Skip to main content

When it comes to getting more organized, one of the key elements must be decluttering your life, home, and activity schedule.  However, the very idea of getting rid of personal possessions strikes fear into the hearts of many.  Do you feel this way?  As with any other process, it often helps to have some basic, simple to follow rules in place.  Consider these six rules of decluttering to help you take steps toward living a clutter-free life.

  1. Bring Less Home

This is the most important rule to set before you even begin to purge items.  You need to determine and make a sincere effort to bring less stuff into your home.  There’s no point in putting forth the effort to declutter if you undo all your progress by buying more stuff.  Setting a mindset to shop with intention is the first step to clearing out the clutter for good. Remember, is this item you are about to purchase a need, or is it just a want?

  1. Document Your Nostalgia

Nostalgia and memories are powerful emotions that can lead you to hold onto clutter. An effective compromise is to digitize your prized possessions.  You can scan the images of things like certificates or kids’ artwork into your computer and organize them into folders.  For three-dimensional pieces like trophies or prom dresses, take a photo of the item to add to your digital keepsakes.  Often, it’s the memory of the event attached to the item that holds the greatest nostalgia, not necessarily the physical item itself.

  1. Start Small & Simple

One way to gain momentum in the declutter process is to start with the easy things.  Begin boxing up items that don’t hold much emotional attachment.  Doing so will lead to a sense of instant accomplishment and provide motivation for you to keep going.  Especially when the decision-making becomes tougher later.  This will be the motivation for cleaning the tougher areas of your home.  Start with doing a 15-minute session, as you clean an area, make your 3 piles: keep, give away or sell, garbage.  As you declutter, you can also ask yourself “why” you have kept this or that. This will help you in the future when you are tempted to bring other things home.  Remember the clutter didn’t appear overnight—so don’t beat yourself up over reversing the process.

  1. Lose the Duplicates

Another relatively easy decluttering task involves getting rid of unnecessary duplicate items.  So, take a moment to go through your home and gather up all your duplicate articles of clothing, dish sets and books.  Then sort through them, keeping only your favorite colored piece or the one that is in the best condition.  You will free up space very quickly this way.  Remember, you don’t need to be a squirrel keeping piles of things everywhere.

  1. Ditch the Guilt

An empowering decluttering strategy is to get rid of things you’ve been holding onto out of guilt.  It doesn’t matter how much you paid for that stylish coat if it’s not being used, and unwanted gifts are something else you should part with immediately.  The decision of whether to keep them is yours, so holding onto these items out of guilt is just weighing you down.

  1. Put Things in Their Place

Another way to bring organization and order to your home is to make sure all your possessions have a designated place.  Once they have an assigned place, remember to always return them there.  Knowing where stuff belongs makes it easier to keep everything tidy and lowers the chance of clutter becoming a recurring problem.

These 6 rules aren’t the definitive last word on clearing out the clutter in your life and home.  They also won’t remove all the difficulties from the process as you learn to part with items.  Hopefully, though, they will serve as guidelines to help you begin your own decluttering journey.