What is it about decluttering that makes you feel like you're also cleansing your soul? Going through junk and deciding what to get rid of can be stressful and difficult in the moment, but when it's done, that sense of triumph is priceless. Of course, decluttering can be an overwhelming task if you're not sure how to begin, but once you start and gain momentum you'll be shocked with how streamlined the process can be and how much easier it can get.

Why Decluttering Is Important

There's a freedom that comes with learning to let go! While letting junk accumulate isn't specific to any one season, the impulse to shed clutter and create more open space is definitely an impulse that makes sense when you feel that open air flowing through the windows. Experts say there are numerous mental health benefits to decluttering, like reduction of stress and anxiety, boosted self-confidence and decision-making skills, and increased sleep quality to boot. Reducing clutter also helps you to better enjoy your home space, makes you more productive, and improves the air quality in your home, giving dust and toxins in the air fewer places to land and hide.

files and documents cluttering shelves

How To Declutter

There are a couple different strategies one can take in their mission to declutter. Some find it most efficient to go category by category (for example, all clothing or all kitchenware at once). This approach allows you deal with all similar items in a single state of mind, giving you a wide survey of all items in that category so you have an idea of which ones are excess or redundant to keep holding onto. It also allows you to ensure each item in a certain category has a proper place, helping you stay organized for longer once you're done cleaning.

Another way to declutter is to go room by room. You'll get a sense of accomplishment in seeing each room transform, which keeps you motivated to move onto the next space after you finish with one. If you're cleaning over a number of days, decluttering rooms one by one gives you areas to enjoy while you're taking breaks from cleaning. In any case, it's a good idea to break down your house into sections so you don't get overwhelmed trying to tackle multiple large spaces all at once.

Once you've separated out the stuff you no longer want to keep, deciding the fate of those unwanted items is the next step. Some items will be obvious trash, while others, like used clothes and appliances, may be eligible for resale or donation. Consider planning a garage sale or posting items for sale online if they're in good condition.

cluttered and disorganized closet

luanateutzi/Shutterstock

Tips For Decluttering

  • When it comes to clothing, deciding which items to keep is notoriously difficult. It's recommended that each item be evaluated individually under the criteria of whether that particular garment brings you joy. Clothing you feel lukewarm about - that you wouldn't repurchase now if you saw it in the store - should go.
  • Prepare in advance boxes or bags for sorting. You may even want to label containers according to what you're donating, throwing away, moving to storage, etc.
  • It's fine at the beginning to have piles or containers that aren't committed to an action or decision (the "Maybe"s and "Decide Later"s), but know that you're only prolonging the process, and eventually you'll have to revisit those items.
man looking through folded clothes

nito/Shutterstock

Declutter Check List

  • closets
  • wardrobes
  • drawers
  • under the bed
  • shoe storage
  • desk
  • filing cabinet
  • bookshelves
  • bathroom cabinets and drawers
  • laundry room storage

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