Decluttering has increasingly become something that most people are interested in doing. Many of us are beginning to realize that stuff might be taking up too much space in our homes and our lives and feel motivated to do something about it. One of the secrets, however, is to not let that motivation carry you away. Decluttering is a lot easier if you take some time to plan things out first. It may be tempting to just throw yourself into things and start tossing stuff into a garbage bag, but it’s the easiest way to end up feeling overwhelmed. 

Your Strategy

Budget Dumpster outlines the most effective strategy to declutter your house head to toe (or attic to basement). Make a list of every area of your home and note the severity of the clutter for each. It’s best to schedule enough time for whichever room you choose to work on, depending on how cluttered it is. You can even start with one area of a room to ease your way into the decluttering process. You’ll also want to gather three boxes and label them “Keep,” “Toss,” and “Store” for easy sorting.

Sort Your Belongings

This is both the fun part and the difficult part. If you struggle to get rid of stuff, it helps to take a minute to think about why you are holding on to it. Do you like freebies and bargains? Are you sentimental? Do you like to be prepared? Once you have understood what your “clutter personality” is, you will be better able to spot the stuff that is holding you back.  

Tossing, Recycling, and Donating

Have a concrete plan for how you are going to donate or get rid of the items. Know which charities you would like to donate to and how and when you will be going. Some charities even pick up the items from your house. Additionally, check what can be recycled from the trash pile, and find your closest recycling center. Alternatively, companies like Waste Management can also pick these up for you. 

Address the “Maybe” Pile

Chances are that if you’re unsure about what to do with something, you don’t need it. You wouldn’t have considered getting rid of it if you really wanted it. Also, it helps to sleep on it before you do this, especially if you have been decluttering all day, in order to approach it with fresh eyes. However, if you’re still reluctant to part with certain items, you can rent a storage container and have it taken elsewhere for the time being. For example, you can ask the service to move the container to a storage unit, so that you can address the items at a later time. 

Deep Clean

Take advantage of the fact that the room is empty to deep clean it. Easy-to-forget areas include door frames, under appliances, baseboards, ceiling fans, and fixtures. Consider using eco-friendly cleaning products that are better for the environment and for your own health. Even better, use natural ingredients for simple homemade cleaning products.  

Reorganize the Space

Don’t just put everything back the way it was. Take some time to consider the best way to organize the stuff you have kept. The more thought you put into this, the easier it will be to keep the house tidy in the long run. This guide has some useful tips on how to organize every room in your house, but feel free to create and implement your own systems. 

Repeat these steps for every room and area in the house, and soon you will have a fully tidy, clean, and organized home. Don’t be afraid to split the work into as many parts as you need to (for example, doing “bedroom drawers” as a category rather than the whole bedroom) and to take your time. Decluttering doesn’t have to be an overnight thing, and it’s actually a lot easier (and more effective) if you don’t rush it.