When you begin decluttering your home, it can be difficult to decide what to part with and you can find yourself overwhelmed or intimidated by the task. Fret not, we have a few tips to help you get started.
Everything Needs a Home
The idea behind the minimalist home is that everything has a use and a place. If you cannot find a good spot for an item, and there is no way it can be easily tucked away when you are not using it, then you should consider getting rid of it.
Take four boxes and label them keep, give away, throw away, and outbox. Items you pick up will go into one of these boxes as you work. The outbox is for items you are not yet sure you want to keep or get rid of. Put them in the outbox for now and come back to them in a couple of weeks. If you have not used — or thought of, in the case of knick-knacks — an item when you return to the box, you can feel better about getting rid of it.
Try putting the box in a higher traffic area of your home, like the living room, so you will not forget about it or the fact that you need to decide what to do with the items inside.
One Room at a Time
Getting started will be less intimidating if you focus on one room at a time. Do not think about decluttering your home as a whole. Instead, think about decluttering your bedroom and only your bedroom, then your living room, and so on. The rest of the house does not matter yet, only the room you are currently working on.
If a single room seems too intimidating to start with, go smaller. Focus on a single closet, or dresser, or even drawer at a time. Break this down into as many pieces as you need to, in order to make the task less daunting. Eventually, you will be able to work yourself up to focus on an entire room at a time.
Many people have a box of old report cards, writing projects, art projects, and more from when they were in school or from their own children. But this box takes up unnecessary space. Instead of keeping a box of these things, consider making digital copies of them so you can free up space. This way you still get to keep them in a different form and declutter at the same time.
Most homes tend to accumulate clutter near the entryway, so setting up a drop zone there will help with that. If people take off their shoes upon entering your apartment, get a little shoe cubby for them. Set up a peg board or coat rack for everyone to hang their coats and bags on when they come in, and another little hook system for keys. This will help you minimize the clutter in one of the highest traffic areas of your home.
Gather Like Items
A good way to help you determine how many of an item you have is to gather all similar items in one place. For example, gather all your cleaning products and toss anything expired or that you just never use. Address the duplicates of those supplies, then put them all away. Do you seem to collect purses? Gather them all and sort them into your four boxes accordingly.
This is a bit more difficult to do when you are decluttering one room at a time, but you can always make lists of various similar items as you go, so you can gather and sort them later. Some things you may decide to keep when working on single rooms, but when you gather all the like items around the house you might realize you don’t actually need all of them.
Pare Down Your Wardrobe
One good method for cleaning out your closet takes about six months, but it really makes you realize what you do and do not wear. Take every item in your closet and hang them backwards, then after you wear them, hang them up the right way. After six months, you will see what you actually wear and know what you can get rid of. To do this with your seasonal clothes, plan to start this project at the beginning of the season you need the clothes for and, by the end of it, you will be able to clearly see what you do not wear.
Furniture takes up more room and can be removed to declutter and give your home a more minimalist look. If you have too many big pieces of furniture in a small room, consider which pieces you need, and which ones are just taking up space. Do you have a chair you hate that just sits in the corner of your living room collecting dust? Now is the time to get rid of it. Discarding furniture might seem like a waste, but you will feel better once you make your home more breathable.
You can also rearrange your furniture to maximize space. If there is something you want to keep, but there just isn’t any room for it, consider alternatives for where you can put it, but try not to force it. It probably won’t fit in the outbox, but you can still take a mental note of it and consider its place in your home later.
By using a minimalist approach to your apartment, you can get rid of unneeded clutter and make your home more organized and relaxed. As part of decluttering, take inventory of things like area rugs, bedding, and throw away pillows that have become worn down and are no longer in good condition. Consider replacing them to make your home more comfortable and better put together. Being a minimalist does not mean you cannot buy new things to replace the old, just that you should consider every purchase before bringing something new into your home.
About the Author: Auz Burger has a Bachelor’s in English Literature and minors in media communications, professional writing, history, and women’s studies from Washington State University. She is a freelance editor and writer who writes for many sites.