Getting rid of clutter and re-organizing your space is a great first step in making your home more comfortable. Not only is decluttering therapeutic and cleansing, it’s functional and allows you to better utilize the space you have. Keep in mind, while getting rid of a few items here or there may not feel you’re making a big difference, the amount of space you’ll free up will surprise you.

Here are our top tips for decluttering you home.

Keep the process simple
Start small, with a medicine cabinet a single kitchen cabinet or drawer for example and work your way toward decluttering larger spaces in your home. While decluttering is simple enough, it can quickly turn into a big project and take hours for larger spaces. As you start, designate four “piles” for your things – keep, store/relocate, give away, throw away. As you’re evaluating your belongings, be sure to consider the following things.

Focus on what you need right now
We tend to hang on to items that have served us in that past and keep those items just in case they may be useful again in the future. Often though, those items may hang around for years before they’ll be useful again, or even more likely, they’ll never be used again. And that’s okay, they served their purpose and it’s okay to get rid of them if you don’t need them anymore. Making your life more functional now is much more beneficial than hypothetically making your life easier in a specific scenario in the future – after all, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Ask hard questions and give honest answers
If you’re going to make a significant dent in decluttering your home, you’ll need to ask some hard questions, answer them honestly, and give yourself a reality check on some things. As a general rule, if you haven’t used something in the last 3 to 6 months (with exception of seasonal items of course) it’s time to get rid of it. Ask yourself questions like…

  • Those books that I aspire to read/re-read… am I really going to do that?
  • Those clothes that fit me 20lbs ago that I’ve been hanging onto for when I drop that weight… do I even like them anymore? Are they still in style?
  • That box of materials for a project… is that something I even want to do and will I actually do it?
  • Your kids’ old toys and stuffed animals… do they even want them?

Make keepsakes functional
For the sentimental, this may be a tough subject. But really, what are you going to do with that storage container of your old t-shirts, graduation robe, piggy bank, or papers from high school or college? Don’t misunderstand, some keepsakes are very much worth keeping, but others… not so much. Ask yourself, what am I going to do with these keepsakes? Will I pass them along to future generations? Do they have any value or are they purely sentimental?

Most often, the real value in keepsakes are that they serve as reminders of the past. Consider going through your keepsakes and whittling them down to a select few, meaningful pieces or consolidating them into a single piece – a quilt made of your old t-shirts for example, something that makes your keepsakes functional AND meaningful.

For home videos on 8mm, VHS, or other outdated formats, we recommend having them digitized to preserve them and make them easily viewable.

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure
It’s easy to think about the money we’ve spent on objects as we consider getting rid of them. None of us want to throw anything of value away, even if we’re not using it. The problem is that this thinking can place a false sense of value on items and prevent us from honestly assessing their worth. Remember, the things we own have a time, place, and purpose.  

Instead of throwing things away or thinking about it as throwing things away, shift your thinking to one of charity. Donating your unused items to a local non-profit means that someone else will get the value out of clothing and items that you don’t use anymore. You can purge your home knowing that your things are going to serve someone else and not just going in the landfill. At Progress, we work with Habitat for Humanity, which not only builds homes, but accepts and sells donations of all kinds of home goods, tools, parts, equipment, etc. through their ReStore. Check them out and see if you’d like to help them in their mission. If not, there are so many great local charities that will put your unused items to good use.

Children’s toys
For those of us with children, it’s easy to let their things take over the entire house, partly because their interests shift at such a rapid pace, and, partly because kids’ toys are bulky! Consider engaging your children in the decluttering process. Let your child determine which of their toys should be given to other children, and which toys are important to them. Doing this regularly will help keep the toys levels more manageable.

There’s no substitute for more space
If you’ve decluttered your life and your home still feels cramped, maybe it’s time to increase your living space. With thousands of home across the US, Progress Residential® makes it easy to find a rental home with the space you need. Find your perfect rental home at www.rentprogress.com.

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