy, and in control of your stress and anxiety (for the most part!).
Even if you don’t realize that the state of your home is impacting you mentally, you can still benefit from decluttering your home. At the very least, cleaning out an area could produce some hidden treasures that you have forgotten about.
The first time I did my big declutter, I found a ton of spare change, an old necklace that I had lost and forgotten about, and even an old photo album that I hadn’t gone through in ages.
Why You Should do a Spring Decluttering?
I don’t know about you, but when frequent spaces in my house are cluttered, it throws off the balance in my home. Now, most of the time, I don’t let the clutter get too ridiculous.
I’m excellent about cleaning as I go and making sure that there is a place for everything and everything is in its place, especially when it comes to areas where we have guests, like the living room and kitchen.
However, if you’re anything like me, you probably can agree that the “hidden” areas of your space like closets and pantries can get a little out of hand. For me, it’s that “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy that always makes Spring decluttering a necessity.
But the closet isn’t the only place that needs attention after a long winter; there are several other areas that could benefit from a declutter, as well.
Decluttering your Home: Where to Start?
When I’m decluttering, I like to always start with the easiest job first, but I haven’t always been that way. A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to learn how to declutter.
At the time, it seemed like I should begin with the most significant, most daunting task. I thought that knocking out the most challenging part first would help me stay motivated to do the rest of the job.
However, I realized that once the job was done, I was mentally and physically drained. That year, the only thing I got done was my massively neglected garage, leaving the rest of my house untouched until the next Spring.
The next year, I was bound and determined to get the entire house done. I wasn’t too particular about how long it took me, either. So, I started my decluttering around the end of January.
This way, I had several months to get the entire house done before Spring, which has always been my target time of year to have the project complete.
When I started with the simplest jobs, the sense of accomplishment I got from knocking out project after project in a short timeframe helped keep me motivated and excited to keep moving on to new tasks.
Develop a Decluttering Routine
I always like to start my decluttering routine in the kitchen. Since we spend a lot of time in this area over the course of the year, the clutter is minimal, so it’s an easy task to knock out in a short amount of time.
I might have a few stray canned goods or a box of pasta that would be better donated, but other than that, there isn’t much other work to do in the kitchen. Once I have all the food I want to donate boxed up, I might rearrange some cupboards, but overall, the job is minimal and doesn’t take a lot of effort nor time.
Set Decluttering Goals
The area that will be easiest for you might not be the same as mine. The best advice I can give you is to survey all the work that you want to do. Then, choose the least intimidating task to start with.
This will help make sure that you don’t run out of steam too early, making it possible for you to get a lot done without causing too much stress on yourself early on. Keep reading for some of my favorite decluttering tips and tricks to get the most out of your Spring declutter.
Room Organization Ideas
No matter whether you’re new at decluttering or a decluttering pro, you can always learn something new from someone else’s methods. I don’t consider myself an expert, but I do think that I have picked up some valuable insight over the years that I have been doing this.
Keep reading for an in-depth look at some of my favorite decluttering tips that will save you potential time, money, and frustration.
I’m not the type of person that spends lavish amounts of money on multiple shoes in the same color or a million sweaters that I know I’m only going to wear once or twice. Because of this, though, I have a really hard time deciding when it’s time to let a piece of clothing go.
Honesty is the Best Policy
In the past, I have been known to hold on to a t-shirt for years that I will only pull out when there’s no other clean laundry. In reality, I know when it’s time to let go of something.
Still, I seem to always fabricate scenarios in my head where I could use the thing I need to let go. I convince myself that there is no better alternative to this exact t-shirt in my imaginary scenario, so I rationalize keeping it.
I have talked to a few friends about this struggle I have, and as it turns out, I’m not alone in this. Perhaps you have the same problem, even! When I encounter this issue, I have found that honesty is the best policy.
I try to think back on when the last time I wore an article of clothing was. If it’s been more than three months and it’s not due to the garment being inappropriate for the weather outside, I donate it, no matter how badly it hurts me to do it.
Don’t let your Emotions Take Over
The grand plan in all of this is to avoid letting your emotions take over when you are decluttering. After all, if you didn’t have an attachment to some of these things, you might not ever need a spring cleanout at all.
The fact that you are actively working on decluttering says that it’s time to make some hard decisions. The faster you can get on board with that, the easier your declutter journey will be successful.
Bedroom Organization ideas
One of my most favorite parts of my annual Spring reset is bedroom organization. One thing you might not know about me is I do most of my best work from the comfort of my bed.
Since I do so much work in my room, I do everything I can to make the area as cozy and comfortable as possible. As cleanliness is vital in my household, and I can’t stand to look at the clutter, I typically have very little to no elimination to do in my room.
I do, however, need to re-organize my bedroom each year. Part of this comes from spending a lot of time on the internet looking at different ways to set up a cozy bedroom area.
When I see a great idea, I always save it for my Spring checklist. If I need to purchase new decor or change up the way I’m organizing and storing things, this helps me to plan out what I need so that when the time comes, I can make it all happen with ease.
Decluttering Storage Ideas
When I was completing my big Spring declutter last year, my main focus was on implementing new places to store all of the things that I had scattered throughout it.
Some of my favorite pieces that I implemented are brightly colored storage bins, over-the-door shoe compartments, and a trunk that doubles as a bench that I keep at the end of my bed.VIEW PRICE
I find fabric storage bins to be extremely helpful for items you need to keep in your room that you aren’t able to store away without avoiding an eyesore. Some examples of items that I have in my storage bins are out of season clothes or shoes that I don’t want to waste closet space on (since my closet is modest in size).
The shoe compartment is something I use daily for not only storing my shoes but also for picking out a pair to wear each morning. I use the trunk to store fresh linens and extra pillows.
Decluttering Other Living Areas
Spaces like your dining room, bathroom, and living room are areas that you definitely shouldn’t ignore. Even if these rooms look clean, you might be surprised at just how much you can do to declutter and liven up the areas even more. All it takes is a quick sweep to zero in on the places where you can focus your attention.
Organization of your Living Room
Depending on the way to accumulate things in your home, decluttering these commonly used areas might differ. In my house, I have a terrible habit of leaving old magazines and junk mail on the entry table in my living room.
It also becomes a sort of catch-all for any pocket change or store receipts, as well, so when I’m decluttering, I always make sure to spend some time getting this area tidied first, since it doesn’t take a ton of effort, but it does look really nice once it’s cleared off and organized.
When I’m finished decluttering, I light a soy candle for that nice and cozy feeling and a fresh smell. One of my favorite candles is the Bare Serenity but you can also make your own soy candle.VIEW PRICE
Bathroom and Dining Room Organization Ideas
In the bathroom and dining room areas, I don’t have much work to do most of the time. My dining room is almost always completely free of clutter because we love to entertain, so it’s important to me that our guests have a cozy space to enjoy dinner.
The same goes for the bathroom; I am incredibly picky about these rooms in my house because they say something to guests about the way we live. Still, I do wash any linens, towels, and curtains, and make sure that everything is neat and organized when I walkthrough.
Checklist for Decluttering your Home
The season for Spring decluttering is upon us, and it’s always a good idea to have a plan for when it hits. The most productive way that I have found to do this is to use a checklist. This helps to hold you accountable for the work you need to be doing, and it also makes sure that you don’t forget to work on any spaces that need your attention.
I generally like to make my checklist fresh every year, since my needs change slightly from year to year. However, I use the same basic template for my checklist, no matter what. Here is a quick look at the decluttering checklist that has worked the best for me over the years:
- Donate all clothes/shoes that haven’t been worn in the last three months
- Re-organize clothing by season, color, and frequency of use
- Dust tops of shelves and wipe down any areas that need attention
Organize the Pantry
- Review all perishables for expiration date and dispose of any expired food
- Donate any food that likely won’t be eaten in the next three months
- Re-organize by category (rice and pasta in one area, cereals in one area, etc.)
Declutter your Garage
- Ensure all boxes are labeled correctly and stored in their proper place
- Organize and clean workstation areas, and make sure all tools are stored correctly
- If needed, purchase new storage containers for any items that have accumulated over the winter
Living Room Organization
- Clean off entry table and put everything in its place
- Dispose of any old magazines and put books in their place
- Move any shoes, handbags, and other miscellaneous items to their rightful place
Dining Room Decluttering
- Wash linens and polish decorative cutlery or china sets
- Consider re-organizing any areas that need attention
- Dust ceiling fan blades, wipe down any frequently ignored areas
- Dispose of any empty shampoo bottles or other toiletries
- Wash or replace decorative towels and shower curtain
- Re-organize areas where cosmetics products have accumulated
- Add a serene crystal soap to your bathroom collection for good energy
- Wash bed linens and curtains or other washable window coverings
- Dispose of water bottles and other miscellaneous items throughout
- Wash and put clothes away accordingly
Decluttering and Room Organization FAQ’s
Decluttering your home is no small task, and it isn’t one that you should take lightly. If you still have some questions, there is no need to worry. I have compiled a list of some commonly asked questions for you below.
Where do I start decluttering?
The best place to start decluttering is in areas that need minimal attention. Starting with the easiest jobs first means shorter amounts of time between accomplishing tasks. This means that you can keep the motivation and drive to stay at the task until you are done completely.
What is the best way to declutter your home?
When decluttering your home, the best thing you can do is form an organized battle plan. If you jump around to too many different rooms, you can lose steam quickly. Approach the task with a structured routine and stay the course until you are completely done.
Why is decluttering important?
Decluttering your home once a year, usually in the Spring, is vital to maintain your home’s aesthetic. It also helps to keep your space feeling cozy and clean since it eliminates eyesores and transforms the areas completely. Having a stress-free living area is the best way to live your best life.
What should I get rid of when decluttering?
When you are decluttering, you should get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy. T-shirts that you have been holding on to without wearing very often, shoes that no longer fit or have seen better days, and plates or cups that have missing place settings are a few examples of these things. If you are struggling to decide whether to get rid of something, place it into a pile and come back to it later.
Decluttering your home can help reduce stress, make your space look brighter and more inviting, and help you to feel accomplished. For the best results, you should do this at least once a year, typically in the springtime.
Use checklists and remember that it might take several days to complete your whole home, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t get everything done in one day. Start small and work your way up to more difficult tasks, and you will be on your way to a perfectly decluttered home in no time.
Afton Jackson says
Thank you so much for your checklist on things to do when decluttering, especially for the living room and kitchens. My aunt and uncle are going to stay in with my family for the holidays, and I wanted to make sure our house looks as presentable as possible. We’ve had a lot of random items end up in our living room over the years, and none of these look presentable or relevant aside from a couple of novels that I keep as a collection. With hopes of making this place look better for my aunt and uncle, I’ll follow your checklist and get a dumpster rental service to help me dispose of what I end up throwing away!