Whether you’ve moved into a bigger space or just found more creative ways to make your existing space hold more things, chances are you’re currently drowning in clutter or heading down that road. Great deals or not, you can become both annoyed by and overwhelmed with all the items in your home over time, so try these 12 tips for de-cluttering your living space and returning your peace of mind!
1. Donate old books to your library
Letting go of books can be hard, since they are associated with improvement and knowledge, but the truth is that they often just take up space when left unread and untouched for a long time. Books you’re not going to read a second time or read at all should be given a new home, and a great place for them to go is your local library.
2. Get an e-book reader
An e-book reader can hold a lot of books in a relatively tiny object. Replace some of your favorite titles with their e-book versions to help clear out shelving space, and consider buying new books in this format so you’re not refilling spots you just emptied right away. You may even find you’re reading more because you can take the reader anywhere and use free time scattered throughout your day to read a few pages.
3. Say goodbye to your CDs
CDs are pretty much outdated now, thanks to the rise of digital music. But it can be hard to let them go even if you haven’t listened to a CD in years. You can convert CDs to digital music and free up some more space in your home by selling and/or donating the old discs.
4. Let go of clothes you didn’t wear over the last three months
This rule doesn’t apply to seasonal clothes, as you’re not going to wear a jacket in the summer, but it works for everything else. Ending up with a cluttered closet is really easy to do, but it’s just more items you don’t need taking up valuable space.
Go through your clothes item by item and figure out what you can sell or donate or what you need to turn into cleaning rags. Local shelters will usually accept clothing donations all year round, and you can sell quality pieces on auction sites and other online outlets.
5. Discover what items eat a lot of space but don’t serve you
Furniture is a great home for useless things. It’s just a natural tendency to fill furniture or open spaces with items you don’t need or use. When you’re de-cluttering, take a long and hard look at the serious space-eaters you have, and determine whether you really need those things.
Definitely check out your basement, as that’s one space people tend to fill with useless items they’re still attached to but don’t use.
6. Take the garbage off your desk
A busy desk filled with documents, papers, your keys and everything else under the sun can lead to more procrastination. Your desk is your work and probably a relaxation space, so take the time to get it clean and organized to help keep your daily focus on track!
Once your desk is clean, have some rules in place so it doesn’t end up a mess again. Always put your items back where they belong, and avoid plopping things on the desk that don’t belong there.
7. Check your monthly bills and expenses
Watching your expenses is a very smart financial habit, and it can also help you prevent future clutter! Once you’ve got your financial records together, look at things you’re paying for but don’t use anymore, like a gym membership. Nix anything you’re not using.
Take a look at your spending habits, as you may be buying things you don’t need or use on a regular basis, but since it’s become a habit, you’re not that aware of it. Eliminate those impulse purchases to help keep clutter down and your bank balance up.
8. Stop getting souvenirs
Souvenirs are a big business, with people buying them wherever they visit. But most of them are worthless items you probably hardly ever notice, so take the time to clear them off your shelves and wherever else you’ve stored them. Try to resist the temptation of buying keepsakes on your next trip, too!
9. Up your quality game
Instead of going for lower quality products that don’t last because they are cheaper, try buying more high quality ones. Generally, low quality items won’t last as long as better product, and you’ll end up paying more in the long run because you’ll have to replace them over and over again.
This doesn’t mean you need to look at over-priced brands only. Just use your best judgment; when you’re buying electronics, for example, lower priced items that died early will often become part of your clutter problem later, so it’s worth it to pay more for the item that will last.
10. Lose time-wasting commitments
Learn what you can say “no” to. Saying no when you need to can really help you de-clutter your mind. Your time is valuable and you are the person who controls it, so you shouldn’t limit yourself because of excessive promises, commitments and responsibilities.
This doesn’t mean you have to treat other people poorly or say no all the time. Simply look at what you’re spending your time on and identify any time-wasting activities that don’t have any value for you. Replace those with things that are more meaningful.
11. Limit your goals
It’s great to have a lot of goals, but trying to tackle too many at once can kill your focus and drain your efforts. A long to-do list might seem like a great idea when you’re making it, but it can become overwhelming and add to your procrastination.
Look at your goals and identify the most important one right now. Work on that one only, putting the others aside until you’ve achieved the one you’ve decided on. When you’ve made that goal, work on the next one. By narrowing your focus, you’ll actually get more done and be less stressed out over what you need to do.
12. Clean your digital world
Digital de-cluttering is a must in today’s tech-driven world. If you don’t do it, you’ll be surrounded by distractions anytime you go online.
Keep your desktop as clear as possible, as you don’t need a ton of icons vying for your focus anytime you sit in front of the computer. Limit your bookmarks too, so you don’t end up with a list of potential distraction websites. With your phone, resist the urge to install every app you’re coming across. That slows down your device and presents potential distractions each time you have to use your phone.
When it comes to de-cluttering your life, be honest about what you can and can’t live without. You just may be surprised by how much you can clean out and what that can do to improve your state of mind!