How to Declutter Your Life and Stay Organized
by Erica Garza
Organizing your home doesn’t have to be a once-every-springtime activity. By creating an easy decluttering routine, you can keep a tidy home throughout the year, turning a springtime “chore” into a simple lifestyle choice you won’t even have to think about. From purging specific items per season to enlisting the family’s help in the summer months, here are some tips to learn how to declutter your life any time of year.
Spring is an ideal time to break out that deep cleaning checklist, but before your start scrubbing down all your cherished items, you may want to bid farewell to your not-so-cherished items first. When it comes to clothes, an easy way to avoid clutter altogether is to keep seasonally appropriate garments in your closet and everything else in a storage space. Some easy storage ideas are space saver bags you can store in your closet or under the bed and out of sight. For home items — like blankets and linens — consider clear storage bins you can stack. When you’re ready to purge, focus on specific items from the previous season. When winter months come to a close, it’s a good idea to discard clothes, accessories and home items you won’t be using anytime soon anyway. These include:
- Cold weather clothing like coats, mittens, and scarves, as well as winter footwear
- Fall and winter holiday decorations
- Heavy blankets and linens
With the kids home from school, you’ll want to make use of the extra hands around the house to help you declutter in the summer months. Enlist the whole family to go through the following items and shed the excess together:
- School supplies that can’t be salvaged in the coming year
- Toiletries that are no longer used and medicine cabinet items that have expired
- Board games and toys with missing pieces or broken parts
- Clothing that the kids have outgrown
Once the family has identified items they no longer need (or want), make a project of giving the items you’re keeping an assigned place. For instance, shoes can be kept on a tidy shoe rack. Baskets or clear storage bins can hold linens or toys. Make use of wall hooks, clear jars, and maybe even a label-maker, so everyone knows where each item belongs.
Transitioning from hot weather to cool weather months is a good time to let go of those summertime items you didn’t even bother to use when you had the chance. You’ll also want the extra space to prepare for the upcoming holidays and the excess of “stuff” those events tend to bring. Put away the following items in the fall:
- Summer clothing like bathing suits, cover-ups, hats and sandals
- Pool and beach accessories that have either been damaged or no longer get used
- Luggage with broken wheels or rips/tears
- Patio equipment and gardening tools that now look like eyesores
Fall is a good opportunity to do a deep clean of the car, too. With summer road trips over, the kids back at school, and the temperatures cooler, those deep, dark places between the seats can finally get your much-needed attention.
With even colder weather keeping many of us indoors, winter presents a great opportunity to deal with those more challenging items like kitchen cabinets and the messiest junk drawers. As gift-giving holidays inevitably bring in new stuff, it’s a good time to sort through knickknacks and sentimental items that crowd your space. Other items to deep clean and purge:
- Books, records, magazines
- Fall decorations
- Pantry and freezer items that have long ago expired
- Photo albums (perhaps scan them and make them digital?)
Hire a Junk and Furniture Removal Service
When you’ve gathered the items you’re ready to donate in every season, hire an on-demand junk removal service like Curb-It, in which haulers help you pick up your stuff and cart it away. For the safety of you and your hauler, Curb-It offers safe, non-contact services and curbside pickup.
While the thought of decluttering may seem overwhelming at first, finding a way to tackle the project in pieces throughout the year will keep you sane and centered. If ever the feat seems impossible, remind yourself that letting go of old stuff is the only way to make room for the new.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist from Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, and VICE.