Simple Living

New year, clear spaces: How to start decluttering

So you just got a bunch of stuff for Christmas…

And even if it was items you wanted or needed, your house may be feeling a bit full and in need of a good declutter! My kids received a number of toys that they had wanted for Christmas – things that have already been taking them into new areas of wonderful, imaginative play. And probably a lot of the toys we had on hand were a bit too young for them and so it was time for a transition, but right now it all feels like a bit much! So how do you get started when looking at rooms, shelves, closets of items that you may still want or feel attached to, but may not need?

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Approaches to decluttering

I had previously posted about approaches to decluttering here, but will give a quick summary!

  1. Speed purge: pick an area, set a time limit and go! It can be something as small and contained as a drawer or even a purse.
  2. Start small: Take 5 minutes and choose a shelf or counter and clear that space only – 5 minutes a day amazingly adds up to 2.5 hours in a month.
  3. KonMari method: you know, that Netflix show! This one takes a bit more time commitment however I made good use of her storage tips to organize some of my clothing drawers.
  4. Box it up: put items you’re looking to donate into a box and label it for six months in the future. If nothing from the box has been missed, donate it at that time.
  5. 20 20 method: if you can replace something for less than $20 and in under 20 minutes, it can safely be decluttered.
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How to identify what to declutter

Now that you have an approach to start decluttering, how do you know what to pass along? As you sort through areas in your home, consider the following:

  1. Duplicate items
  2. Clothing or shoes that don’t fit (and likely won’t anytime soon)
  3. Broken items or things that are no longer fit for purpose
  4. Low cost or simple to replace

What to do with the items you’ve chosen to part with?

My husband and I have managed to smuggle some generally unused toys downstairs, but now they’re sitting around as we contemplate how best to share/sell/give them away. This can also be a difficult step – why is it so much more difficult to remove stuff than bring it in? Below are some ideas as to how and where to move items along:

  1. Local buy-nothing groups: joining a local group will give you access to items people are giving away that you may need, and you can share items you no longer need with others!
  2. Thrift shops: these are often places you can donate easily, but you may want to do some research as to what they support.
  3. Sell online: Alison previously posted some tips and tricks how best to sell online here.
  4. Clothing swap: check out our post on how to host a clothing swap here!
  5. Garage sale: Likely more of a summer activity – consider gathering a group of friends/neighbors to have a larger sale.
  6. Consignment stores/online clothing sales: sell your lightly used clothing and shoes and recover some of the initial purchase price.
  7. Recycling depot: many take bottles as well as recycle electronics/appliances. See Alison’s post on 10 unique recycling programs!
Cork Yoga Mat

Are you planning to declutter soon?

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