Are you drowning in an unorganized chaos? It may be a drawer that is overflowing with old bills and takeaway menus, or is it your closet where clothes constantly fall off the hangers because it is jam packed full of clothes. For some of you it may be the makeup drawer that is lined with patches of loose bronzing powder and filled with old and used-by cosmetics, and lipsticks that are missing lids.
Does this sound all to familiar? Do you have a space in your home that makes you feel a little overwhelmed? Then you will love todays challenge. Today we are going to DE Clutter and organise our home.
Every home has its struggles with clutter – whether it’s piles of papers or a cluttered and cramped bathroom cabinet. Research backs this up, a household study from The National Association of Professional Organizers reported that the majority of us don’t use 80 percent of the stuff in our home. We only wear 20 percent of the clothes we own, while the other 80 percent just hangs there for ‘just in case’. And get this, 25 percent of adults say they pay bills late because they lost them (late payment fees add up).
Now this may all seem insignificant to you, because the rest of your home is clean and organised. However, clutter and disorganisation affects our everyday well-being. Why? Because every time you go to that drawer or wardrobe you get a negative feeling, it may only be small, yet it is still negative. And negative feelings create negative energy.
There is a high chance that you may feel overwhelmed and cannot pin point what it is, and sometimes it can be as simple as decluttering and getting rid of the things from the past to create some breathing space. For we cannot possibly be content if we are drowning in clutter.
Living the simple life appeals to so many of us, probably because it brings with it a sense of space, lightness and freedom. Having all that clutter can be suffocating.When you DE Clutter your home and get organized, you will feel calmer and less overwhelmed while creating a positive space for new things to be able to live and breathe.
There are so many benefits of owning fewer possessions: less to clean, less debt, less to organize, less stress, more money and more open space.
Think About This For A Minute
- How much time do you spend looking for things, procrastinating, and trying to get started on decluttering?
- How much energy do you lose to frustration, home disharmony and self-blame?
- How much money do you waste on overspending, quick fixes and short-term solutions?
If the answer to one of these is yes…then you definitely need to start decluttering today.
Chances are the thought of DE cluttering leaves you feeling a little overwhelmed, anxious, and defeated around the idea of decluttering your home. “Where should I start?” I hear you say. Don’t worry decluttering is super fun and addictive – I hardly have anything left in my home because I just can’t stop filling bags – and I am going to show you how it is done.
Benefits Of DE Cluttering
When you choose to get rid of your stuff and DE clutter your home you will find that:
- You open yourself up to more positive energy and therefore feel more inspired, connected and happy.
- You feel less overwhelmed as you don’t have that constant nagging thought “I must fix that” or “why did I let it get like this” every time you try to open that cluttered drawer or cupboard.
- Because your home is organised you now have more time to focus on the things that truly matter.
- By reducing quantity you manifest quality.
- By having less you appreciate more. Your sensitivity to beauty and style increases and you become aware of what surrounds you. Your home begins to inspire you - encouraging you to see the beauty within the mundane ordinary.
- By removing what you no longer need, you make space for what you do want.
- An organised home empowers you because it makes you feel in control which then flows over to every other aspect of your life.
Let's Start By DE Cluttering
1. Firstly Fix Those Niggling Annoyances Around Your Home
Grab a clipboard and paper and go around your house and list ten things that annoy you. It can be the stain on the carpet, the hole in your jeans, or the junk in the garage. Whether you know it or not, these items affect your energy – every time you look at them you get slightly agitated and a little overwhelmed. Along with these feelings you have some negative self-talk “Oh why haven’t I fixed that yet” “I am so lazy that I haven’t gotten around to that yet”. List everything that annoys you from priority down.
Now schedule the time in your diary to tackle each task separately. Plan it, fix it and then release the negativity. By tackling these annoyances in your home, it will give you a sense of control, and each time you complete a task you will feel a little lighter and a little freer.
2. Start Small
The thought of DE cluttering your entire home probably brings with it overwhelming feelings, so instead of focusing on the finished project focus on working on just one drawer/cupboard or room at any one time. Start with the area that annoys you the most. After you have DE cluttered it, move on to the next area or room and before you know it you will have de cluttered your entire home. If you do a little here and a little there it won’t seem so overwhelming.
3. The Liberating ‘Big Purge’
If you have had it up to your eyeballs and you want your stuff gone yesterday – then you are in need of a big purge. Grab some big garbage bags and empty boxes and spend an afternoon purging your stuff. Now is the time to be ruthless and honest. Start going through your stuff and ask yourself a few questions. “Why am I holding on to this?” “Why am I hesitant to let it go?” “How does this item serve me or not serve me?” “How can this item benefit somebody else better?” Your stuff does not define who you are. Release all attachment to your stuff and get back to the heart of what truly matters.
Next - What to do with your stuff! Decide whether to throw it or donate it. If your stuff is in good order give it to someone who needs it more than you do. If you find that something is hard to let go of, think about how it could drastically change somebody elses life.
The rule for donating is to make sure that it is in good condition, washed and neatly folded. When you prepare to give, give with love and make the box of donations a nice gift for someone in need to receive. I tend to have two bags – one for good quality clothes and then another bag for older clothes that may have a stain or hole in them. The reason for this is, charities take all clothes, even the really old ones. The clothes that they can’t sell in the store get shipped off to poor communities across the globe. So my point is – donate all clothes, however try and make it easy for the sorter by labeling each bag.
For things that you plan to throw away, think before you toss. Can it be recycled? Could you extend its life span by finding a new owner who will give it a new lease on life? Can it be put in your compost bin? Try to minimalize your rubbish as much as possible.
Chances are you will not be able to declutter your entire house in one afternoon, it is best to work on one area at a time. Choose a room or a cupboard and get to work until it is complete.
4. Take Time To Detach From Your Stuff
Chances are that when you start on your DE cluttering mission, you will come across items that you cannot get rid of, usually for one or two reasons. Either you feel that it is too expensive to get rid of or you have an emotional attachment to it. Deep inside you know that you don’t need it, but somehow you cannot loosen your grip. What you need to do is find a dedicated clearing space – a garage or spare bedroom is perfect. Put anything in there that you are not quite ready to get rid of. Be ruthless. Remember you can always put it back in your home at a later time. It doesn’t mean that it is gone forever. Once you have put all your things in the clearing space let them sit there for at least 2 or 3 weeks, and what you will find is that your attachment to the item will lessen and it will not seem so needed. After 3 or 4 weeks revisit your clearing space and see if you can now let go of any of the stuff in it.
5. Give Away One Item Each Day
Colleen Madsen at 365 Less Things gives away one item each day. Over the past several years, she has experienced a life changing transformation simply by reducing her stuff one day at a time. Now is that inspiration to get cleaning or what!
6. The One Bag Method
So you may not be feeling super inspired to do the big purge, however you want to still clear some decent space. Grab a rubbish bag and go around your home and see how fast you can fill it.
7. Keep Only What You Use
The rule is that if you haven’t used or worn it in a year, toss it. The hardest part is the initial toss, but from there on out, you most likely won’t realize you removed it from your home. Whether it’s clothing you have been promising yourself you will wear or gadgets in your kitchen cupboards, they are taking up quality space. Be ruthless and just do it – get rid of it all. Warning…..it’s addictive.
8. Energise + Cleanse Your Home
After you have DE cluttered your stuff, go through and clean your home with natural products. I personally love using eucalyptus oil for its sharp freshness, Rosemary Oil for its grounding properties and lavender oil for its soothing effect. When your home is DE cluttered and clean, you naturally feel inspired, creative and content.
9. Maintain The Clutter Free Space
Now that you have done the hard yards of clearing out your clutter, you now have to stop your clutter from magically reappearing. To ensure that no more stuff overloads that beautifully created space, I suggest that you keep your clutter in check by:
- Throw Out At Least Five Things Weekly: This is so empowering and it really feels like you have control of your life. Once a week take the time to throw out at least five things, it doesn’t have to be much. It can be an old bill notice, an old receipt, a pen that doesn’t work, a knife that is blunt and so forth.
- When You Buy New Things Get Rid Of Something Old: When you buy a new item - whether it is clothing, make-up, a book or furniture - you must get rid of something else in your home.
DE cluttering is healing and therapeutic. By DE cluttering your home you are getting rid of overwhelming and negative thoughts as well as excess stuff. This then creates 'space' - both within the home and within oneself. When you remove out-dated and unnecessary stuff, whether it is in your living space or in your mind, you are creating space for abundance and creativity to flow.
Now Spend Some Time Organising Your Home
With your newfound uncluttered space you should discover Simplicity, Balance + Freedom. It is now a space full of possibilities helping you maximize efficiency and productivity. Now lets take it a step further and get all your stuff organized. There is no single right way to do it as the trick lies in finding the way that works best for you. However here are just a few basic organizing concepts to help get you started.
Tips To Organize The Flow Of Your Home
- Make a “to do” list where you write down all the weekly chores, shopping, menus and appointments. You can either hang a whiteboard marker inside your pantry or if you are feeling a little creative why not make yourself a cafe long blackboard to hang on your kitchen wall.
- Keep a diary and schedule everything from shopping, workouts, work, social time, household chores, cooking and so forth. This will keep you productive and help you get the most out of the day.
- Put cane baskets around your home in each room to store those odds and ends like remotes, car keys, umbrellas etc.
- As soon as bills arrive file them in the ‘to pay’ drawer and then once they are paid file them away in a file cabinet or folder.
- To organize counter top clutter, purchase a natural fiber basket with a handle on top. Place all of your big accessories (such as hair spray and bottles of mouthwash ) in the basket and place under the counter. Take the basket out when you are ready to use it, and put it back under the counter when you are finished with it.
- Have a designated drawer for things. Sounds simple doesn’t it – however how many of you just throw things in your bathroom drawer randomly. Have a drawer for your electrics (hairdryer, straightener, electric shaver etc), have a drawer for makeup, have a drawer for dental care (electric toothbrush, floss, dental brushes, mouthwash etc) and then a drawer for beauty items you use on a daily basis (face cream, deodorant, body oil etc)
- To organise your bathtub/shower, place your soaps, body wash, shampoos and conditioners in a soap dispenser that hangs on the wall. I have a gorgeous stainless steel one that hangs on my wall – so the only thing in my shower is a natural loofah and the soap dispenser which is filled with body wash, shampoo and conditioner. Trust me this is the best investment ever – looks so much nicer than those dated shower caddies that tend to look cluttered.
- Throw away old or unusued items in your bathroom. I bet many of you have empty bottles of shampoo and body lotions in your cupboard. Today go to your bathroom and throw them out.
- Install hooks on a wall or the back of your bathroom door for towels, robes and even body brushes.
- Use drawer organizers for makeup, hair pins, elastic ponytail holders and other loose items. (drawer trays found in the kitchen aisle, are inexpensive and fit the bill.)
- If you have more than two of any one item – then get rid of the excess. Chances are some of them may even be out of date.
Edit your wardrobe
- Place baskets in your closet for dirty laundry.
- Categorize clothes by colour and purpose. Blouses, for example, can be sorted first by sleeve length and then by shade. This will make choosing an outfit for the day some much simpler. Colour co-ordinate each section by starting with black, browns, neutrals, whites and then move into colours. I know the colour co-ordinating may be going a bit far, but I do it and it makes me super relaxed when I go to pick my outfit for the day. You should give it a go.
- Makeover your closet with some new hangers, recycled wood hangers are always a nice option. Bring old hangers to drycleaners or local thrift store.
- Set up zones. Hang tops, skirts and shorts on low rods, dresses on an eye-level rod, and shirts and suit jackets on a high rod. A high shelf works great for out-of-season shoes and sweaters.
- Arrange folded items. When organizing folded clothing that you plan to store on open shelves make sure you place heavier items at the bottom. After folding, arrange garments by function (workout tops together, business tops together, etc.) and colour (white to nude to bright colours to black). If your closet doesn’t have shelves, consider using part of your clothing rod for hanging canvas shelves.
- Get a garment bag. Store and protect jackets, evening dresses and fine suits in a sturdy canvas garment bag
- Manage odds and ends. Store bags, belts, ties, scarves, and other accessories in plain sight on hooks shelves or racks. Install a shelf to display all your clutches, handbags and totebags
- Contain what doesn’t hang. Use containers—consider a matching set of natural fibre baskets—to hold accessories and clothing that can’t be hung, such as socks and undergarments. Smaller baskets or boxes can store a single type of accessory, such as scarves or hats.
- Pick a system for storing shoes. Choose between a shoe rack on the floor, a hanging shoe organizer, see-through boxes, or original shoe boxes with photographs stapled to them to identify the shoes. Store out of season shoes in labelled boxes on a high shelf, in another closet, or under your bed.
- Have a system for your food. Store all food in labelled canisters and recycled jars. Flour, bottles of cooking oil, and common canned foods should be placed on shelves at waist level for easiest access. Less frequently used canned goods should be stacked on lower shelves with labels facing you and make sure you put the newest purchased cans to the back. Lightweight items, such as oats and rice, are perfect for high shelves.
- Choose the right containers. Glass is convenient because it can be refrigerated, and cleaned in a dishwasher, but, of course, it’s breakable. Recycle a few good sized glass jars as they are perfect for packing salads and smoothies in. If you opt for plastic, buy containers free of Bisphenol A (BPA), a toxic chemical used in many plastics that can contaminate your food.
- Conquer the spice chaos. When it comes to spices are you storing a jar or two of your greatest hits from every home you have ever lived in? Is there a jar of nutmeg or tarragon from your first apartment that has made the move with you? Toss the oldies and anything you never use. Keep spices in carefully labelled, airtight tins or jars. (You can buy spice kits or devise your own system using recycled containers.) Store spices together either in a spice box or drawer.
- Declutter cleaning supplies. Organize your cleaning products into one cabinet. Store them in bins, buckets, or baskets. Install hooks and pegs on the back of the pantry door to hold brooms, mops, aprons, etc.
- Organize your crockery. Mismatched pieces wreak havoc. Get rid of that tacky coffee cup that says ‘Merry Christmas’ that you got from a secret Santa a few years back. While you are at it please also remove that shot glass that says ‘happy 21’. Sure these things may be sentimental, however you don’t need stuff to remind you of people and events (photos work just as good). Any sort of ‘off’ dishware causes visual chaos, and every time you open the cupboard, something in the back of your brain is saying, ‘My life is a mess.’ There’s serenity and comfort in an organized and matching set.
- Stick with the fab four. A quality saucepan, a large sauté pan, a casserole dish, and a stockpot will handle the vast majority of your cooking needs. Consider donating the rest.
- Put anything small or sticky (think honey and rice syrup) on a two-tier rotating rack so you can spin and search (and on occasion remove and clean).
- Decant lentils, raw nuts and the like into clear glass containers— they add a touch of earthy décor that happens to be practical.
- Create a baker’s tray. Put all your flours, sugars, cacao, vanilla essence and so forth in one box so that when it is pie making time you have everything you need in one handy spot.
- Keep a clear and spacious countertop . Find a home for your cookbooks, toaster, jug, knife block and etc. If you can’t find a home for it then maybe you need to consider losing it.
- If you have a collection of clipped recipes that are filling drawers or taking up countertop space, consider scanning them and storing them on a digital device. Make sure you organize them on your device with folders such as sugar free snacks, vegan dinner recipes, smoothies etc.
- Get in the habit of cleaning out your refrigerator every time you bring home groceries. Dispose of old or inedible food and anything your family’s just not going to eat. Make sure you have a compost so that any uneaten vegetables can at least be put back into the earth for some extra nourishment for your plants.
- Invest in some nice wooden boxes and pottery bowls to store bulky items in – great for apples, oranges, watermelon, potatoes etc.