Sometimes you want to declutter your home to attract more house hunters searching for homes to buy, Other times, it’s part of your annual home spring cleaning project. Whatever the reason, decluttering is an essential part of creating a more orderly, peaceful environment for yourself and your family. 

Let these five simple tips for decluttering your home help you create order and beauty out of the chaos of the accumulated stuff of daily life. 

1. Make a Workable Plan

Before you lift a finger, set your decluttering priorities. Figure out which areas are most important to you, Generally, it’s usually simpler to focus on cleaning and decluttering one room at a time. You can use storage containers, laundry baskets, or even old Amazon boxes you’ve been meaning to take to the recycling center to sort and gather items that need to be relocated, whether to another room, a different storage area, or the trash bin. 

2. Schedule Your Decluttering Tasks

In the same vein, don’t try to tackle your whole home or apartment at once. Set aside several days to complete the project. As part of your planning process above, schedule time to address one area at a time. Spread it out over a few weekends or several days, and the job won’t seem so daunting that procrastination sets in. Even setting aside 30 minutes a day can keep you motivated and before you know it, the whole house is clutter-free. 

3. Decide in Advance What to Let Go Of

This is a hard one for a lot of folks. After all, what if you need that 1990’s-era box of old computer cables one day? (Trust us: You won’t.) (Probably.) Wander through the rooms of your home before you begin decluttering with a pad and pen or your phone’s Note app. Jot down things you see that you can safely dispose of, even if it’ll take a little extra courage to haul that bag to the trash. Good places to start:

  • Clothing that no longer fits the wearer or that’s been sitting in a “to be mended” pile for more than two seasons
  • Anything you haven’t worn or used in more than a year (exception: true family heirlooms and special occasion items like punch bowls or antique christening gowns)
  • Outdated paperwork and correspondence that you don’t need to hold on to by law (here’s a handy checklist from the FDIC) with the caveat that you’ll want to shred anything that contains sensitive or personal info such as a social security or credit card number
  • Food, drink, and medications that are past their expiration (make sure you dispose of medications safely)
  • Old cables, twist ties, takeout napkins and condiments, and basically most things you find in your junk drawer

4. Lighten Up

We mean this literally and metaphorically! Look for ways to help your home make the aesthetic and functional transition from winter to spring. Lighter throw blankets and pillows, more lightweight curtains and window treatments, and brighter lampshades and sconces can all help brighten up your home after a dreary (but hopefully cozy!) winter season. Consider swapping out heavy seasonal bed linens, too. Lighter fabrics like linen help your bedrooms bloom, too. 

5. Time to Take Out the Recycling

It’s not uncommon for recycling to pile up a bit during the cold, treacherous winter months. After all, who wants to cart a heavy box full of old jars down the icy sidewalk? If you’ve been storing boxes, glass, newspapers, and other recyclables in your garage or elsewhere, now’s the perfect time to set aside an afternoon to take them all to your local recycling center. 

Decluttering Makes Your Home Brighter

Whether you’re decluttering because you’re planning to sell your home and need a simple, fast way to stage it, or you’re cleaning and clearing your space for your own enjoyment, you’ll find that it takes time and energy, but brings huge rewards. Create a realistic plan and tackle your priorities first. You’ll be surprised how quickly it goes and how striking the results can be!