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8 Ways To Declutter Your Home

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8 Ways To Declutter Your Home

Looking to declutter your life this year? Why not start with your home? Here are 8 simple ways to declutter your home.

1. Determine why you want to declutter

Before you start, think about why you want to declutter. Do you want to live a more simple lifestyle? Are you hoping to sell some items for extra cash? Is your goal to have less items to make your home life more efficient?

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Having a meaningful reason for your decluttering efforts will help you stay motivated when it gets tough. Decluttering is a lot of work, so decide exactly why you’re doing it, and remember this reason when it gets tough.

2. If you’re not sure where to start, try your bedroom closet

I started with my bedroom closet and have gradually been streamlining my wardrobe. It feels great to get rid of clothes that are outdated, poor-fitting, or just taking up space in your closet. Now I have less clothes, but I’ve found that having a small amount of items I love is much more enjoyable than a closet packed full of items I only somewhat like. Starting with your closet can help you build momentum to declutter the rest of your home. Since your closet is a place you use every day, decluttering your closet will allow you to immediately see the results of your efforts. Plus, having only clothes that you feel great in can build your confidence, and you’ll spend less time searching for what to wear each day.

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3. Think of the habits involved in cluttered areas

Think about where you tend to accumulate clutter. For me, this is my kitchen counter. The biggest source of clutter on my counter is incoming and outgoing mail. Therefore, I’ve been streamlining this process. Instead of letting mail sit on my counter in a big messy pile, I’ve sorted it immediately into a small bin for the appropriate recipient, and junk mail is immediately thrown away. That way, I don’t end up looking through the mail multiple times. I have gradually automated most bills, which helps decrease the mail pile and streamlines my finances. Outgoing mail now has a designated spot. This is still a work in progress, but it has become much more efficient and less cluttered with these changes.

4. When you purchase a new item, get rid of 2 items

One way to gradually declutter your home is to get rid of more than one item every time you purchase something. This has worked great for me to declutter the kids’ items they’ve outgrown. When they get new clothes or new toys, I give what they’ve outgrown to friends with younger children. When you get rid of 2 items per every item purchased, you will slowly declutter your home and the process doesn’t feel nearly as overwhelming as a giant overhaul all at once.

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5. Turn your hangers around in your closet

Turn all your hangers backward in your closet. If you wear the item on the backward-facing hanger, turn it back around so it is forward-facing. After a predetermined amount of time (6 months, 1 year, or another amount of time you choose), get rid of any clothing items on the backward-facing hangers, because you haven’t worn them in a while.

6. Get your whole family involved

As you work on decluttering, involve the entire family. Even young kids can put shoes away, match socks, and help pick up toys. Work on developing designated places for certain items, and make sure everyone in your family understands where these items go.

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7. Consider rotating toys

I have 3 very young kids, and the playroom looks like a disaster some days. One thing that is helping (although it’s still mass chaos here at times) is to rotate the kids’ toys. We put some items in a bin and rotate the toys every couple of weeks. That way, the kids are really excited to play with their toys and there is less clutter.

8. Think about why you have your belongings

Getting rid of certain items can be so freeing. As you work on decluttering, think about an item you’re struggling to get rid of. Is it useful? If so, have you used it in the recent past? Do you love it, or would you not even miss it if you got rid of it?  Getting rid of certain items can be tough when you have an emotional attachment to them. Certain things were hard for me to get rid of, as I’m pretty sentimental, but I can’t even explain how freeing it felt to get rid of things.

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Decluttering is an ongoing process. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it feels great to have a less-cluttered home.

Featured photo credit: Steve Larkin/https://flickr.com via flickr.com

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on November 18, 2020

15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

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15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

  1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
  2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
  3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
  4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
  5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
  6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
  7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
  8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
  9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
  10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
  11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
  12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
  13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
  14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
  15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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