This article contains my top decluttering tips for beginners. Decluttering your home can be a pretty monumental task. Nothing can be more frightening than the thought of going through every one of your things and deciding whether to keep or remove them. When faced with your home and all the drawers and closets and cabinets and shelves ….sometimes it is easier to turn a blind eye, close the door, and just continue on with your day.
If you are a frequent visitor to Simple Living Country Gal then you know how much I love decluttering and simplifying. It is my goal to help anyone who wants to remove the excess so they can live a peaceful satisfying life without the noise or the chaos.
I am also aware that the getting started part can be half the battle. Oh, who am I kidding? The getting started is usually the hardest part. Find a way to make the getting started part easier and you are off and running.
Now before we go any further I understand there are different levels of clutter and not every post will help you to make progress.
If you have your home pretty well cleaned out and you just need a little help with the finishing touches you can jump to this post and get started now!
For the rest of you, we are going to come up with a game plan that will get you on your way to “wanting” to declutter your home.
Well, maybe not quite as excited as my friend right here but pretty darn close!
You see, I used to HATE decluttering. I hated the tediousness of it all. But then something happened. I finally finished my first room. And once I saw that room, once I FELT that room, I was hooked.
That’s because when you declutter a home it is contagious. Once that very first room is cleaned out and set up in a way that makes sense to you and your family you will be hooked too.
See this plan in action! Read: HOW TO DECLUTTER AND ORGANIZE YOUR FAMILY ROOM
Now, notice I did not say a cleaned out and decluttered home. That is not what this post is about.
This post is meant to be more than that. This post is meant to be a tool. A tool to help you get started. To take that first step even when you simply don’t want to.
Whether you have one room that needs your attention or an entire house that needs a full-on overhaul you can get control of your things with one simple and easy rule.
Remove the clutter one item at a time.
The problem with decluttering or any cleaning task really is we tend to look at the whole picture. When you picture your entire home when you are getting ready to begin you can quickly lose any motivation and fast. You see, you are setting your sights too big. You are only picturing and planning for the finish line rather than the journey.
I want you to only think of your journey.
And with any journey, it all happens just one step at a time.
Just like with a marathon you need to train yourself to look at decluttering differently.
It isn’t a “show up for the long strenuous race and be done with it forever” project. You are going to work on this every single day. But it’s more than that. You are going to instead change your daily and weekly habits to incorporate decluttering and cleaning out into your schedule.
As you remove things slowly and intentionally you will, in turn, teach your mind to look at your things as just that.
These things are NOT people we love. They are NOT friends we cherish They are NOT events in our lives.
Sure they may represent those things but they are not and never will be replacements for those things.
Okay, so I know what you are thinking. This is all well and good but HOW do we do it then?
I am so glad you asked because I am going to show you.
Decluttering Tips For Beginners. Tips you can use when you are stuck.
Step #1 Plan and Schedule
I want you to look at this as part of your daily routine. Eventually you will make this weekly but for now daily is how we are going to approach this. Remember we are training for a marathon and to do that we need to introduce things nice and slow.
As you begin to see how purging makes you feel. How it frees you from the stress that too much stuff naturally brings, you will, in turn, train your mind to WANT to remove the extra.
To start I want you to plan on spending just 20 minutes every single day working on your clutter. I even want you to take it one step further and put that 20 minutes onto your calendar.
In PEN. Yep, set that baby in stone so you can’t ignore it.
20 minutes? Well that’s is easy enough, right?
Heck when you think about it, you can do just about anything for 20 minutes.
Get a root canal. Watch a painfully boring presentation at work. Walk on a treadmill. Get your oil changed. Yes, when you know you just have 20 minutes committed it is much easier to get through it.
Set that time and get your head in the game! My partner in crime, my decluttering BFF is my Echo Show.
All I have to do is say, “Alexa, set the timer for 20 minutes” and it’s done and I can get to work. Better yet I can have her play my Timer Playlist. My top songs that take, you guessed it, 21 minutes to play! Winner-Winner!
Step #2 Get up and Get Going
Yep, it really is that simple. You need to get up off of your duff and get moving.
It’s just 20 minutes.
It’s for your own happiness. It’s for your family’s happiness. And….it’s NOT GOING TO KILL YOU.
Get out of your head where you are surrounded by excuses and just get up and move.
Like cooking dinner, approach this task as something you MUST do in order to eat.
It is as simple as that.
Step #3 Set the Timer
I love a good motivator and a timer is just that. A motivator. Maybe not at first but as you begin to find your groove you will see that time ticking away is a great motivator and a perfect way to get more done faster.
That timer will force you to focus. To zero in on what needs to be done and work quickly at doing just that.
Getting it done.
I want you to set that timer and as soon as it begins to count down get busy. Get focused. Get to work.
Do you need more than that? Okey dokey….here you go.
- Set the timer for 20 minutes
- Grab a bag or a box that you can fill in that time frame
- Start selecting things that you can easily and without emotion remove from your home.
- Move quickly choosing items walking randomly around the room.
- The object is to fill your box or your bag before the timer goes off. Don’t think. Just do.
- When the timer goes off take the box and put it right now into the trunk of your car.
- Next time you out drop all the items off to the donation center.
- Repeat this process every single day.
Step #4 Save the hard stuff for later
Hey, I get it. Sometimes there are items in those piles that have meaning. That bring with them a pleasant memory or is a reminder of a time you simply don’t want to forget.
Here is a little tip for you.
Save those items for later. They deserve your time and attention so if letting them go is not something you can deal with instantly set it aside to deal with it later.
This list is to help you GET STARTED. As you declutter and learn how to declutter you will train your mind to better handle those difficult items you have saved for later.
For now, just set those items off to the side and focus on the simple. The easy.
Step #5 Declutter as you go
For me, this was the easiest way to handle all that clutter in my home. When I decided to weave decluttering throughout my day I was not hit in the face with the hardness of it. The difficulty of removing all those things from my home.
I simply removed my clutter as I came across them while simply living out my day. So, when I was cooking and I needed to reach for a spatula I would take just a few seconds to go through my cooking utensils and remove those that I knew I no longer needed.
This way of decluttering was so incredibly simple it was almost funny.
- When I dressed in the morning I took 20 seconds (yes I said seconds) to sort through my socks.
- As I put the dishes away I would remove excess Tupperware and mismatched containers without lids.
- When I cleaned up the bathroom I would remove torn sheets and pillowcases from the linen closet.
- As I picked up the kids toys I filled a bag of random toys at the bottom of the toybox that the kids hadn’t touched in a long while.
By decluttering this way I was not started this monumental task of cleaning out my home I was simply removing a few random things here and there as I came across them.
I turned this huge job into a simple chore that I tackled without much effort at all.
Pretty amazing isn’t it!
Step #6 Nothing comes in unless something goes out
Okay, I really can’t take credit for this decluttering tip for beginners. But the brilliance behind it is so crazy I can’t help but love it. By adopting this one tip you can assure yourself that your home will never get any worse than it is right now. Right, this very minute.
If you go out shopping for new clothes then before those clothes can go into your closet you will need to remove the same amount of items and give them away.
If you purchase a new kitchen item you will need to remove an item from your drawer before you can put this new item in.
Did you buy new toys for your kiddos? Great! But first, you need to gather up the same amount and send them off to your donation of choice.
Step #7 Declutter as you clean
Another of my favorite ways to remove the clutter and one I still use to this day. It is a great way to stay on top of your things and to ensure they never get out of hand again. When I dust specifically I will take the time to go through my nick nacks. I will remove those items that no longer bring me joy. Now, don’t panic. I am not telling you to toss that souvenir from a trip you took 10 years ago, but why not give it to your son or another family member so they can carry on the tradition of its memory in their own home.
You see decluttering doesn’t mean giving your things to a stranger or throwing it away. It simply means removing those excess items from your home that you no longer use, love or need.
Once you remove all that extra. The piles, the bags of things, the stacks of excess you will uncover something pretty amazing. You will begin to see all those things that truly give you joy. Those things that have been buried under the excess and the mess. Now you can enjoy all those items you truly love.
I cannot tell you how comforting it is to be in my home now. To be surrounded by those things that remind me of my family or special times. Those things were always there, they were just buried in a total mess. Now it’s your turn. To remove that mess and give those things that truly bring you joy out where you can give it the respect it deserves.
No more excuses my good friend. It’s time for get up and take that first step to a clean and decluttered home.