Today I want to walk you through exactly what I would do if I opened a door and the view you are looking at confronted me. Obviously our end goal is to eliminate clutter from this room but there are a number of steps required to do so.
The owner of this room was upset that the grandchildren no longer had somewhere to play when they came over because it was almost impossible to get into the room. There were toys galore but none of them were played with because the children couldn’t access them. The room was causing significant stress in the household and needed desperately to be sorted out.
Let’s have a closer look and find out where to begin.
Usually I recommend beginning by collecting your decluttering supplies:
1) Keep box
2) Trash box
3) Donate box
In this circumstance however, that is jumping the gun a little.
We need to take a breath and do something important before we will be ready to get to that point.
Tip Number 1 to Eliminate Clutter: Get Mentally Prepared
In the situation we are observing, any thoughts of having a garage sale or putting the items on Facebook marketplace must be gotten rid of entirely.
There is absolutely no point in making a pile of items to sell when we are this deep in clutter. That solution is for someone with just a few things to get rid of who has the time and the space to store it until it can be sold, not for the owner of this room. Doing that is simply setting yourself up for disaster.
There are not enough hours in the day to post these items for sale and you will run out of energy before you run out of things to sell. Our priority is getting rid of the clutter, not trying to make money from it.
This home owner needs to be ruthless in her decluttering and get as many items out of the house as possible in the shortest amount of time. She really wants to create momentum in her decluttering so that she can get to the end of it.
So, onto the tangible stuff.
Tip Number 2 to Eliminate Clutter: Make a Path
We need to make a path across the room so we can get to the other items in it. Work your way across the room step by step.
Be careful about creating a new pile in another room. Items should go straight into the trunk of the car to be donated or into the trash.
Tip Number 3 to Eliminate Clutter: Create a Visible Result
It is a mistake to begin a large decluttering project by cleaning out cupboards or drawers. When we are done we simply close the doors and it looks as if we haven’t done anything at all. This is very disheartening and can be so demotivating that we never go back to the decluttering project.
Ensure that you are starting with something that makes a visible difference to the room and use that as motivation to persevere to the end.
Tip Number 4 to Eliminate Clutter: Don’t Create a Mess Somewhere Else
A friend once told me something she learned when she was renovating her house. She was told to make sure that she cleaned up all of her tools, paints etc. at the end of every work session. This prevented her home from looking like a work site and made it much more enjoyable to live in during the renovation process.
I wondered whether this was a valuable use of her time but given that she needed to live in the rooms she was renovating, and the renovation was going to take quite a while, it helped her to see the progress she was making, rather than focusing solely on the work she had to do and the mess the place was in.
So, using that philosophy, tidy up an area and get rid of the items decluttered. Don’t let them hang around in other areas of the home or you will get sick of them being there and bring them back into the room you have been working on, thereby undoing all of your hard work.
Tip Number 5 to Eliminate Clutter: Collect your Decluttering Supplies
Now is the time to have our 3 decluttering resources by our sides:
1) Keep box
2) Trash box
3) Donate box
We need to decide if we want to keep, toss or donate each item.
Use the three boxes to sort as you go.
A Final Word about Eliminating Clutter
Remember that the goal is not to organise or rearrange this room. Our primary task is to get rid of the excess items.
There is no way that this home owner needs or can ever use all of the items in this room. Even if she accidentally gave away or threw away something she later discover that she needed, it’s really a small price to pay for the calmness a clutter-free room will bring.
Have a look at her progress.
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