You’ve pushed it off time and time again. And now, you struggle to locate the remote to the TV. At first, you were excited about the wide, open spaces in your home. After a while, though, even the biggest rooms can accumulate clutter and feel closed in. For something more routine, you can hire a cleaning service in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia to help with scrubbing, dusting, and vacuuming. Yet when it comes to decluttering your home, you have to be a bit more diligent. 

Reducing and organizing the amount of stuff you have is more than just filling up a trash can. In fact, there are many benefits to decluttering. Taking it down a notch clears your mind, lessens stress and anxiety, and helps you to put your scattered thoughts in order. During the process, you might even find a lost treasure or two!

Here are a few ways to get started.

SEPARATE INTO 5 BINS

Start with five baskets, bins or cardboard boxes to separate things that are lying around. Set up the bins before you start to go through mounds of stuff. Mark the with five tags:

  1. Put away: for things that have been used but not put back in their rightful place.
  2. Fix it: for items that you still want to keep but need to be revitalized by way of mending or fixing.
  3. Recyclable: In here goes stuff you can toss into a recycling bin, such as glass and plastic. 
  4. Trash: You know what garbage is. Don’t get sentimental about it, toss it.
  5. Donations: not the same thing as trash. These items should be usable for an organization or people in need.

THE BATHROOM

Do you really need outdated medicines, crusty skincare products, and unused makeup? Toss them. Store the things you use most at eye level on shelves and the medicine cabinet. Separate the items in drawers and on shelves. Keep what you use and put the rest in one of the five organizational baskets.

THE BEDROOM

Decluttering a bedroom starts with making the bed. If you’re not in the habit of doing this every day, think of how refreshing it would be to climb into a neat bed every night! It’s a wonderful way to unwind after a long day. 

Empty nightstand drawers of anything that doesn’t belong there. Sleep masks and late-night reading materials can stay. Remove the clutter that you don’t need at an arm’s reach in bed. Do you need a collection of pens, empty tissue boxes, and chargers from old phones that you’re no longer using? Probably not. Throw them away. 

Go through dressers, chests, and chifforobes — yes, it’s hard to get rid of clothes, especially when you only wear certain things once or twice a year. Hang up or fold clothes that need it, and put it in the put-away basket. Add clothing to the donation box. You can always change your mind before carting the items away. If something needs cleaning or repairing, place it in the fix-it box.

ENTRYWAY/FOYER

Dumping stuff as soon as you get home is a classic move to clutter. It takes a dedicated mindset — and about 15 minutes a week — to go through items and put them in their proper places. Hang up coats, put boots in the hall closet and place backpacks in a cubbyhole. You can buy a hall tree or a wall hook shelf to place personal items on. 

KITCHEN AND LIVING ROOMS

When it comes to decluttering any room in the home, the kitchen poses the most challenges. If you’re not a cook but you have what seems like a zillion gadgets, sort them and get rid of what you never use. Focus on one drawer at a time. Travel mugs, plastic cups, and take-out containers all seem to accumulate and end up in the pantry. Donate and recycle plastic utensils and all the things you’ve kept but really don’t need.  

Living rooms are magnets for clutter, so you really have to be earnest when it comes to keeping order. Create permanent storage places for remote controls, books, and magazines. Go through the drawers on coffee tables and bookcases. Clear off desks. Separate items into the five bins and create another for action-items, such as mail and bills. 

OUTDOORS

For small yards or balconies, you can grow plants in containers to keep the area less cluttered. Tools can be dangerous if not stored properly, so wrap metal blades in old towels or canvas. Hang a pegboard to store gardening implements. Discard those old shears and clippers or donate them to a resale shop.

Decluttering is best when average temperatures in the Washington, D.C., area are mid-range. This way, extreme heat or cold weather won’t affect your reasoning when it comes to saying goodbye to things you don’t use or want anymore. Cleaning out closets and other storage spaces like the attic or basement can take an afternoon or two but will keep you on top of it in the long run. The less useless stuff you have, the more control you will have over your own life.

Rachael E. Thomas flips houses whenever she can find an ugly duckling at the right price in a good neighborhood. The rest of the time, she writes about home and landscaping trends and DIY issues.

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