8 Easy Ways to Start Decluttering Your Home
The older you get, the more mugs, memorabilia, furniture, books, papers and accessories seem to pile up. So where to begin when it comes to organizing and decluttering?
“I always suggest starting with removing the trash first,” says Nikki Bell, a professional organizer in Houston. “Grab a trash bag and just walk through the space throwing away anything broken, damaged or actual trash.”
Cardboard boxes can take up a lot of space, so removing them changes the way you view a room, Bell says. After that, pick one small area to tackle, like a drawer, in order to ease yourself into the work.
To start her decluttering project, Sabrina Hamilton, 52, of Colorado, picks one room, assesses the clutter, and starts sorting, using a system many professional organizers follow.
“I create three piles: what I’ll keep, what I’ll donate and what I’ll throw away,” she says. “With each item I’m considering, I decide if it’s meaningful, useful or useless.” Meaningful items get to stay, useful items that she no longer wants are passed along, and useless stuff goes in the trash.
From there, Andrew Mellen, a professional organizer in New York City, encourages people to start organizing. He suggests following what he calls his “organizational triangle” — “one home for everything; like with like; and something in, something out.”
- Everything has a spot where it lives. For example, “your keys have a home and they’re either in their home or they’re in your hand unlocking something,” Mellen says.
- Like with like involves organizing your belongings so that “all like objects live together — not most of them,” Mellen says. That means storing all tools in a toolbox and not leaving a stray screwdriver in a junk drawer.
- Something in, something out helps manage the number of items in a home. If you buy something new, something has to be donated, given away or trashed.