Decluttering Your Home
Decluttering a space, be it a closet, a room or your home can seem like a daunting exercise in futility. From my own experience as an interior designer from Brooklyn my office itself also has years of files, samples, and decor from the many projects I have completed. I am able, however, to declutter the space through various techniques I will be covering in this article.
How do you sort through years or even a lifetime’s worth of collecting and decide what goes and what does not go? Stress, frustration, and anxiety are three of the feelings often associated with this project, however, that does not have to be. Less clutter, fewer things to clean, more space in your closet, room, or home…these are but a few plusses that come with decluttering your space. Another benefit is the feeling of satisfaction when finished. And a tip from an interior designer in New York to help you reduce and reuse goods for the world: if you donate goods to a charitable organization, they will many times come and pick up your unwanted items, leading to a tax deduction for your donated goods.
Here are some of my ideas to declutter your space, as well as help to stop the clutter from building up, to begin with:
- Designate a spot for incoming papers and mail. Papers often account for a lot of clutter. We tend to put them in different spots, be it a counter, a table, on our desk, in a drawer, on top of our dresser, or in our car. It is not hard to understand why we can’t find things when needed! Designate an in-box tray or spot in your home and office and only put mail and papers in that spot. When you go through that inbox, sort through it and then either respond immediately or file needed papers away. Receipts, warranties, and manuals can all go in a separate labeled file in bankers’ boxes or a filing cabinet. This one little change can really transform your paperwork.
- Learn to file quickly. Once you’ve created your simple filing system, you just need to learn to use it regularly. Take a handful of papers from your pile, or your inbox, and go through them one at a time, starting from the top paper and working down. Make quick decisions: trash them, file them immediately, or make a note of the action required and put them in an “action” file. Don’t put anything back on the pile, and don’t put them anywhere but in a folder (and no cheating “to be filed” folders!) or in the trash/recycling bin.
- Schedule a decluttering day or weekend. Much like any chore list, we need to block out time and schedule time to declutter. Once you have begun and see progress, you may very well feel excited about your work and newly found space and go for more. If you are partnered and have kids get them involved, Many hands make light work. Get boxes and trash bags ready, and plan a trip to a charity to drop off donated items. You might not get the entire house decluttered during the weekend, but you’ll probably make great progress.
- Pick up 5 things, and find places for them. These should be things that you actually use, but that you just seem to put anywhere, because they don’t have good places. If you don’t know exactly where things belong, you have to designate a good spot. Take a minute and think if you use the items regularly or not, or if at all. Often-used items should be handy, rarely-used items stored away, and never used items may be a candidate for getting rid of. Then always put those things in the designated spots when you’re done using them. Do this for everything in your home, a few things at a time. My rule of thumb is when in doubt, throw it out.
- Put a load by your door for charity. If you’ve decluttered a bunch of stuff, you might have a “to donate” pile that’s just taking up space in a corner of your room. Take some time to box it up and bring it to the donation center.
- Pull out some clothes you don’t wear. As you’re getting ready for work and going through your closet for something to wear, spend a few minutes pulling out ones you haven’t worn in a few months. If they’re seasonal clothes, store them in a box. Get rid of the rest. You can do this a little at a time if you like, and soon you’ll find only clothing you wear and much more room in your closets and drawers.
- Take the 12-12-12 Challenge. A simple task of locating 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their proper home can be a really fun and exciting way to quickly organize 36 things in your house. This challenge can become a quick, fun competition between you and your partner (and kids as well).
When all else fails, get help! Many times the daunting challenge of clearing away clutter can be simply too much. If you have a really organized friend, ask them. Sometimes professional help (and we don’t mean a therapist) is the answer. Many times being separated from the process is truly what is needed. As an interior designer in New York, I’ve also expanded my team and I’s services to also offer home organization as a service, click here to book a free consultation with us!
About Jarret Yoshida: Jarret Yoshida is the Principal of one of the most well-known New York interior design firms today. He draws on his Japanese interior decorator heritage and years of experience to create environments that are tailored to his clients’ needs and designed to make them feel comfortable, relaxed, and happy.