How to declutter the right way
Published: January 21, 2023
The New Year, and even “spring cleaning” season is always such a great time to refresh your home and everyday lifestyle. Are you already planning to deep clean your carpets and rugs, clean all of your home’s windows, and wipe down all counters and cabinets? These are all fantastic steps to take, but have you thought about taking the time to declutter each room? You may not know it, but if you have a cluttered home, you are unknowingly hurting your mental wellbeing.
It’s true — clutter takes up physical space, uses your mental energy, and can amplify stress and anxiety. In my experience as the Professional Organizer and Brand Ambassador of Modular Closets (a DIY customizable closet system that organizes any space in your home), I have found that decluttering and organizing your home is one surefire way to live healthier and happier. That said, if you want to declutter your home, avoid these blunders:
Mistake #1: Thinking You Need to Throw Everything Away
Oftentimes, when one thinks of decluttering, they falsely assume that any and all clutter should just be thrown away. Their reasoning is that if articles of clothing and other clutter have been strewn around the home for a long time, the items are obviously not important and it would be easiest to just toss them out. However, don’t make this mistake, as it can lead to unnecessary waste in landfills. You may also have friends and family who would love the items you no longer want, or you can donate them to charitable causes that need them.
Mistake #2: Keeping an Item You Don’t Need
On that same note, don’t make the mistake of holding onto an article of clothing or other product because you think you might use it in the future. If the item has been sitting in the back of your closet or laying forgotten underneath your bed for months (or years!), then I recommend donating it, giving it away to a friend, or trying to sell it. You get the benefit of less clutter, and the item will go to someone who truly wants to use it. It’s a win-win for you both! Don’t let objects take over you — remember that you always control the items.
Mistake #3: Starting the Decluttering Process Without Planning Piles
I get it — when you finally decide to declutter and organize your home, it can be tempting to just go all-in and start tossing all the items strewn about into one box to sort through later. However, you will streamline the whole process if you plan out your plies first — you can designate a pile of items you will keep, a pile to donate, a pile to sell, and a pile to throw away. Then, you can sort all of the items as you go — then you can easily box up the piles to donate to Goodwill or another organization, place all the items in the “Throw Away” pile into a trash bag, etc.
Mistake #4: Decluttering with Everything Still in the Space
Many people make the mistake of decluttering their drawers, closets, and entire rooms with all of the items still in the space. Don’t commit this blunder, as you can really optimize the decluttering process by first emptying out the closet / room / space before sorting the items. You will be much more cognizant of the items you decide to place back in the space and consider more if you really want to hold onto certain items you haven’t used in a long time. Also, you won’t overlook items that may be hidden under others.
Mistake #5: Keeping Clutter for a Garage Sale That Isn’t on the Calendar
Garage sales are a fun and effective way to rid your home of items you no longer need, make a little profit, and give someone else the chance to enjoy your old items at a very low price — as the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! However, if you want to hold a garage sale to sell your old items, it is absolutely key to schedule the day and time you plan to hold it. Otherwise, you may end up having to keep pushing the garage sale out as other obligations come up, all the while still holding onto a bunch of items cluttering up your space.
Mistake #6: Decluttering Without a Goal and Intention for Your Space
Having a goal you want to achieve for your space will further optimize the decluttering process. Do you finally want to sort through that jumbled junk drawer in your kitchen? Are you ready to organize all of the clothes in your master bedroom’s closet? Do you have a ton of makeup and other beauty products you really want to declutter and organize? Set your goal and declutter accordingly. This will prevent you from being distracted by any clutter in other spaces — as you achieve one goal, you can then set another goal for another space. One step at a time!
Mistake #7: Decluttering Without a Snack On Hand
Trust me, decluttering and organizing any space can be tiring! This is especially true if you are moving heavy boxes and equipment around. So keep your energy and momentum up by having a tasty snack nearby at all times. This can also make the process more fun and enjoyable!
To Wrap It All Up
Are you ready to declutter and organize your home? Good for you! You can make the decluttering process much more efficient by avoiding some common mistakes others make, like thinking you need to throw everything away, decluttering while everything is still in the space, and keeping clutter for a garage sale that isn’t yet on the calendar. Also, do not be so hard on yourself, because this process is a lot! The fact that you are working on your space to make it better is truly such an accomplishment. Good luck!
Christina Giaquinto is the Professional Organizer and Brand Ambassador of Modular Closets (DIY customizable closet units that organize any space in your home). Christina focuses on giving her clients the tools, methods, and techniques to transform their lives and homes through decluttering and organizing. She combines spiritual coaching and organizing to help her clients let go of things that do not spark joy and happiness. Her work has been featured on sites like Popsugar, Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Realtor, The Spruce and Yahoo. www.modularclosets.com