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How To Reduce Clutter

Do You Have the Urge to Purge?

Here are some actionable steps that will help show you how to reduce clutter.

Like most Americans, I have filled every closet, drawer, and storage area with clutter. I even rent a storage unit to house more clutter! Also like many Americans, I’m downsizing to a smaller home and absolutely must get rid of about half of my belongings. After searching the web for advice and suggestions, I’m almost ready to dive in…but first I’m going to watch about three episodes of “Hoarders” for added inspiration!

One of the first steps in the decluttering process is to decide what to do with all the stuff you’re letting go. In my research, I found out that a lot of people sell books, DVDs, and CDs on Amazon. It’s probably time to look at your bookshelves and make some decisions. Some people use a site called Freecycle to give stuff away. There are also consignment stores for your “high end” clothing, shoes, and purses if you want to make some money as well as get rid of things. Donating is another great way to downsize with charity outlets like Goodwill, Salvation Army, Humane Society, and church thrift stores. You might want to invite friends and family members to look over your discards to see if they want anything before you sell or donate.

How To Reduce Clutter

A good place to start is in your closet. Try sorting your clothes by color first and then examine each color set. If you have 15 black shirts, you may be able to part with 3-5. Next, try on clothes that you’re not sure about, but don’t hang them up again if they don’t fit or look good on you. Make three piles of your clothes, shoes, and purses: Definitely Get Rid Of, Definitely Keep, and Hmmmm Not Sure Yet. Pack up all the “not sures” and put them in a box labeled with the date. Put the box on a shelf and let a year go by. If you haven’t opened it in a year, donate it without looking in it. A general rule is “If you haven’t worn it in a year, it goes.” Don’t let your mind go to “Well, it might fit if I lose weight” or “I might start wearing it.”

Less is More

Some good questions to ask yourself when trying to get rid of any clutter include: “Do I use it regularly?” Does it bring me pleasure?” “Would it be easy to replace?” “Will I really finish this project?” “Do I need more than one of these?” and “Was this a gift that I really didn’t want?” When trying to decide about your children’s art and other handmade treasures, try keeping a sampling from each one. I had a friend who got some extra large pizza boxes for her children’s projects. She selected samples to fit into one box for each child and easily stacked them on a garage shelf. I did something similar for all my strange collections from over the years. Instead of 50 seashells, I kept 6. Instead of 30 old glass bottles, I kept 10, instead of 20 wine stoppers, I kept 4. You get the idea.

Another area to thin out is “gadgets.” If you’re still holding on to that old VCR or 8-track player, let them go! Recycle old tech stuff like unused computers, cellphones, Ipods and CD players. Go through all your various cords and cables and throw out the outdated ones. Same thing goes for your kitchen gadgets and small appliances; ask yourself if you still use them and if not, toss them into a donation box. You might even have unused gadgets or clutter in your bathroom shelves.

Remove Clutter From Garage

Now let’s talk about your garage! Is it a nightmare of tubs and boxes and old bikes and sports equipment?  Go through your holiday décor and cut it in half. Save only the sports equipment that you still use. Throw out the trash- things that you always meant to repair, things that just don’t work, and things your kids don’t like anymore, and other unnecessary items. It might be time to hold a garage sale or hire a junk remover.

The good news is that once you get started it becomes easier and easier to part with things. It’s actually a great feeling to look at your newly organized closets, shelves, cabinets, pantries and drawers. Wouldn’t it be great to actually park a car in your garage? Keep telling yourself that “less is more” and “enough is plenty” and lots of other decluttering mantras. So, my advice is to quit talking about your plans to purge, and “just do it.”

We really hope you learned how to reduce clutter and please check out our money saving tips.