The Zen Habits blog wrote up a great list of decluttering tips today. I particularly liked the “don’t allow stuff in the house in the first place” rule and “one in, two out” – ie if you bring home one new ‘thing’ make sure you get rid of two.
As someone who’s about to move house, I’m in the process of doing a big cull of stuff I don’t need. Here’s a couple of my tips for decluttering.
1. Put a big cardboard box near your front door, and when you find good/useful stuff in the house that you don’t need but don’t want to throw out, put it in the box. When your friends come over, invite them to check out what’s in the box and take whatever they’d use. Explain that they’re doing you a favour by helping you get rid of stuff, then they won’t feel shy about helping themselves. If after a while the box of stuff is still sitting there, donate it to a charity shop.
2. If you have a personal blog, post a list of the items you want to get rid of, and invite your friends to come by and take them away. You could also email this kind of list to your friends. This works really well when culling a book collection!
3. One big decluttering challenge is when you live with a packrat. You know, the “I might need this someday” or “it’s too good to get rid of” types. (I have these tendencies myself, so I know!). My advice for helping a packrat declutter is make sure they feel in control of the process. If you lay down an ultimatum, you can make them feel like you don’t respect or value their possessions, and make them defensive about getting rid of stuff. That doesn’t help. Try suggesting positive ideas, and leading by example – ie, saying “I’m going to go through my clothes and get rid of the things that are old or don’t fit anymore. If you’re interested I’ll help you do your wardrobe too.” Or suggest charities or friends you know would appreciate and use their old items – so they feel that the items they’re getting rid of are going to be useful to someone.
Do you have any tips on how to declutter? Leave them in comments please!
15 Great Decluttering Tips [Zen Habits]