If you’re following me over on my Instagram Stories lately, you may have seen that every day in January I’ve been posting about organizing a different area of our home for the January Declutter Detox. We’re just about halfway through the month, and I can’t believe how good our home feels already with this progress. I’m committing generally about an hour or two every day (somedays less!) and taking on a different area – you can see the full checklist here!
I know that for many people the hardest part is knowing where to start and then finding the motivation to tackle it. Which is exactly why I’ve put together this post to share some of the benefits of decluttering, as well as my tried-and-true motivation tips. I also have a few helpful tips on how to make the most of all your decluttering efforts and make it LAST!
Throughout this post I’m sharing real before and after pics of my progress over the last two weeks. We all have messes and obstacles to overcome and I’m hoping that by sharing some of mine, it’ll give others the confidence to tackle their own homes. We can do this together, folks!!
The Benefits of Decluttering
- Less Stuff to Organize: Let’s be honest here…even organized clutter is still clutter, so you’re going to need to remove things from your home to see a real change. This leads to less stuff that you need to worry about managing and organizing. I notice whenever we’re on vacation, living out of just what we have in our suitcases, it is so much easier to keep track of what we have, what’s clean, what needs to be dealt with, etc.
- Less Stuff to Keep Clean: Okay, so I love a tidy house but I am not the biggest fan of cleaning…so this one is a big one for me. The less I need to clean, the better!
- Less Waste: When you’re starting to remove these things from your home, it may seem at first like there is so much waste, but I’m hoping that when you see how much you don’t need in your home, you’ll start to buy less wasteful things overall. That you’ll put careful consideration into what you buy, because that’s what I’ve found about ourselves over the last few years of doing this each January. Every year we have less and less to get rid of because we are being more and more careful about what comes in. I’d also like to do a whole other blog post on how much of an effort we put into making our decluttering efforts more sustainable by finding new homes for most things. More on that soon!
- Spend Less Money: This one works two fold. First of all, when you start decluttering you find things you didn’t even know you have (sometimes even duplicates!) and it will ultimately save you from having to buy things you need and didn’t know you have. Secondly, when you start to see how much excess we have in our homes, it makes you take in careful consideration anything new you buy. Do you really want to go and fill up your nice, clean and organized home with more stuff? I doubt it!
- Less Work & Stress at Home: For many of us, having so much stuff around can put a damper on creativity, productivity and motivation. I can see in myself how much I struggle when our house is messy – it can feel so overwhelming. Whenever I walk into an area of our home that is clean, organized and decluttered, I can feel that stress dissipate. Ultimately I’d love to get to a point where I feel that everywhere in our house (but that may be after our kids go to school, ha!)
- Enjoy More Time Doing What You Love: If you’re not managing all this stuff and you don’t need to clean as much…guess what you get to do…more of whatever you want! Start up a hobby, join a new sport, spend time with loved ones….sleep in!
Tips for Motivation when Decluttering
- Use a Decluttering Checklist: Having a clear list of what to accomplish can be a huge motivation, which is why I put together a handy dandy January Declutter Detox Checklist. Keep in mind that you don’t need to start on January 1st, and you don’t need to go in any particular order. This is meant to be a way to help identify areas in your home that you may want to work on decluttering. Plus doing that little checkmark at the end of each task feels SO GOOD! ✓✓✓
- Take before and after pics of each area: Who doesn’t love a good before and after pic? Even if it’s just for yourself, it’s such a helpful way to give yourself a little pat on the back and keep the momentum going. If you do end up sharing it on social media, please tag me @lifeatcloverhill – I love to see the results and cheer you on. Woohoo!
- Look at your home as if you were a first time visitor: So often we get used to how a room has always looked, but try to imagine what it would be like for someone coming into your home for the first time. What are the things that standout? What are things that seem out of place?
- Setup Sorting Boxes: Both upstairs and downstairs for the month of January I have three boxes set up: one for giving away (family, friends, sell online, donate, etc), one for things that were in the wrong place and one for trash. I try to deal with these boxes every day or two, even if that means doing a donation drop off while out running errands, etc.
- Resist taking on more than you can chew at a time: Most people can’t work on their house for an entire 8 hour day without getting burnt out (nor do they have that much time to do so!). I find working for an hour or two a day is best for keeping motivation high without getting overtired and overwhelmed. Even if it takes you more than a day to take on that particular task, that’s okay too!
- It doesn’t need to look magazine worthy: Your house is lived in and used every day, and it’s unrealistic to think it will look like something out of a magazine or a Container Store catalogue. The ultimate goal is to have a space that has less clutter, more free space and is easy to maintain.
How to Make Your Declutter Efforts LAST!
Ok, so now you’ve gone through all this work to declutter and organize your home, but how do you make it last?!? First of all I think it’s important to recognize that there are events and seasons of our lives where things get messy and busy, and it’s easy to fall back into old habits or let things get out of hand again. I find that every January, we need to do another “tune up”, especially after the holiday season, which is why the January Declutter Detox has become a bit of an annual tradition for us. That being said, I do have some tips that I think can really help keep you on track throughout the year and enjoy all the effort you put in to this process.
- Stick to a routine: Once you’ve decluttered and organized an area, your work isn’t done. You need to keep the area clean and commit to the regular upkeep. I find the easiest way to do that is to do a nightly clean up throughout your house, putting things where they belong, and getting rid of anything you know you don’t need right away.
- If it takes less than 2 minutes to complete a task – DO IT!: Toilet paper roll needs to be replaced? Dishwasher unloaded? Laundry put away? All these things take such a small amount of our daily time, but they’re often shuffled aside for “later”. I’m especially guilty of this when it comes to putting away laundry (see above “before” picture of our bedroom – YIKES!) I love a good cup of tea, so one little thing I usually do is put things away in our kitchen while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil. It only takes a couple minutes to boil and in that time I can usually deal with at least some task in our kitchen. Same goes while I’m waiting the 5 minutes for the tea to steep – it’s a good time to unload and reload the dishwasher, maybe scan the fridge for things we need to eat up quickly, sort through the mail, etc.
- A place for everything and everything in its place: This is such an old lady thing to say but it turns out that Granny was right. If you found a clean spoon in your living room, would you just leave it there or would you put it back in the cutlery drawer? Same goes for anything else in your house. If it has a dedicated place in your home, you’re much more likely to put it away when you see it.
- Learn from where the messes appear: One thing about having your house all decluttered at once is that you start to clearly see where the new messes are developing and identify solutions. Do you always seem to have a pile of shoes in the front hall? Maybe it’s time to add a shoe rack or go through everyone’s shoes and see if there are things that can be removed or put into storage (ie. winter boots still out in summer time). Clutter building up on the countertop? Maybe make an action plan to deal with paperwork as soon as it comes in your home.
I hope you have found these tips helpful on your own decluttering journey! If you’re joining me for the January Declutter Detox, don’t forget to tag me on social media @lifeatcloverhill. I LOVE seeing all the progress while we motivate each other. Here’s to starting off the decade with cleaner, less cluttered homes! ♥♥♥