There’s nothing like taking out the holiday decorations, finding places for them and then boxing them all up again to remind you that there’s some de-cluttering work to be done! The New Year (and the cold, grey, rainy days that accompany it) is a perfect time to go through the house –top to bottom – getting rid of what you no longer need.
In addition to clearing things out, making your home look more spacious and clean, de-cluttering is also good for the soul. Clutter on the outside is a source of stress – but it can also be a sign of stress or chaos within. So, the simple act of clearing out what you don’t need can help to clear mental and emotional space as well. Plus, at the very least, it minimizes the amount of “stuff” you’re required to maintain.
5 Simple Steps for Decluttering Your Home
- Use the Year Test. Every professional organizer and cleaner agrees: if you haven’t used it in a year, you don’t need it enough to make space for it. Go through storage closets and cabinets, analyzing their contents. Those fancy boots you like but never wear? The ski gear you bought two years ago but have never used again? The boxes of “scrapbooking” supplies that haven’t been cracked open in a half-decade? All of that is exemplary of things that can be donated or moved on to someone who will use them.
- Use the Hanger Test. If using The Year Test stresses you out, especially when it comes to clothes, use The Hanger Test instead. Reverse the direction of all of the hangers in your closet so they face backwards. When you wear something, it can go back in the closet with the hanger facing the right way. Next holiday season, take all of the clothes that are still facing backwards and donate them. It’s a great way to get a real grasp on which clothes are completely unnecessary.
- Evaluate why you’re attached. Some things (many things) simply aren’t useful at all, nor do they really deserve a space in the attic or a “kid stuff” box. The cast that came off your sweet six-year old when she broke her arm in soccer may represent struggle and strife, but it really isn’t worth hanging on to. Take a picture if you need to (or put a picture of your six-year old in the cast in a collage) and then trash the cast. Odds are, you have more of these unnecessarily-sentimental-attachments laying around than you’d like to admit; the more you can clear, the easier it will become to clear the rest.
- Let your kids choose – and honor their choices. Okay, if they want to get rid of a 14-karat gold heirloom ring, we see your point. However, so often the sentimental attachments described in #3 wind up spilling over onto your kids. If they are willing to part with something that used to mean everything to them, let them choose when it’s time to move on. You can keep a small box from each year of their life (a digital scrapbook with photos of memorable items is even better) to save the things you can’t bear to part with. Then, teach children a valuable, lifelong lesson about how important it is to declutter and organize your space, and that letting go means clearing space for new opportunities and adventures.
- Invite an outsider in. Have an objective friend whose home you admire? Have a straightforward neighbor or relative whose opinion you can trust? Invite them over and let them peruse your home, making suggestions about what’s working and what’s not. Then, after they leave, you can decide how much you want to take their words to heart – and benefit from a more organized home.
Not sure you want someone from the inner-circle deciding what should stay and what should go? Contact us here at Pro Man WC. Our cleaning professionals have an expert and 100% objective eye. They’re happy to help you declutter your home so your beautiful home design shines through. And they’ll be happy to take all of your donations and trashed items away for you.
We’ve worked to help our Seattle, Bellevue and other area clients maintain clean, organized and de-cluttered homes for more than a decade. Give us a call at 425-908-9121 or 510-478-4880.