From Clutter to Confidence

3 easy steps to declutter your home

One of my favorite New Year to-dos is to go through my house and remove items I’m not using and organize every room. It becomes my favorite “to-do” after it is done of course. I dread it before and during, but the mental and physical benefits after are undeniable.

Decluttering is as much psychology as practicality. It’s difficult to part with possessions. If possible, try to remove the emotion and think, “if I haven’t used this item in the past year I probably don’t need to hang onto it.”  Dr. Laurie Buchanan says, “Clearing clutter—be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual—brings about ease and inspires a sense of peace, calm, and tranquility.”

One of the components of finding your personal space is to first sort and clear. We  often coach our clients on prioritizing and sorting because sometimes it takes an outside eye and some encouragement! My design experience has taught me the three tenants of decluttering:

Sort and purge…regularly. Like, weekly.

Set aside a time, maybe four times a year, to go through your things and get rid of what you don’t need and don’t use. Yes, it’s true, you might need it as soon as you get rid of it, but most times, not. Before you buy, think. Clutter is a downer to design and to the psyche. Managing it is a work in progress but well worth the results.

Declutter in small doses.

Don’t take on the entire house at once. Before you run out (with all good intentions) to buy a pile of organizers, do the sorting and purging first. Strive for everything to have a place and store items where you most often use them.

Start with the most difficult areas

Shoes. Decide how much space you have for shoe storage and then stick to the amount of space. There are many products devoted to shoe organization. I think this idea, using towel rods from IKEA, is very clever.

Paper. Even though we live in a digital world, my clients really struggle with paper stacking up faster than anything. Have one place for paper (mail, permission slips, etc). I purchase my clients either a modular system like these or a countertop mail sorter. Create filing systems for important docs like car titles and insurance policies in your office or closet so important papers can be saved for later. Go through your mail sorter once a week (it will take 10min!) and read, toss, file, and snap photos of documents. You can save them in an album in your phone.

Kitchen. Match food containers to the lids and save a reasonable amount that fits your lifestyle and toss the rest. Plastic breaks down so you don’t want to keep it too long, anyway. (I recommend glass containers.) For mugs, plates, bowls, and glasses, toss anything that’s chipped or doesn’t make you smile in the morning when filling it with coffee. Keep what makes you happy and makes sense for your lifestyle. I could go on forever about the kitchen. I absolutely love this article if you want to dig a little deeper into kitchen decluttering tips.  

After you tackle each project, take time to commend yourself and enjoy your success! Sometimes taking before and after photos for your own reference can offer a super amount of satisfaction. And if you need help, I’m here of course. Give me a ring and we can declutter together! We like the words of William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”  

Nelly Arnold