Decluttering is something I’m always working on…it’s one of those jobs in the same category as cooking, laundry, and homeschooling. Decluttering is just never done. I’ve trained myself over the years to do a little bit of decluttering each day, the same way I do with my cleaning and laundry systems.
However, I LOVE doing one decluttering push right before I do my spring cleaning each year!
This just makes sense. If you are going to be doing a lot of deep cleaning, think about how much easier it is to clean a decluttered space. It takes so much less time, and it’s just a more enjoyable job. I don’t necessarily enjoy cleaning, so I need to make it as easy on myself as possible.
If you have children (unless you are an accomplished minimalist) you have a lot of stuff in your house. Anytime you add more people to the equation, there is just more. More love, more fun, more dirt, more food, more laundry, more messes, more stuff!
So this means, as a mom, it’s imperative that we take constant action towards our clutter. If we don’t, we’ll have disastrous results…
Think about what happens when you don’t do laundry for a week…
…piles and piles of dirty laundry and children running around nekkid!
Think about what happens when you put off grocery shopping…
*Creative* meals made from pantry staples that no one really enjoys, and then when you make it to the store, you’re the weird one with four carts!
It’s time to start thinking about decluttering in the same way as those other tasks that just must be done a little every day. It will take a little bit of time for you to start seeing and feeling results from decluttering this way.
Get It Out Of The House
One of the most important steps in decluttering is getting the clutter out of your house. This seems so obvious, but unless you have a plan for dispersing your clutter, I guarantee you will end up with bags and bags of it either shoved into a corner of your closet or piled in the back of your van.
I have learned this lesson the hard way, one too many times. Have a daily plan for tossing the trash, and a weekly plan for a Goodwill run. I’m blessed that our Goodwill is on the right side of the road on the way to martial arts class, so it is so easy for me to make a weekly drop.
If your donation drop isn’t in a convenient location, it’s a good idea to brainstorm some alternative drop locations. In my area, there are a lot of drop locations located in parking lots around town. It’s basically just a cleaned out dumpster where you can put your bags of donations and then they come pick it up. It’s not 100% ideal because you won’t get a receipt for your efforts.
But if a drop location dumpster will get the clutter out of your home, it is worth it!
I am always tempted to try and first sell any of the clothes or household items that are still in good condition on eBay or Craigslist. You may be able to successfully accomplish this. For me…it’s a trap.
It takes forever for me to get something listed because I’m not highly motivated to do it. If I were trying to save up a big chunk of money really quickly, I could get it done, but otherwise, there is always something more important or more exciting for me to do. So listing items never gets done.
If selling your items is a temptation for you, then give yourself a very strict time limit. For instance, make an agreement with yourself that if you haven’t listed your items in 7 days, they will immediately be dropped off for donation. And then stick to it!
Decluttering-Get The Kids Involved
When your kids are involved in decluttering accomplishes two goals.
1. Your home gets decluttered exponentially faster.
2. Your children learn decluttering habits that will hopefully stick with them into adulthood.
I keep decluttering as simple as possible when involving the children, and make my expectations clear. I assign a small number of items that I would like for each of them to get rid of from their room, usually 3-5 items. And then I ask the children to bring me the items.
I always inspect what they want to get rid of first to prevent getting rid of something important. I will then put the items in the appropriate bag, trash or donation.
So when I add up all of the children’s items, in addition to my own items, we can get rid of a lot of stuff without spending a lot of time. For me this works out to 3 items multiplied by 7 children ages 4 and over, plus my own 25 items. We just decluttered 46 items, and it happened in less than 10 minutes! Woohoo!