It starts as a small pile of mail, or a few clothes, or some toys, and a few days later the piles have multiplied in size. By the end of the week the pile has become a monster that you really don’t want to deal with. As I have stressed countless times, a clean house will sell faster and for more but a clean house also just feels better and will improve your mood! So I present to you an 8 step plan to attack and declutter each room to get your house under control!
Step 1: Start Off Right
TIP: Don't start with family heirlooms, those are the hardest to get rid of.
You will want to start in the place that really motivated you to begin cleaning in the first place. What was the straw the broke the camel’s back? A backlog of upopened mail or laundry? The goal is to take care of that one AREA and not the whole room.
Step 2: The Bathroom
The bathroom is fairly easy to declutter. It is fast and easy to throw away empty or unused bottles, expired items, and old makeup. It’s important to remember that, depending on the size, your bathroom should not be treated as a linen closet. Don’t go overboard putting all your extras in your bathroom, use your linen closet.
Step 3: Public Rooms
Perhaps you’re embarrassed by all the DVDs, video games and newspapers scattered around your living room, or can’t host another dinner party until something is done about all that stuff on the dining room table. Areas that guests see are often a lot easier to go through and sort out. Bonus: Cleaning them up will allow you to quickly benefit socially.
Step 4: The Kitchen
Most people view the kitchen as one of the biggest challenges. The entire area is filled with things that you use or could use: extra containers, boxes, twist ties, and extra kitchen tools. The best approach is to think of the last time you used each item. The items you haven’t used in a couple of months get put in boxes and store them away in the garage or attic. Anything that you haven’t used in a year or more gets stored in longer-term storage or gets donated.
Step 5: Clothing/Closets
Give yourself plenty of time for closets, around an hour and a half. I recommend starting in the corners and moving toward the middle. Items in this area are very personal and you will certainly have a hard time getting rid of clothes. Try to be objective, which clothes have you never worn? If you find yourself getting too bogged down put things in an “undecided box” put it away. If, in a year, you haven’t noticed they are missing: donate them.
Step 6: The Bedrooms
Bedrooms are made up entirely of personal mementos, photos, family heirlooms, and other items with lots of emotional attachment. The best idea is to get a close friend to sit with you and help you make QUICK decisions. Remember, your bedroom is primarily for relaxing and sleeping; all items that won’t help you do that doesn’t really need to be there. Step 9: Attic/Basement/Garage Never do these rooms solo—furniture and big boxes will slow you down, so schedule a helper. As with closets, work back-to-front, beginning in the back corners and moving toward the middle of the room. Back corners tend to fill with junk you don’t need, and make for quick tossing that opens up a lot of space.
Step 7: Home Office
Clear out your entire desk; empty drawers and clear off all surface spaces. Set paperwork aside to sort through later. Designate one desk drawer to office supplies. Sort through your desk files and papers and as you organize the paperwork, keep these guidelines in mind: If you don’t use the file on a weekly basis, or if it’s not personal or confidential, either dispose of it or store it in a separate filing cabinet.
Step 8: The Party
If you have reached this step you deserve a reward! Plan a party. A giveaway party, that is. Invite over friends who might be happy to take that necklace or the jeans you never wear off your hands. This party will kill two birds with one stone. You get rewarded for decluttering your entire home AND you will be further decluttering by getting rid of unneeded items!