Are you feeling a lot of stress in your life? One of the best ways to relieve that tension is to tidy up around the house; the saying goes: “tidy house, tidy mind.” Especially with the cold weather on its way, you’ll spend even more time indoors. So, whether it’s just a few boxes lying around or you have rooms filled to the brim with unnecessary items, it’s time to clean up, toss, or donate it. To help you on your quest to a cleaner house and mind, follow our guide on how to get rid of clutter in your home!
Use the Four-Box Method
One of the main tricks to getting rid of clutter in your home is the four-box method. In each clutter-filled room, keep four labeled boxes: trash, keep, donate, and relocate. As you spend your time decluttering, use these boxes as your way of knowing what you do and don’t need. As you go room by room, don’t skip over a single item. These boxes will help you decide whether those little figurines or old, small art projects are truly necessary. Here are a few examples of what you could find in each box:
This box contains broken, stained, ripped, incomplete, and outdated items. For example, in the kitchen, you may toss outdated food. Similarly, in the toy room, you would toss broken kids’ toys. When you’re trying to delineate between toss and donate, determine if someone else would purchase the item in its current condition. If not, it goes into the trash box.
This will probably be the box that ends up with the most in it, especially when it comes to the bedroom. Put items that you haven’t touched in six months or more and are still in good condition in the donate box.
When it comes to the keep box, you have to be strategic, otherwise, you could end up keeping all the clutter you need to get rid of. Pay attention to how often you use or wear the item—if it’s not often enough, you need to part with it. If it’s a relic, put it in the storage box. If the item is only adding to the clutter, you need to think about delegating it to a different box.
To put it simply, this box is for items you can’t part with, but don’t necessarily play a role in your daily life. For example, you can store important family heirlooms you want to pass down elsewhere. Since it doesn’t actively contribute to your day-to-day lifestyle, it doesn’t need to sit out.
What Would You Replace If You Lost Everything?
As you’re going through each room with these boxes, try to ask yourself: what would you replace if you lost everything? This is a reverse way of thinking; if everything was gone, what would you replace first. This thinking is especially beneficial for those who need some strict decluttering rules. If you choose to go this route, make sure you only keep the necessities.
Declutter in Chunks
When you go to reorganize and clean your home, don’t try to get it all done in one day. You should declutter in short chunks—making it an all-day affair may do more harm than good. In reality, getting rid of clutter in your home is a task best spread out over multiple days or weeks. The time frame will depend on how much you need to get rid of. If you find cleaning to be extremely stressful, set aside a few five-minute chunks each day when you can make these decisions.
Don’t Forget About Paper Clutter
A big category of clutter that people often overlook is a real nuisance—paper. Paper clutter is very hard to control, as it requires a ton of organization. Make sure you have different areas (folders, binders, etc.) to hold coordinate the different papers. For example, important documents, such as credit card statements and electric bills, should go into their own folder. Additionally, you should get rid of receipts once you log them all in the same place. The more paper organization hacks you have, the better your home will look and feel.
In general, if you want to get rid of clutter in your home, then you should think about donating regularly. Even after you finish decluttering your home, keep a box somewhere in the house that’s solely for donations. As you go through each day and find something to donate, put it in the donate box. There are a lot of items that are great for donating—GreenDrop continually updates our list of acceptable donation items. In general, donating will get rid of clutter in your home and simultaneously help your community and local charities.
Follow the One In, One Out Rule
As you continue to refine the items in your home, try to follow the one in, one out, rule. Especially when it comes to items found in your closet, this idea can keep you from having too much stuff. If you want a new sweater, then an old sweater needs to go in the donate pile. If you buy new winter coats for the family, then you need to bring the old winter coats to your favorite charity. Pay attention to how much you’re bringing into the house, and make sure you take the same amount out.
Find New Ways to Keep Items You Love
For many individuals, one of the hardest parts of ridding clutter is finding a way to hang onto memories. Whether it’s a shirt from an old friend or a bunch of family pictures, several items in our homes carry lovely memories. Although we don’t want to part with them, they only add to our clutter problem. For these items, try to find new ways to keep them that will simultaneously lessen the disarray. For example, digitize those photos you can’t get rid of, and add them to an album on the computer. With all the technology at our fingertips, think about the ways you can hang on to those memories without adding to the mess!
Hopefully, following these tips will help you rid the clutter from your home and reduce any stress you feel when you walk in the door. When you fill-up any donation boxes, schedule a home pick-up donation with GreenDrop. We’ll come to get your donations and will donate any money earned to the charity of your choice. We partner with Purple Heart, Red Cross, National Federation of the Blind, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Reap the benefits of a clean home and achieve a clear conscious knowing you’re helping your community!