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The Art of Decluttering

Geoff McLean

If you ask anyone connected to the Victoria, BC real estate market, or any of the thousands of people who have listed their Victoria properties for sa...

If you ask anyone connected to the Victoria, BC real estate market, or any of the thousands of people who have listed their Victoria properties for sa...

Dec 17 6 minutes read

Clutter is a problem that is shared by people of all ages.  Kid’s rooms are always filled up with toys because they keep getting new ones for birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions.  Their rooms become obstacle courses as a result.

Teenager’s lives are too busy to worry about getting rid of the things they no longer use or need.  Young adults are given stuff so they can begin their own life and others think they can use everything they are given.

Families are always collecting more stuff as they redecorate their homes and move into different stages of their lives.  Older adults are filling their homes with the things that come from other family members that have passed away.

No matter what the age, it is easy to collect a lot of stuff.  Collecting stuff is simple, but by the time people realize that their house has become so cluttered that they cannot find anything, it is too late.

Many people just give into the clutter and accept this is a part of their life.  They may try to do some things like designating a room for stuff or renting a storage unit, but that does not solve the problem, it only hides it for a little while.

Instead of finding temporary solutions, it’s better to learn how to get rid of stuff in the home. It is not as difficult as it seems if a few steps are followed. The results will be a more functional home with less frustration.

Here are 5 steps you can take to decluttering your home:

1. Break it down by room.

If you try to declutter a home that has been accumulating stuff for many years, the task can quickly overwhelm you.  That will cause people to give up shortly after the project is started.

The better way to declutter is one room at a time.  That makes the job more manageable.  Make a list of all of the rooms in the home and create a schedule of when each room should be finished by.

Celebrate each room as it is finished and enjoy the work that has been accomplished.  That will provide motivation to finish the next room.

When taking on one room at a time, there is sometimes a tendency to pile move. That is when clutter is moved from one room to another.  That only puts the task of decluttering off.

Make sure that you are dealing with the clutter in each room and not hiding it. You can also take pictures of what you are doing.  It will give a good feeling that only grows as more rooms are finished.

2. Classify the stuff you have.

As you declutter a room, you have to sort through all of the stuff.  Bring in boxes and trash bags to help with this.  When you look at something in a room, sort it into one of several categories:

Necessities — Things that you absolutely have to have in a room to function.  A bed or a light bulb are probably a necessity in most rooms.

Wants — There are some things that may not be necessities, but that people really want in a room.  A family picture could fall into this category.  Make sure that you do not want everything.  One family picture is fine, but 10 may be considered clutter.

Luxuries — These are things that are nice to have, but are they really needed?  The foot massager may be a luxury.  With luxuries, ask questions, such as: do I ever use this thing and how often, or do I really want it anymore?

Trash — Things that are broken or that do not have any value at all need to find a way to the trash bin.

3. Simply get rid of your stuff.

One of the reasons that people do not get rid of stuff is they do not know what to do with it.  There are many things in the home that are useful and that still work, but for some reason the people in the home have no need for them.

They don’t want to throw these things away, so they keep them in a closet. Donate these things.  Some organizations will come to the home to pick them up or you can drop them off.  If you aren’t using it, then get rid of it.

4. Plan a garage sale.

One person’s clutter is another person’s treasure.  Holding a garage sale can do several things to help remove the clutter from the home.

It provides a goal to finish going through the home by a specific time. It provides a way to get rid of things.  It also shows that some of the stuff was worth money.

When holding a garage sale, remember that everything that is put out must go, regardless of the price.  In the end, the garage sale is about getting rid of stuff more than making money.

5. Do not fill your home back up.

Many people do manage to get rid of stuff in their home only to fill it back up again.  Make a commitment to keeping the home clutter free.  Find a place for everything in the home and put it there.

If you buy something new, remove something old.  That will prevent the problem from reoccurring and causing you to go through this process again. Simple as that.

It’s Time to Get Your Life Back

You can design the life you want to live.  You can design a simple life, a life of purpose.  Removing the clutter you don’t need is a tool to help you get there.

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