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Posted in You | January 2015

Lighten up

lighten-up

We all have those “hot spots” in our homes that are filled with clutter—spots we hide from visitors, shut behind closed doors and shudder to think about. “Stuff” just seems to accumulate over the years, filling up shelves, closets, and nooks and crannies where it collects dust and takes up much-needed space.

Tackling an entire house filled with stuff that needs to be sorted, tossed or donated can be daunting. That’s where the yearlong declutter challenge comes in!

The idea is to purge 365 items from your home over the course of a year. That averages out to one item per day, but you could purge 7 items at the end of a week or 31 items at the end of a month if it’s easier for you and your family to organize it that way.

The only rule is that 365 things you don’t love, need, use or have space for must leave your house. It doesn’t count if you box them up and store them in the garage or basement—these items must leave your possession and your premises. The items you purge can be donated or sold, or you could offer them up for free using the Freecycle Network (https://www.freecycle.org/)—anything to get those unwanted items out of your home and your life.

You can manage the 365-day purge any way that works best for you, but we have some tips you might want to consider:

  • Get a couple of large boxes and mark them “sell” and “donate”. Whether you purge daily, weekly or monthly, these boxes can store your purged items until they are filled. At that point you can seal up the boxes and drop the items you want to donate off at donation center (like Goodwill or the Salvation Army), and put the garage sale items in your basement or garage until you’re ready for your sale. Then get two new boxes and start again!
  • Remember family and friends when you’re decluttering. If you want to have a third box marked “give away”, you can add hand-me-down clothing and other items you might want to pass along rather than donate or sell.
  • Start a list and write down each thing you purge. Not only will this help to keep you on track so you know when you’ve hit your 365 items, but seeing the list grow will also help keep you motivated to continue decluttering.
  • Make sure to get the whole family involved—you didn’t create the clutter all on your own, after all! It’s particularly good to get kids thinking critically about the number of things they have and how much they’re actually using them.
  • Start small. Don’t think you’re going to tackle an entire room in a day—that’s a surefire recipe for burnout. Instead, tackle one junk drawer, counter or shelf. Small victories are motivating.
  • Schedule your decluttering. If you’re going to do it daily, pick a time for each member of the family to hunt for that one item they’re going to purge and do it at the same time every day.
  • Tackle your storage problems. As you declutter, you may realize that part of your problem is that you’re lacking adequate storage. Determine whether or not you need additional shelving, large plastic containers or boxes to store items you do want to keep, but that don’t need to be out and accessible all year long.
  • Speaking of storage, make sure all of your everyday items have a home. If mail, keys, shoes and coats are always cluttering up your entryway, for example, find permanent places for all those items to reside. A decorative box on a table in your front hall is a good place to toss your keys, gloves and mail. Put up a coat rack to hold the coats you use every day so they don’t get tossed on a chair or dropped on the floor instead of being hung in the closet. Consider adding a bench with cubbyholes beneath it, which is a great solution for shoes.

Do you have some great tips for decluttering and keeping your home tidy and organized? Share your best ideas on our Facebook page and help inspire other members!

For more tips on decluttering your space, visit About Home, From Overwhelmed to Organized, and 365 Less Things.

 

411930I CAN/US (01/15)
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