Decluttering is a little like losing weight. No matter how well you deal with your problem in the beginning, it will keep coming back unless you understand the concept of maintenance.
If you have gone through the process of decluttering your home and making it more minimalist and free of mess, here are some tips on how to keep it that way so that you never have to have another moment of panic as you view a home that looks like a bomb exploded there.
How To Get Started Decluttering Your Home
This step refers to simply keeping things the way they are. Start decluttering by tossing junk when you realize you don’t need it. Do this instead of stashing it in a pile that needs to be sorted over and over. Read your mail and immediately toss it, shred it, or deal with it. There is no excuse for papers to be lying all over the floor. Make it impossible to find them when you actually need them.
When you buy something from the store, put it where it is going to be kept immediately. Don’t just set bags on the floor and table. After the laundry comes out of the dryer, fold it and put it away immediately. When you have five spare minutes, use it to tidy and clean up anything lying around. This is how you keep any huge messes from forming again.
In addition to your regular maintenance, it is important to be decluttering on a regular basis. You can decide to have a serious decluttering day every three months, every six months, or just whenever your home starts looking “full”. Make it a planned commitment and tidy your home from top to bottom. This gives yourself another clean slate to work with.
Stop Buying Unnecessary Things
One of the biggest ways you can stop clutter in its tracks is to stop buying unnecessary things. By only allowing what you need to enter your home, you will cut down on the number of items you need to clear out later. Before you buy an item, think about whether you really need it. Decide if it is something you will regret at a later point in time. One great way to avoid decluttering often is to limit what you bring in your home.
Get Everyone on Board
You can’t conquer clutter alone unless you live alone. If you are part of a family who lives together or has roommates of any kind, you will need to make everyone a part of the decluttering team. Talk to everyone about your wishes to maintain a junk-free haven. Talk about the many benefits of living in a more minimalist way than you have been. Let the other household members know that everyone’s efforts will benefit everyone else. Tell them that you expect cooperation and teamwork.
How to get Family on Board
Explain to your children that you wish to have an inviting home. Explain that they can invite their friends more often. Tell them that there will be more time for fun activities when everyone keeps on top of the cleaning duties. Remind them that decluttering old items leaves more room for new ones.
It’s not enough to simply demand that your partner and children help you clean without giving any explanation. Talking about why you want to start decluttering is important. This is because it will help keep motivation when the actual work begins to get tedious.
Get Everyone Involved
From young to old, there is something that can be done by everyone. Let the adults take care of any dangerous tasks, such as climbing the ladder to the attic to get more boxes. Give out the high-energy tasks to older children. Let your little ones sort through toys and pick out which ones they would like to keep and which ones they would prefer to toss. Decluttering can be done for all ages!
Leave Out Young Ones If Necessary
Although it’s nice to get the whole family involved, there will be times when it is necessary to remove your younger children. Especially if your decluttering duty is turning into a heartbreaking drama. If your toddlers and preschoolers are having a difficult time entertaining the idea of giving away any of their things, or if they are unpacking items faster than you can get rid of them, it’s time to call in special help.
See if it is possible for your young ones to go to Grandma’s for the day, or if you can swap childcare with a friend who is looking for a day off sometime in the near future.
Keep It Positive
The amount of enthusiasm you will receive from your family can be influenced by the manner in which you bring up the idea. Don’t start barking orders and making threats. You will immediately say goodbye to any happy family time you were hoping to experience in these moments. However, if you stay positive and remain consistently encouraging to each family member, you can all enjoy the process together. Decluttering doesn’t have to be tedious and boring.
You may not believe in bribes, but a little reward can go a long way. Let your kids know that when everyone has worked together and completed the task at hand, you will all go out for ice cream. Or if you are hosting a garage sale in hopes of selling some of your items, give a percentage of the proceeds to your children in payment for their assistance and cheerful attitudes.
Decluttering is a necessity when raising a family. Aim to declutter your entire home at least once a year, to make room for what the next one will bring in. With a little enthusiasm and a lot of team spirit, you can motivate your family to get on board with decluttering.
Annie Lewellyn is a blogger, writer and avid homesteader living out her days on 15 Acres in Central Florida. She cares for over 70 farm animals, grows her own fruits, vegetables, herbs, and berries on her homestead. She owns and operates 15 Acre Homestead, a site where she shares a wealth of homesteading information with her readers.
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