How to declutter your home

How to declutter your home

Too much stuff in your home looks messy, but it also brings your home value down when it comes time to sell. One of the tried and true methods for getting your home value up is to simply declutter your home. Less stuff means that rooms look bigger and your home looks better cared for. Best of all, decluttering your home is free if you do it yourself, and it doesn’t have to be hard. Here’s how to declutter your home.

1. Make a list of priorities 

It’s too overwhelming to take on the task of decluttering if you don’t break it down into priorities. List out the rooms that you want to declutter in order of priority and set a realistic timeframe to tackle the job. How about one room per weekend? Or, one room a month? Whatever fits your schedule, start with the room that you have the most pressing need first. Maybe you are a decluttering machine on a mission and want to do it all in one weekend? Go for it!

2. The three-container method 

I don’t know if you have this problem, but whenever I’m sorting something, say, my mail, I make one pile for trash and one for keeping and I sometimes get them mixed up! Then, I’m digging through the trash pile to find that nice card from Uncle LaVerne and it drives me crazy.

How to declutter your home best is to get three containers, and even label them if you need to, so you don’t even have to think about it. The first container is for keeping, the second is for giving away, and the third is for trash.

If you have large items that won’t fit in containers but you want to keep track of which pile it goes in, get yourself some painter’s tape and just write “trash” or “donate” on a piece and stick it on the item. That way, you won’t get confused.

Have a significant other involved? Things can get even trickier. Having containers lets you move quickly but also allow for reallocation if your partner disagrees with your categorization!

You can add a fourth container or category for things you want to sell instead. There are a lot of other methods for selling items than just Craigslist today. You can snap pictures and post to places like Facebook which has online local groups where you can post items for sale, OfferUp which is an app, NextDoor, and of course, eBay.

How to declutter your homePhoto by Nicolas De Camaret, John Pawson house

3. Decide on your end goal

It can be hard to know when to stop decluttering (!) or when you should simply keep going. I know I have this problem. I have some shoes I swear will come back in style but haven’t in, oh, 10 years or so. I’m a little gun-shy because I once threw out a nice pair of high heeled, round toed loafers and wouldn’t you know it? They were back in style the next year.

Being clear on your goal is important to knowing when to stop decluttering. Do you want zero mess in the home and all surfaces clean? Do you want to reduce the amount of stuff you have altogether? Do you want to live more simply? These are all slightly different goals that will dictate when you say, “I’m done!”.

Other resources

There are many resources on decluttering these days. Decluttering is the new black! Minimalism is the new consumerism! Here’s a resource from Oprah Turn your home into a financial powerhouseon a method to declutter your closet that involves turning hangers around so you can see easily what you aren’t wearing. And here’s one of the more radical (and popular) books about decluttering if you want to kick it up a notch, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. 

Also, you might want to consider a professional organizer to really polish things up and get your space super efficient. Here are Tips from a professional organizer, and you can read about my own experience: My adventure with a professional organizer.

Do you want to learn more about how to make your home a financial success, including other ways to increase home value? Read about our new book: Avoid the Money Pit, Turn your Home into a Financial Powerhouse. It’s available now in both digital and print copies and takes you through everything you need to know about making your home a financial success in the short and long term, without getting taken advantage of.