Figuring out where to start decluttering a jam-packed room can be intimidating. Leo Babauta of the blog Zen Habits has put together a step-by-step guide to help you declutter a room in a single sweep. His first and most important step is to establish a working space. He uses the example of a clean bed in the middle of a bedroom—I frequently use a card table in rooms without a large and bare surface. From there you empty one drawer, shelf, or surface at a time onto the working space and assess the clutter:
Sort the pile into two piles: 1) what you use regularly and love, and 2) what you’re going to get rid of. Pick up one item at a time and make an instant decision – when was the last time you used this? If you haven’t used it in a few months (6 months at the longest), get rid of it. This excludes seasonal stuff like winter jackets or what have you.
Making a decision the moment you pick something up greatly cuts down the chances you’ll come up with some excuse for keeping it. If you’re having trouble deciding if something should fall in the keep or discard pile, a look over some tough questions to help you declutter can provide a framework to help you place a value on your things. If you’re getting rid of things that have a market value—but just not to you—and aren’t quite donation-worthy, consider selling them to create a Stuff Replacement Fund so you have extra cash handy to replace or repair the useful things you keep. If you have a master decluttering strategy, sound off in the comments below. Photo by Annahape Gallery.