Decluttering is hard work, and what makes it harder is that most of us start the process only when we have no other choice. We’re usually decluttering when moving, downsizing, or during other major life events. It’s stress with more stress on top, so no wonder we are overwhelmed by the entire situation.
To avoid such moments of crisis, we should try to keep our homes clutter-free all the time. It’s a process that requires, first and foremost, a mindset change. Stop impulse buying – it only leads to more clutter. Make an inventory of your possessions, decide what stays and what gets stored, sold, or donated. Also, involve your entire family in maintaining a clean, tidy home.
And, because we’re living in 2019 and “there’s an app for everything,” here are the most useful online tools to use during your decluttering process.
HomeApp comes with a pretty unique service, one that’s extremely useful. It basically replaces all the user manuals and warranties for the electronics and appliances in your home. Snap a picture of an appliance or device label, and the app will store details about that product: manufacturers manuals and warranties, receipts and recall notices. You’ll even receive alerts about recalls and maintenance remainders.
Icebox is a Google Chrome extension that keeps your impulse shopping habits in check. You know that thing where you mindlessly browse the Internet and stumble upon a pair of shoes? You don’t really need shoes, but they’re cute, and they’re on sale, so why not buy them?
By the time the package arrives at your doorstep, you realize you don’t like them that much, plus they’re kind of uncomfortable, so they end up in the closet, gathering dust. And creating clutter. Icebox stops you from impulse buying stuff by turning the “Add to Cart” or “Buy” button of the most popular e-commerce stores into an “Put it on ice” button.
After pushing the button, the item is added into your personal icebox, and you won’t be able to buy it until the “cooling” period ends. You can set the cooling period for as long as you like. I set mine at 10 days, and it kept me from purchasing 90% of the items I would’ve bought otherwise.
Get rid of it turns decluttering into a challenge, game or competition, however you want to call it. Basically, you set your goal (for example, getting rid of one item each day, for 30 days) and then keep track of the progress through the app.
You can share your declutter evolution on social media, and you can even challenge your friends to a contest. The app also gives you tips on how to reach your goals. It’s both funny and efficient, especially if you’re motivated by a visual representation of your progress.
STORAGECafé allows you to easily find a storage unit in your preferred location so that you can keep your important yet less used valuables safe. There are many items you’re using only a few times per year (ski equipment, camping gear, holiday decorations, and so on). You obviously don’t want to get rid of that stuff—you need it—but it does take up a lot of space. Why not rent a storage unit? Search for storage facilities near you based on city, neighborhood, zip code or even map area. Compare prices and amenities, contact the facility owner, and book a unit. It’s that easy!
Snupps stimulates you to organize your stuff into categories and to keep track of the things you own. Once you post your collections of clothing and accessories online, other users will provide you organizational tips and tricks. Sell the things you no longer want, join groups related to your interests and keep track of your spending on new purchases, all through the app.
Our Home transforms household chores into a kids’ game. Literally. Assign tasks to everyone in your home, children included, and each completed task brings points. The points then turn into rewards that you set up to keep the kids motivated (screen time, family outing, playdate). It’s a cute little tool that instills a sense of responsibility in children from a young age and helps you keep housework under control.
BrightNest provides numerous tips and tools for maintaining and improving your home. Learn how to clean your microwave with lemons, how to inspect your roof or how to make your home smell great. Each task includes a detailed to-do guide and the estimated amount of time it takes to complete it. Schedule the moment when you want to start a task, and the app will remind you about it.
Decluttr.com is very useful because it allows you to get rid of old phones, books, CDs, DVDs, video games and Lego and to make a profit out of them. Simply scan the items that have barcodes, weight them (in the case of Lego) or write down the brand and model, and you get an instant valuation of your item. The app ensures free shipping and next day payments for your stuff.
Artkive solves one major type of clutter all parents are familiar with – children’s artwork! The app ships you a box that you fill with your child’s artwork. Your little Picasso’s projects are then professionally photographed and turned into a keepsake book. You can also access the artwork online.
CamScanner scans all your old documents, letters, journals and so on and allows you to finally get rid of those huge stacks of papers you kept for decades. Capture documents by phone, without using complicated scanners, remove backgrounds, convert images to text, send faxes in over 30 countries, export files in multiple formats and sync everything into the cloud. In other words, this app is a filing cabinet worthy of the 21st century.
PhotoScan does for photos what CamScanner does for documents. You can scan old photos and enjoy them on any connected device, instead of keeping them buried in a dusty box in a drawer. The app also improves the quality of the images and offers filters and advanced editing controls.
Conquering the clutter in your home might take more than those apps but it’s a pretty good start, nonetheless, so go ahead and try them!