Let’s be honest, we all end up with clutter in our lives at one time or another. Even though the physical clutter is the easiest to see when it accumulates around your home, there are other kinds of clutter taking up space in our lives. This blog is going to breakdown a variety of ways to declutter in the new year, and hopefully make it a manageable task. I know that if I take on too much at one time, I am bound to quit.
Would less clutter, lessen your stress? We think so!
One Room A Month – This is a physical declutter. With this method, you take on the task of tackling one room a month so as to not get overwhelmed or run out of time. Find time in those 30ish days to really sort through the room and figure out what is necessary and what is clutter. Bedrooms, entryway (if it’s got a closet or cabinet, consider it a room), living room, kitchen, dining room, bathrooms, mudroom, etc. If the room is rather large, the kitchen for example, take two months. For example, if you are starting with a bedroom, go through all drawers in the furniture, under the bed, on shelving, and in the closet and remove the clutter – unnecessary things taking up space. Donate what you can, purge what is truly junk, and rehome things you want to keep in their new place.
By breaking it down to one room a month, you have the entire 4 weeks to accomplish this. Still seem overwhelming? Set timers. Find 20 minutes a few times a week, focus on the task, and when the timer goes off, you can stop.
Here is an example of my kitchen utensil drawer. The drawer is large and gets unruly really easily. However, I took 20 minutes and sorted it out. I purged some items that were old, added others to a box to donate and then organized items by type and use. Everything has its place and my family has been asked to keep the drawer in this order.
30/30 Challenge – This is another one that I have seen go around on social media giving you one area to focus on at a time, but doing it 30 days in a row can seem to be a lot. The concept is to fill 30 bags in 30 days from different areas of the house – spice cabinet, junk drawer, master bathroom, etc. The bags don’t have to be large, and sometimes they won’t be as filled as others, but it’s really helping you tidy up spaces that tend to accumulate things without notice.
One area that I focus on, because I love food, is my spice cabinet. I have purchased or have been gifted a variety of spice blends. I wrote a list of all the spice blends I have and put it inside the cupboard door so it’s easier to know what I all have when I can’t see them all.
Digital cleaning– With the invention of cloud-based software, we have been given the luxury of saving things digitally much easier than in decades prior. Remember filling floppy disks or CDs with music or photos? Next came the external drives with massive space when we realized that floppies and CDs were becoming obsolete. I still use my external drive, but I have limited myself to only backup things that I really felt necessary, like photos.
Rarely do we print photos and make physical albums anymore. It’s much easier to upload images to social media and just let images back up in the cloud. But remember, if something happens to your social media, you could lose all those images. Please back them up.
But do you need every image backed up? Probably not. When I got my new phone in July, all of my photos transferred over from my last phone and the phone before that, etc. So this phone now has images on it all the way back to April of 2017. That’s approximately 15,000 images! So how do we solve this, we dedicate time to deleting the digital clutter. iPhones breakdown your images really nicely by year or month, so I suggest taking one of those years, or a month depending on how many images you may need to go through, and again dedicating time to deleting what you don’t need. Then making sure those same files are deleted from the cloud or other backup you are using (because you better be using some form of backup).
And just like digital images taking up space, does anyone have an out of control inbox in your email like me?! I have a variety of email addresses used for different things that I am a part of, but I have let my old email (now my junk email address) get out of control. I am narrowing in on almost 10,000 emails in the inbox!!! Sure about 99% of them are junk, but because at one point, this email was my main email address, I am terrified to do a delete all. So what I am recommending is again dedicating some time (about a half hour a day) to unsubscribing from actual things you signed up for, forwarding important emails to the right address, and marking true junk as spam so it stops filling the inbox. Will this problem ever completely go away for me? No, but I won’t have the anxiety of seeing so many unread emails and have a more organized and manageable inbox in the future.
I hope these ideas spur a little excitement in you to declutter. Or maybe you are already doing these things and I applaud you for that. Doing something over and over again can make it a habit, and I hope that by doing these things, I will think twice about just putting something in a closet or place to get it out of the way or that I will take care of it another time.