Keep or Toss? Your Go-To Guide on Cleaning Out All Kinds of Clutter
We’ve all experienced just a little envy when we see those picture-perfect homes in the full-color pages of our favorite magazine. Magazine photo shoots are a staged event. All the clutter and things are removed from the space. Only certain items were deemed worthy to be in the shot.
For those of us who live in the real world of busy schedules, chaos, and especially children, cleaning out clutter gets a little more difficult, but it’s far from impossible. We can take tackle clutter almost in the way they do for those magazine-perfect photo shoots.
If you cringe whenever the doorbell rings unexpectedly, or if you have resisted the temptation to host an event because your house isn’t ready for visitors, you’re not alone! If your house always looks messy, even when it’s clean and you just finished running your portable canister vacuum cleaner, it could be because you can’t decide what to keep or toss. Below is your go-to guide on cleaning out all kinds of clutter in your home.
I heard someone say once that “a cluttered house is the sign of a cluttered mind.” We could all use a clearer mind, too, right? So, the first step is to get rid of anything that isn’t being used or is outdated or expired.
Step One: Identify Infrequently Used Items
Make a list of small appliances, pots, and pans, any items sitting on the kitchen counter. Circle items you use at least three times every week, including last week. Everything else can be tossed out, donated, or at least stored somewhere other than the counter and taken out when needed. Do the same thing in the bathroom. Throw away any old food or medication.
Step Two: Toss the Paper Clutter
Next, go through each room and check for any of the items below that can be discarded:
- Old magazines or newspapers
- Expired coupons or store ad flyers
- Junk Mail
- Children’s school worksheets already graded and properly acknowledged
Step Three: Donate Unused Items
- Books you’ve already read or aren’t interested in any longer
- Clothing that is too small, too big, or not your color, and any clothes you haven’t worn in the last year.
- Any children’s toys that have been outgrown or aren’t played with regularly.
- Any small household appliance not used in the last three months
- Extra canister sets or spice containers
- Place settings or silverware that exceeds your family size plus four. If there are four people in your family, keep a place setting of eight, not twelve or twenty.
The first time you de-clutter your home, decide upon a specific number of items to toss out during each session. Tell yourself you will give away or sell at least twenty-five items for example. Using a timer for this can help prevent you from wavering for too long about any item.
To help you decide what to keep or toss, think about how the item came to be in your home. Consider what you like about each item, and what you would miss about it if you no longer had it. Not every decision is made simply on monetary value. Don’t keep items purely out of obligation either. If you love it, and only if you truly love it, then keep it.