Friday, July 10, 2015

10 easy places to start de-cluttering.

in any big project or lifestyle change, getting started is always the hardest part. and de-cluttering your entire home is no different. when i talk to people in real life about our move towards a minimal home, the most common reaction i get is "wow thats so great i wish i could do something like that but i just cant find the time", and, i totally get that. i mean, that was one of the things that held us back from doing this for, oh, a few years. 

i think the reason for this is that we tend to think of de-cluttering as a single major event: you clean out the attic, the garage, the closets, and its a big deal and really hard and totally sucks so you avoid it as long as you possibly can. but it doesnt have to be that way, de-cluttering can also be broken down into small, bite-sized pieces that you tackle one at a time, when you can. actually, i already wrote a post about how to do this exact thing, and i recommend approaching it this way, because 1. who really has the time to do everything all in one go, and 2. starting small and moving quickly will totally motivate you to get even MORE decluttering done (have i ever mentioned that purging excess stuff is super addicting?). 

sounds great, right? 

if youre thinking that you want to take a dive into this de-cluttering business, but dont want to get in over your head, put together a list of ten places to get you started. ten places that (generally speaking) are quick and easy to clean out so that you can move right on to marveling at your progress, patting yourself on the back, and getting on with your life, inspired and excited to get to the next spot to de-clutter. 

ready to get going? here they are: 

1. the bathroom. bathrooms are a really great place to start because generally speaking, there isnt a whole lot in there. but empty/almost empty bottles, unused appliances (last time i cleaned out ours i found THREE curling irons. i never curl my hair...), and the like do tend to pile up. the good news is that since there usually isnt a lot to clean, it goes by really fast!

2. the fridge. the fridge is also a great place to start because every decision is super obvious: its either a food youre going to eat soon or its not. quickly tossing out old/expired/unwanted food takes just a few minutes and can make your fridge SO much tidier. 

3. the pantry. much like the fridge, if you arent going to eat/use it soon, it doesnt need to be there, so there arent any hard decisions to make. this can also be a really great way to save money on groceries, either by committing to use up whats in there before buying more, or noting the foods that you can stop buying because they dont get eaten (for example, i havent bought canned soup in at least a year because it just stays in our pantry forever). 

4. kitchen supplies. regardless of how you feel about cooking, everyone has to eat, and when it comes to kitchen supplies the gap between "things you use every day" and "things you never use/things you have way too many of" is usually pretty wide. weeding out extra/unused dishes, tools, and gadgets can make a huge difference and only takes a few minutes. 

5. junk drawers. everybody has them, and to an extent, theyre pretty necessary (i mean, whos house ACTUALLY has a proper place for every single tiny thing?). but, they also have a tendency to accumulate things that are essentially trash (ours always end up full of stickers and business cards and the extra buttons that come on clothes...). periodically cleaning these out is an easy way to make a big dent on some clutter, both by getting rid of trash and making room in the junk drawer for things from elsewhere in the house that really should be in there. 

6. bookshelves. since bookshelves by nature tend to be pretty orderly (i mean, they have a bunch of books lined up in a nice little row), taking note of and picking out anything that isnt useful or hasnt been touched for years to be tossed/donated/sold/etc. 

7. linen closets. linens are another easy purge, since (with the exception of holiday/special occasion items) you either use them or you dont. obviously theres no need to hang on to sheets sized for beds you dont even have (actual thing ive found in our linen closet) or an excessive amount of "extra" blankets or towels (really, unless you have a LOT of overnight guests theres no reason to have more than a couple). an extra bonus here is that paring down linens frees up a TON of space to use that storage for something more productive. 

8. cleaning supplies. unless youre SUPER organized (or i guess, really into cleaning) im guessing you dont spend a lot of time looking at/thinking about your cleaning supplies. but under the sink (or wherever it is you keep such things) is a great place to go through since you can make a HUGE difference by taking a few minutes to toss anything empty/gross/you dont like (and organize whats left). 

9. toiletries/beauty products. im going to go out on a limb here and assume that the majority of my readers are ladies (and please forgive me if i assumed incorrectly), but i think we can all agree here: this stuff just piles up no matter what we do. the good news here is that its also pretty easy (and feels SO GOOD) to sort out all the lotions and sprays and makeup that we dont (or wont, im looking at you all those bright colors of eye shadows i never used...) use regularly and scale down to the essentials. 

10. the medicine cabinet. medicine is another one thats easy-peasy: its expired or its not. and if its expired, then by all means it needs to be (safely) disposed of because safety is important. 

each of these little micro-purges wont take long, probably wont involve a lot of hard questions, and i promise, watching the progress build up as you tackle each one is SUPER motivating when it comes to de-cluttering the bigger stuff. i mean, i thought we were done but after writing this post im about to go over this list again at our place...

how do you like to tackle clutter: all at once or in little bites? let me now in the comments!
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