Moving into a new home is an opportunity to start fresh and create the clean, organized home you have always wanted. But a clutter-free home starts even before you leave your old home. Here are five steps to get you there:
1. Remove Clutter While Packing (and While Unpacking)
As you go from room to room to pack, you will encounter items that no longer serve any purpose in your home. Take the time to thoroughly sort through all of your possessions, so you can get rid of those items you no longer need. You can even create a checklist to help determine if each item is a keeper. Some questions you might want to ask are:
- Why did I purchase/obtain this item?
- Is it serving any purpose?
- Will it be missed by anyone if we got rid of it?
- Do I have room for it at my new home?
This can also be a great opportunity to host a yard sale — moving is expensive, and selling unneeded items can help cut the cost. Every little bit helps! Alternately, if you are feeling generous, donations are always greatly appreciated.
As you are unloading and unpacking in your new home, you may find additional items that you no longer need. As you unpack, follow the same de-cluttering steps as you did when packing.
2. Develop Good Habits from Day One
Making cleaning and organization a habit is much easier than you think. Just follow these easy steps:
- Clean right away: We say it all the time: “I’ll get to it eventually.” Procrastination hurt your grades in school, and it hurts your hygiene at home. This mentality will only hinder your efforts of having a clean, organized home. If you get something out, see something misplaced or something that needs cleaning, don’t put it off.
- Create a routine: Develop a routine or schedule, and stick with it. Whether it’s to focus on one room at a time, or even one chore at a time, make it a routine and it will eventually become second nature.
- Create designated areas: Certain things need to go in certain places — dirty laundry needs its own space, as does the mail. Have specific areas for everything, so that sorting through or disposing of items can be simple and easy.
3. Store Wisely
No matter how much you declutter, some things are hard to part with. There will always be things you don’t use regularly that you still want to keep, and some of them take up a lot of space: the retro jukebox that’s a family keepsake, the old motorcycle you plan to restore “someday.” If you don’t have a garage or other storage spot in your home, rent a storage unit to keep these things safe and out of sight. But be sure to be discerning about what you do keep. Use that same checklist when deciding what to put into storage. Just because you have the storage space doesn’t mean you need to fill it up!
Even the small things accrued throughout the years can begin to pile up —put those old family photo albums that are crowding your living room in a safe bin, which can be placed in storage.
4. Wear It or Ditch It
If you’re like most people, you hoard some type of clothing, whether it’s T-shirts, socks or jeans. You never know when you’ll need those 20-year-old acid wash jeans, after all. Old clothes are a major cause of clutter. So cut the clothes clutter and only keep what you actually wear.
Assess each item of clothing during its season. When you bring out the winter clothes, take the opportunity to discard any old sweaters that no longer fit. When the temperature starts heating up, sort through your bathing suits, shorts and tees.
Try to continuously get rid of clothing that you do not wear anymore. Companies that accept donations will be very happy to take your old high school sweatshirts.
5. Be a Shrewd Shopper
If you did all that work to declutter and start with a clean slate, you don’t want to ruin it by filling your home back up with unneeded items!
Ask yourself these questions before making any purchase:
- Do I have the necessary room for it?
- Do I actually need this item?
- Am I buying this for the right reasons?
Not only will these questions help you financially (because we all need a little help in that area), but it will keep your home from gathering items you’ll only end up getting rid of. Take a step back and determine if a purchase is actually worth it.
By Caleb McElveen, HigherVisibility/Redfin.com