One of the things that I have a really difficult time with is clutter. Indeed, there are few things that bother me more than a cluttered home. As a result, every so often, I go through and declutter the house. Or, at least declutter the areas I am most likely to see on a regular basis. Here is a checklist that can help you declutter your home and simplify your life, providing a feeling of greater openness:
Every Day Decluttering
I do a small amount of decluttering every day. For the most part, this decluttering takes place in the most public areas of my home. It involves me going through the house at the end of the day, clearing up some of the small natural accumulations. I gather up the newspaper lying on the table, straighten books, and clear debris that shouldn’t be there. My son and husband help out as well. My son cleans up his toys, and orders his backpack and shoes so that he is ready for school the next day. My husband organizes his books and the materials he uses for teaching his class.
Checklist for Less Regular Decluttering
While a daily dose of decluttering — which usually only takes us five to 10 minutes — can be quite helpful for keeping things relative neat, it does not address the clutter that can build up in more out of the way places around the house. Here are some areas of the home that it might be time for you to declutter:
- Closets: Go through your closets once a year. Consider the clothing you have in there. Is there really a chance you will fit into those jeans again? Will that shirt ever be something you enjoy putting on? Be realistic and gather up clothes, shoes and accessories that you haven’t worn for a while. Donate to a thrift shop, or sell them at a consignment shop. You can also go through and get rid of other items that might be cluttering up your closet, from old boxes to battered and broken luggage.
- Linens: Periodically look through your linens. Check to see that sheets, towels, tablecloths and other items are in good condition. Or, simple get rid of items that you have too many of. Do you really need 50 towels? You can consign some to the rag heap (make sure to get rid of the old rags), and give away or sell linens that are still in good shape.
- Cupboards and Pantry: You should also go through your pantry and your kitchen cupboards at least every couple of years. Check for food that is expired or has some other problem. Look for appliances that are broken, and superfluous dishes. If you have a home food storage system, make sure that everything is being properly rotated.
- Toys: Periodically go through your children’s toys and get rid of toys that are broken, or that your kids don’t play with. I find that the months leading up to Christmas each year are ideal for this. Donate or sell toys in good condition, and throw out broken toys. This includes going through video games. You should also take this time to go through your own adult version of toys and consider getting rid of some of those. In some cases, for particularly attractive toys, it might be a good idea to box them up for when you have grandchildren. But be selective. You don’t want to clutter your storage space up with too many toy boxes.
- Storage: Every couple of years go through your storage spaces in the attic or in the crawl space. Look through boxes you have stored there, and determine whether you still really need what you have. There’s nothing wrong with letting go.
You really can keep a cleaner, less cluttered home. And you don’t have to go through everything all at once. Tackle each area on its own, and at different times of the year, so that it does not become overwhelming.