Anytime is a good time to get organized! Many people use the changing of the seasons to carve out some time to declutter and deep-clean. Spring and fall are ideal times for washing the windows, steaming the carpets, and cleaning and turning the mattresses. But other circumstances may also present the opportunity to do a quick declutter — or a major overhaul of your belongings:
- During the holiday season, getting organized will help you keep your home tidy for visitors, highlight your festive decorations, and make hosting a breeze.
- Any time you move into a new place, take the opportunity to go through every single belonging you have and say goodbye to things you no longer want or need.
- If you’re in the mood to remodel a bedroom closet or clean out the pantry, do a deep dive into the stuff that you’re storing there, and pare it down.
- Parents of older children who are moving out can take advantage of the extra space by doing some decluttering — but don’t throw anything out until you run it by the offspring!
Home Detox Decluttering, Room by Room
To truly declutter your home, you’ll need to do a thorough “detox.” Most of us focus on the bathroom, bedroom, and closets when we think of organizing, but there are many other areas of your home that could probably use some extra organization. If you feel overwhelmed, start with small spaces first and work your way toward larger rooms as you go.
Hallway and Living Room: Store coats and shoes in a closet or storage bench, and tidy up the living room by putting away toys, stacks of clothes, books, and miscellaneous items that are in the way.
Yard Shed/Garage: Sort through your shed and garage, and decide what you no longer need. Use a pegboard to hang small tools, and install sturdy hooks on the walls and ceiling to hang bicycles, lawn and garden tools, and sporting equipment.
Laundry/Kitchen: Make it a habit to tidy up these two areas every day if possible. Put your clean laundry away, wipe down kitchen countertops, and keep your sink free of dirty dishes (as often as you can!).
Home Office/Important Documents: Go through all of your bills, receipts, tax and legal documents, and important items. Some records should be shredded, but you’ll want to keep some documents, like IRS filings and other tax-related paperwork, for approximately five years.
Playroom/Craft Room: Organize toys into bins, and keep craft items organized in storage boxes with a label. Determine what to donate and what to throw away every time you declutter these rooms to keep excess stuff to a minimum, which makes playing and crafting more enjoyable.
Storage Areas: Declutter closets and pantries often to make it easy to find the things you need. Tackle areas like the basement and attic, sort items into categories items by category, making sure that only the things you truly need are still there.
Create Sorting Categories
A home detox starts by determining which items you plan to keep, and which items you don’t. You can make the process easier by creating specific sorting categories for every single item that moves through your hands.
Label boxes, bags, or baskets with the category, and if an item in question doesn’t go back into the space you’re cleaning, put it in the appropriate receptacle. Here are some helpful categories, but use what works for you and the space you’re organizing — you may need a pile for mending when you’re organizing clothes, or a pile for hazardous disposal when you’re organizing under the sink.
Donate: These items can be anything that you feel a charity or nonprofit organization would benefit from. Think about where you plan to donate items first, and find out where to drop them off. Make sure the items are in good condition before you add them to your “donate” category.
Give Away: Whether it’s your child’s old bike that’s now the perfect size for his cousin, or you’re sorting through your clothes and have friends in mind who might like something, consider giving some of your items away to friends or family members who’d love to have them.
Toss/Junk Removal: Throw away smaller, worn-out items that can’t be upcycled or recycled. If you don’t have a way to haul larger items like furniture or appliances to the dump, contact a local junk removal company to haul them away.
Recycled/Upcycled: Some items, like old clothing or furniture, can be upcycled into something new. Give an old table some creative TLC, and use it on the porch. Turn a bag of old t-shirts or a bunch of old jeans into a quilt. If an item is irreparable and can’t be upcycled, see if it’s recyclable. If not, it’ll have to go in the trash.
Put in Storage: Some of your belongings — seasonal wardrobes, holiday decorations, or a crib you’re planning on using again — may simply need to be put into storage. Decide where they’ll go, and make an appropriate pile.