Clutter is a serious issue for many Americans, which burdens many aspects of their lives. Financially, storage is now a $154 billion industry, with 1 in 11 people spending more than $1000 per year renting self-storage spaces for their excess belongings.
Dealing with so much clutter at home is also a physical and mental health concern and has been linked to higher rates of anxiety, poor sleep quality, and reduced productivity.
In addition, according to research conducted by the National Soap and Detergent Association, the average American spends 40% of their total cleaning time simply battling clutter. If you feel like you never have time to tidy up, clutter is probably why.
Despite the clear benefits of having a clutter-free home, many of us still struggle to get rid of items we no longer need. Plus, learning how to clean is a challenge for many people, too.
If you’ve been living in the same place (and have been accumulating clutter) for many years, the task of culling your possessions can feel overwhelming. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In this article, we asked our best house cleaners in Milwaukee for expert decluttering tips and steps to achieve a more organized space, even without a professional organizer.
Get Rid of Things on the Go
Nothing’s worse than thinking of the whole decluttering process as a single, monumental task that needs to be completed in a weekend. After all, the last thing you want to do is drag all your possessions out of storage containers, only to get exhausted halfway through the job and quit – leaving your home more of a mess than ever.
The ideal way to start decluttering your home is to throw out old or unwanted items as you go about your daily activities. Here are some examples to give you an idea.
- When cleaning the bathroom, toss out the mostly-empty shampoo and lotion bottles, expired makeup, skincare you no longer use, and unnecessary stuff.
- While making dinner, throw away expired condiments, baking supplies, and other food items from the fridge, pantry, and kitchen cabinets.
- When cleaning your children’s toy room, look and get rid of broken things and other items that are no longer in use.
- On laundry day, collect clothes and other items you haven’t worn in the last year and donate them to charity.
- Check the medicine cabinet for expired or empty tubes and products.
- Make it a habit to declutter your home by walking around each room with a trash bag and picking up random items, including toys, dirty clothes, or unnecessary items. Sort them later to put in proper storage space, or for recycling or donating.
By taking these small steps over several weeks, you effectively get rid of visual clutter and perhaps come up with organization systems to stay clutter-free.
Set a Decluttering Rule and Stick to It
Aside from time constraints, deciding which items to eliminate is the most significant obstacle people face in the initial stages of a decluttering project. It’s tempting to keep anything that might be useful “one day,” and it’s hard to let go of objects with sentimental value.
But there’s no way around it. If you’re serious about decluttering your home, you’ll need to toughen up and focus on achieving clean and clutter-free living spaces.
When deciding which things to toss into the bin or donation boxes, follow these decluttering tips from experts:
- Throw irreparably broken items or expired products.
- Do you need outdated sports equipment? Keep only what you need or what you can still use realistically.
- Donate clothes you haven’t used for over a year unless the item would be impossible or costly to replace.
- Keep seasonal decorations and out-of-season clothes neatly in clear or accessible storage bags.
- Select no more than five “optional” items per room that you want to keep.
- As Marie Kondo recommends, hold each item and ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?”
Declutter Your Home One Room at a Time
Instead of decluttering the whole house in one go, tackle each room one weekend at a time. It may take a few weeks, but we guarantee the stress level isn’t as horrible. This will keep the decluttering project more manageable and minimize disruption to your household.
- Start small – Kickstart your decluttering journey by clearing up drawers or smaller rooms, like the master’s bathroom, laundry room, hall closet, linen closet, or drawer under the kitchen sink.
- Take on the bedrooms and family rooms next – Get rid of clutter problem in the living rooms, dining room, or entertainment center.
- Deal with the remaining items in your garage, shed, or personal storage unit.
Whenever Possible, Go Digital
Choose paperless billing whenever possible to minimize paper clutter in the junk drawer. Get rid of old DVDs, books, and CDs that can take up a lot of shelf space. Keep only the ones that you personally see as rare or priceless. Opt for digital copies of your favorite songs, movies, and books. Doing so will give you more space for things that truly make you happy.
Get the Whole Family Involved in Organizing Your Home
As any parent knows, decluttering your home with kids around can feel like an exercise in futility. Not only do they like to get into everything while you’re working, but they also have a way of suddenly becoming attached to things they haven’t touched in years when it’s time to get rid of them.
So here’s what you can do:
- Rather than wasting time debating with your kids about what to keep, create an incentive system that encourages them to keep only what they need.
- Offer kids a small amount of money (like a quarter or a dollar) for every item they part with. You can also offer your kids a bonus reward if they’re willing to help you organize the rest of the house.
- If your kids are too young to help, consider asking a relative to watch them for a few hours each weekend while you work. This will give you uninterrupted time to focus on decluttering your home in peace.
Use the “Three Box Method”
Placing items on the floor while you organize them can create trip hazards and make your home feel messier. To keep everything tidy and organized while you declutter, it’s a good idea to use three large boxes or storage containers. Label the bins “Keep,” “Toss,” and “Optional.” When you’re done working, put the items you’ve decided to keep back in their proper places. Then, take surplus usable items and donate them to charity or hold a garage sale. Broken or useless items can go in the recycling bin.
Stay Clutter-Free with Ample Storage space and Be Strategic
It’s easier to declutter your home and maintain an organized space when everything has its proper place. Check out these pro tips for an orderly house and avoid clutter.
- Invest in decent-quality storage boxes.
- Make an inventory of everything you have. Post it where you can see it and update regularly.
- Use clear plastic bins to easily see what’s inside and stop yourself from overbuying.
- Store items according to purpose. For example, keep craft supplies stored neatly in desk drawers or herbs and spices in kitchen drawers.
- Maximize the use of vertical space by setting up built-in shelves in an available wall space or stackable storage containers.
Be Realistic About Your Expectations
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t keep all the rooms as clutter-free as you want them to be.
Physical restrictions, a hectic schedule split between work and family life, or sharing your home with children or furry pets — these plus several other factors can all contribute to why you have a cluttered space and make decluttering your home and regular housecleaning a daunting chore, even for minimalists.
Fortunately, there’s help available.
Need Help Cleaning or Decluttering Your Home? We’re Here For You!
So now you’ve decluttered your home without spending money on a professional organizer. Think you can still deep clean every nook and cranny of your house?
The best decluttering tip no one ever talks about is that sometimes you can’t do everything alone. If you’ve used up all your time and energy, then maybe it’s time to sit back and relax. Leave the deep cleaning to us! Let our professional house cleaners highlight the best angles of your clutter-free home.