Top 10 Ways to Declutter Your Home
I have heard the expression over and over agin, “Less is more.” I never realized how true and accurate that statement was until I experienced it for myself a few years ago. For most of us who have had or continue to have more “stuff” than we really need, it is a foreign concept. You have to see it and experience it to appreciate it.
I remember back when I was living in Carrolton, Texas, a suburb in the North Dallas area, I was getting ready to sell one of my homes and relocate to Merritt Island, Florida located on the Space Coast of East Central Florida. My realtors at the time, MaryJane and Prakash Mathew with Keller Williams Realty advised me, I had way too much “stuff” and needed to declutter my home by either give away, throw away or have an impressive garage sale.
Mind you, at the time, I was a single guy and like most other guys, I liked my toys and electronics. I realize now, that no one outside of an electronics store or engineering firm needs more than a couple of computer monitors, computers, a couple cases of canned air, multiple keyboards, etc… (you getting the picture?)
I had to declutter my home at the advice of my experienced Real Estate Agents, and so, I followed their advice. My home sold in two days.
I then had to pack up what was left in my home and move it all down to Florida. Well, I realized that I still had an abundance of stuff that I had not used in years and probably never intended on using again. Yet and still, it was my “stuff” and had a personal relevance, or so I thought, to my life.
I needed to declutter my home once more and got rid of more stuff, as painful as it was, but I fought through it and prevailed.
Now that I was back to my home town of Merritt Island, I was getting married to the most amazing women I had ever met and going to be moving in with her and her six children. Yes, I know, there is no typo there, I said six children. Tropical Storm Faye came knocking in August of 2008 and whether I wanted to or not, at least half of my belongings fell victim to the 36 inches of rain TS Faye dropped on the area in only three days. Instant declutter!
I have not looked back since and life has been much much sweeter!
So, outside of marrying an amazing woman with six children and living through a slow and steady tropical storm that will flood your home and destroy half of your belongings, may I offer you all my Top 10 Ways to Declutter Your Home and get you ready for a much better staged house to sell and offer on the market.
1. Stop Buying So Much Stuff!
You can be the most organized person in the world and the farthest thing from a hoarder, but if you continue to buy “stuff” while not conversely getting rid of older “stuff”, then you home is going to be a clutter mess. Before you make a purchase on something, try to think about 6 months into the future and if you are really going to get your money and usefulness out of the object.
2. Decluttering is Not a One Time Event
To simply declutter your home is not necessarily something that you have to start cold turkey! A one time event may be necessary to get you boosted in the right direction, but decluttering your home should be an ongoing thing. Otherwise, go back and read #1 above, you’ll continue to accumulate items and voila, before you know, you home is all cluttered up again!
3. Get rid of and declutter the small and easy “stuff” first.
Let’s face it, and I know because I have been there too, some things are just really hard to throw away. That racket-ball racquet you bought in college, or the Force FX lightsaber replica from ROTJ. (Return of the Jedi for all of my non-nerdy readers) Get rid of old magazines, books you have read or know you have no interest in reading, cry computer screens/monitors you know you will never plug in again. The point is, make a habit of throwing out small and easy things to let go of first and it will get easier and easier. over time, the things that you may think you could never part ways with today will become easier and easier over time.
4. Dispose of and Recycle Smart
Before you throw away that first magazine, book, piece of electronics or bicycle, make a thought out plan of where to dump this stuff. Instead of just dropping into your garbage can for the Tuesday curb pick up, think of alternate uses for someone else who might be able to use the items. Who knows, you may even make some money off of decluttering. Recycle centers, Salvation Army, Ebay, Craigslist and local thrift stores are a good place to start.
5. Don’t Let False Obligation or Guilt Force You to Keep Stuff
Your home should be a place for your stuff. Remember, it is not meant to be a museum or storage facility for you children who moved out and live on their own 5 years ago. Also, don’t let other people dictate or influence you on what you should keep or get rid of that belongs to you.
6. Do Not Throw Away Stuff That Doesn’t Belong To You Without Permission
Going along with #5 above here, do not declutter items or possessions that do not belong to you without the owner’s permission even though the stuff is in your house. A good example of this is my stuffed animals and train set from when I was a kid. When I graduated from college and went home for a break before starting my first real job post graduation, I remember going into my parent attic and looking for a particular box that had some of my childhood object and memories only to find out my father had “donated” it to a local thrift store. To say the least, I was not happy with his decision to declutter his home with my stuff.
Allow the person who owns the clutter the respect and dignity to either collect their belongings or give you permission to thrown away or donate them accordingly.
7. Do Not Be Afraid!
It’s understandable that some things are just harder than others to get rid of. If you are anything like me, you think to yourself, “Hey, I might be able to use this ripped t-shirt one day to wax my boat I might buy one day”. I can stiff probably find a dozen items in my garage to justify keeping for a possible future obscure use. Understand the difference between something that is relevantly useful to you and something that has potential to be useful.
8. Gifts Do Not Have To Be “Stuff”
There are many instances and ways my wife and I gift others that will not become a clutter item or possibly even a “re-gift” item. You can communicate and encourage others to follow your lead when considering gifts for you and your home as well. Instead of something that is going to sit on a shelf, in a closet or under a stack of other items in your garage, some simple and quick ideas would be gift certificates to your local home improvement store, a bottle of nice wine or even a gift of time away with your spouse or favorite person. (which, coincidently may be by yourself)
9. Be Realistic About Your Home Needs
Despite what some people on the internet might lead or want you to believe, the government is not going to take over tomorrow and the economy is not going to tank in the next few months. Neither is that meteor going to come crashing down and cause the next ice age. There really isn’t a need to have enough linens in your closet to run a small hotel. Your pantry should hold enough food until your next trip to the grocery store. In the event you have a situation where you are going to have a lot of guests at once, you can always borrow the extra items you need to get through the weekend. In the meantime, declutter your home by decluttering your pantry and linen closets.
10. Stop Wasting Your Life on Clutter
Every single object you own has a time stamp on it. Whether it is something that takes time to maintain, clean, service, purchase it, the money it takes and coincidentally, the time it takes to earn the money for purchasing it, or simply move from one spot to another, it is a time stamp on your life. The more “stuff” you have, the more time you need to own it in one way or another. Declutter your home and you will declutter your life!
Less is more my friend. Embrace and more importantly, understand the concept to declutter your home and not only will your home be a better place to live and share with your guests, but your life will be better for it and free’er as well.