How Much Clutter Can You Get Rid Of This Month?

Example of desk clutter with haphazardly arranged, overstuffed file folders in a rack on a messy desk in a cluttered room. Canon EOS 5DIII, 35mm

The hardest part of decluttering your home or office is starting! The thought of it might be overwhelming. Or you do start and then realize how much there is to go through and decide to put it off until another day. Why not try an easier approach? Instead of treating it like a marathon, treat it like a sprint. You’re still going to get to the finish line plus it will become an ingrained habit which will make it second nature after a while.

Here’s how to do it:

Make a simple list of 30 items (one for each day). Start simple to increase momentum. For example:

Day 1: Go through your linen closet. Remove any linens that you don’t need or like. Put any frayed or stained towels or wash cloths aside. There might be items that you no longer use such as pillowcases and sheets. Maybe you bought a larger bed and the old bed linens just don’t fit anymore but are still in your closet. Old towels can be cut up for cleaning rags or donated to animal shelters. Sheets in good condition can be donated. If the whole linen closet is too overwhelming, just do towels today and sheets tomorrow.

Day 2: Go through your medicine cabinet and throw out expired medications (Check with a pharmacy on how to safely dispose of prescription medications. Many will dispose of them for you). Also get rid of over-the-counter medicines that you no longer need.

Day 3: At the office, use some hanging file folders to organize papers that sit in piles on your desk but won’t be needed for a while. Label folders as ‘Urgent’, ‘Need Further Action’, or ‘Notes and Ideas’. That way those important notes you write to yourself will be available but not scattered all over your desk.

Day 4: At the office, just go through the pens, highlighters, etc. and see if they work. If not, toss them. At home, have the kids do the same with their markers. All the dried out ones get tossed.

Day 5: Give away things that just didn’t work out. Those jeans that just never fit right or that bed comforter you have folded up in the closet that just really never looked right. How about that spare tool that you have 2 or 3 of because your garage was so cluttered that you forgot you had one and bought another one!

That is the general idea. Your home or office didn’t get cluttered quickly so no need to stress yourself out trying to do it all at once. If any one part is too overwhelming, just break it up into more than one day or put ‘Part 2’ on next month’s list. It will be such a relief when those piles start going down! Once you start, you’ll find more things to add to the list or to next month’s list.

Clutter tends to accumulate quickly so some daily attention to it will keep it at bay. You might even find something that you forgot you had that you now need!