Tips to Purge and Declutter your Home
An alternative post title could be…Casey’s Plan to Purge ALL THE THINGS! Yes, I’m a woman on a mission to remove all of the unwanted and unnecessary stuff in our home.
I actually consider myself to be reaaaallly good at giving items away. Finn and I each use this method to keep our closets in tip-top shape (if you don’t do this already…trust me, it’s a game-changer). And I take a trunk full of items to the Salvation Army on a regular basis. Finn even jokes that one of these days he is going to wake up in a box headed to Goodwill because I want to purge all the things in our house and someday he just might be one of them. Ha!
But even though I’m pretty good at decluttering, I still have the urge to purge. It all started when we were in the midst of our bathroom renovation and there was literally crap everywhere in our house. DIY supplies, random tools, bathroom accessories…all over the place! I remember looking around and thinking that when this project was over, I was going to take time to get rid of any unnecessary stuff in our lives. The amount of stuff was cluttering up our home and our minds and I looked forward to the day when I could pare things down.
That day has come, and over the past few weeks, I’ve been working my way through each cabinet, cupboard, closet, and drawer in our household. As I mentioned earlier in the week, a few of my 2018 home goals revolved around paring down and organizing our home. I still have a few months left to tackle this to-do, and purging is the first step.
My Tips to Purge and Declutter Your Home
While I have no plans to move into a tiny home and live a fully minimal lifestyle, I do feel like I’ve learned a few decluttering tips over the years. In fact, Bridget and I even wrote a post about 6 tips to stay organized in a small home. When you live in small spaces, you’ve got to be scrappy and ruthless with your stuff. So here are my tips to declutter your home…
Know your Pain Points
If you told me to go donate 10 pieces of clothing from my wardrobe, I could do it in a hot second. But ask me to part with 10 home accessories and it’s a whole different story. While I have no attachment to clothes, home decor is a category that I struggle with when it comes to paring down.
I always think that I might need a random plant or vase to style something for the blog. Or maybe I’ll want to display it in another spot in our home. So I’ve kept random items on my built-ins that I don’t love and even filled a cabinet below with accessories “just in case.”
But during this most recent cleanout, I kept reminding myself that even though this category is a tough one, it’s time to part ways with old home decor. So in order to prioritize what stayed and what went, I brought all of my home accessories into one area in our house. This brings me to…
Take It All Out
When purging our home decor, I took everything off our built-ins. This was actually good because I needed to dust the shelves well anyways (yikes, those top shelves get dusty!). I also went into our other rooms and grabbed accessories that I had tucked away in closets and cabinets (I swear, I’m not a home decor hoarder). I then brought it all into one space so I could visualize every piece I had. Seeing it all together made me realize how much extra stuff I had.
Did I really need that many books? Did I really need that many vases? Heck, no.
So, I slowly looked at each item and added things back onto my shelves and into my rooms that I truly loved. Lots of sentimental items made the cut, but random decor from HomeGoods and books I had no intention of ever reading were the first in the giveaway pile.
No matter what category you’re working on, be sure to gather all of the items together in one spot before deciding what to purge. Visually seeing it all together makes a big difference and makes you more likely to cut excess stuff when you declutter your home.
Order Replacements Right Away
Does anyone else have 42 million cups in their house? Seriously, where do all of these mugs/glasses/cups come from? I could use a different cup every day for 3 months and still not go thirsty. But the worst part is, nothing matches and so many of our cups we never ever used.
So I got allllll of the cups out of the kitchen cabinet and put them on our island and dining room table. I then discarded the ones we don’t need (looking at you random beer glasses from college) and took note of the ones I wanted to keep.
I then counted how many matching glasses we had for the keepers. Of the ones that we use every day, we only had 3 in that style! At some point, we had 8 (from our wedding registry), but over the years some have disappeared and others have broken. So I immediately went online and ordered replacements for those missing cups so we can have some complete sets in our household.
Now opening up our glassware cabinet will be a tad less stressful and more streamlined! It felt like the perfect reward for all of the hard work and time spent purging our kitchen.
Donate (or Sell) Immediately!
On this particular decluttering day, I tackled both the family room and the kitchen. By the end, I had a heaping pile ready to donate. Instead of letting that pile hang around for a few extra days (which might give me time to second guess my firm decisions), I loaded up the car and headed to the Salvation Army immediately.
Dropping off that large load of stuff was the best feeling ever and I returned home feeling lighter and happier. Isn’t it amazing how a little decluttering can lift your spirit? Not to mention, my items would then go on to bring joy to another person. #winwin
General Organization Rules We Follow
Here are other ways Finn and I keep our household clutter-free and as organized as possible.
- One thing in and one thing out: If I’m buying a new pair of shoes, I better be getting rid of an old ratty pair to make room.
- Give every item a place to call home: Everything in your house needs a designated spot. When you’re done using it, put it back where it belongs!
- Don’t wait for “someday”: It’s easy to hold onto items because you believe you may need it someday. Well, that day isn’t today and it’s taking up extra space in your home and your mind. Ditch it.
- Always have a donation pile: I dive deeper into this idea in this post, but we always keep a donation bag in our house so you can toss items in there continuously.
- Make regular trips to donate: Luckily, our Salvation Army is right by our grocery store, so it’s easy for me to swing by and drop things off. I always keep a bag for donation in our trunk and I have to drop it off before I can fill our trunk with groceries. This forces me to donate items often.
I’m still in the midst of our entire home purge, but tackling the kitchen and home decor was a BIG item on my to-do list. I’ll keep you guys updated on how the rest of the process goes. Then, once I’m left with only the items we truly love…I’m going to do a lot of organizing around here. Can’t wait…
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.