7 Simple Decluttering Tactics

clean desk
Over the last three decades, as cheap Chinese imports have lowered prices on everything from clothes to toys, and American homes have grown in size, there seems to have been no end to accumulating. Now, in a world both real and virtual that is cluttered with books and emails, we’re all trying to dig out.

Truth be told, clutter and how to eliminate it has become an obsession for many. This “cult” of decluttering is growing rapidly as the why, and the how to, are being debated and promoted all across the web. Intended to free us from distraction, a kind of “mindfulness” for the home – some might argue that decluttering itself has quickly becomes its own distraction.

Here are 7 easy ways to begin the process of simplifying your life by decluttering:

  1. One step at a time – Keep it simple. Don’t try to take on too much at one time. Avoid being quickly overwhelmed and discouraged by taking a logical approach. Start with the obvious and the easy – the so-called low hanging fruit. For some this could be a particular closet, or room. For others, eliminating a collection of old magazines, books or records might do the trick. Making a good start will help you build some momentum.
  2. Have a strategy – Divide and conquer and consider your approach carefully. It could be room by room, or category by category. It could also be by final resting place. In other words, trash, recycling, yard sale, etc. Having a strategy will not only make decluttering more manageable, it will allow you to stop when a room or category is completed.
  3. Recycle – So many communities now support the recycling of a wide range of items – including electronics and old appliances, both of which used to be very difficult to dispose of.
  4. Give it away – Salvation Army, Big Sisters, Goodwill, are always looking for clothes, appliances and other items that are in good shape. Many of these agencies will even come to your home to pick your items up.
  5. Sell it – Craigslist and eBay are great places to market items you’d like to sell. Craigslist is great for local sales and larger items that you want to ship. eBay is best for smaller items, electronics and collectibles.
  6. Keep it manageable – Now that you have a strategy, make sure you have what you need to get the job done. Whether you’re going drawer by drawer or room by room, break the work into sizable and doable chunks so that when you’re done you feel like you’ve accomplished something as opposed to leaving a huge mess that will only discourage you.
  7. Think before you buy – Perhaps the best strategy to avoid clutter is to avoid acquisition. This isn’t easy. It seems that for many of us, our youth is spent acquiring. As we get older we tend to want to free ourselves from our possessions. Consider the format for your purchases. With so many consumer items moving to the digital world, such as books, DVD’s, music, you now have the option to store your library or music collection online instead of in your living room.

Jeff Sheldon

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