cluttered room full of boxes

10 Tips for De-cluttering Your Home

December 10, 2010 | DIY Home Improvement, Handy How-Tos

Studies have shown that clutter in your home can elevate your stress levels. It can also make it harder to find things, easier to bump into things, and less desirable to have guests in your home. Luckily, Rent.com is here to help!

How to De-clutter Your Home:

  1. Don’t Let it Get Cluttered in the First Place: Obviously, if you are already in a clutter situation this tip is not that helpful, however, once you get out of your clutter situation, keep this in mind. Just like your parents told you, if you pick up and put away whatever you’re using before you start using something else, you’ll never need to clean up.
  2. One In, Two Out: To further prevent potential clutter, make sure you have determined a need and space for something new before you bring it into your home. Learning to keep impulse purchases to a minimum can help. Try to follow the “one in, two out” rule. Before bringing anything new into the house, you must get rid of two old things, until the house is in a reasonably de-cluttered state.
  3. The “What If I Need It” Box: This is a great tool for the typical pack rat. So often these individuals are tempted to throw something away that they haven’t used in years, but hesitate and say, “What if I need it?” Well, it’s time to find out. Any time you have an item that you’re afraid to throw away, put it in the box. Seal the top of the box and make a covered hole in the side so you can put items in. Then leave the box alone. After a year, seal up the rest of the box, without looking inside it, and donate it or throw it away. Chances are you may not even remember what you thought you might need. Do NOT let curiosity get the better of you and open the box.
  4. The 10% Rule: As you de-clutter an area in your apartment, try to leave at least 10% of the area empty and never let it fill up. That new space will always be open for new things, and who doesn’t love new things? But make sure as you always leave that 10% open.
  5. One Room at a Time: De-cluttering is a daunting task, so just make it a goal to de-clutter a single room. Once that room is complete, you may find yourself spending all your time in there and realizing “wouldn’t it be great if the whole apartment or house was this way?”
  6. One Square at a Time: Sometimes cleaning even one room can be daunting. Don’t consider the whole task all at once. Pick one square of room to de-clutter. You can even do it by moving clutter to another part of the room. Systematically de-clutter more and more squares until the room is complete.
  7. Baby Steps: Another way to handle the overwhelming de-cluttering task is to just devote 15 minutes of your time per day to de-cluttering. Once you get the hang of that, consider upping it to 20 minutes. Once your home is completely de-cluttered, find a rewarding way to spend that extra time you’ve gained.
  8. Five Items per Day: A variation on the baby steps method is to just pick five items per day to find a place for. A few weeks of that should have the whole place in top shape, if you are careful not to “re-clutter.” You also could start with a step-by-step process categorizing things to attack. For example, step 1: remove any trash or items to donate, step 2: pick up all clothing items, step 3: sort through all books or magazines, etc.
  9. Block out a Weekend: Sometimes it just seems like the job will take forever, so you don’t even want to get started. If you shut off the phones, crank up the tunes and give yourself a whole weekend to de-clutter, you take away this excuse. With hours and hours stretching out in front of you, it’s much easier to get started. It can help to set a schedule so that you spend a little time on each room—and remember to allow time for little breaks to keep you going or plan a special reward at the end of the weekend to recognize your personal accomplishment.
  10. Get Help: While you shouldn’t ask someone you just met to help you get your apartment back into shape, it’s okay to ask a friend for a little guidance, especially with donating things or throwing them away. It can even make the whole exercise kind of fun.

Once you’ve de-cluttered and gotten organized, your apartment will seem so much bigger! What will you do with the extra space?

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