Whether you are preparing to move into your new home in Florida and want to minimize what’s being packed and moved, or you’ve lived in your home for some time and it’s feeling a bit cluttered, you may be thinking it’s time to declutter and organize… but where to start? Read on for 10 tips to declutter your home, then put on your favorite tunes or podcast and get started!
- Before you start doing the physical work, do a little planning first. Take a quick walk around your Florida home, noting the areas that need the most work, whether it be entire rooms or specific spaces such as an entertainment center or overstuffed closet. Write down everything you would like to tackle, then rank the spaces based on priority. Is it more important to organize the attic space that frustrates you every time you’re trying to find (or put away) the holiday decorations, or would you rather declutter the closet you use every day? Once you’ve given every space a priority, set goals on when you’ll have it completed, being realistic about how long it’ll take and how much time you can devote to the task.
- Create a sorting system that will help you make decisions. We recommend sorting things into three groups – keep, toss, and store. Items you want to keep accessible will go into a keep box. Items in the toss box will be either donated, sold, or trashed/recycled. Items that you decide to store go in the last stack, and can later be sorted, put into plastic bins, labeled, and put in an out of the way space for safekeeping.
- As you sort your items, be realistic about what you need to keep and what you can reasonably get rid of. This can be the hardest part, but once the task is complete, it will be worth it! Ask yourself when was the last time the item was used? Does it work? Is it irreplaceable, valuable, or sentimental? And, in the words of Marie Kondo, “Does it bring you joy?” If the answer to these questions is no, consider getting rid of it. And remember – getting rid of it doesn’t have to mean trashing it! You may be able to recycle, donate, or even sell it. Consider your options as you’re considering whether to keep an item – knowing it won’t wind up in the trash or that you could make money from it, may make it easier to part with it.
- If you are still feeling uncertain how to start or feeling as though you don’t have enough time to devote to serious decluttering right now, set aside just 10 minutes a day to do a simple decluttering task. Each day, take care of a simple task such as clearing mail or other clutter that piles up on the counter. Glance in one closet, drawer, or cabinet per day and remove at least one or two items that can be gotten rid of. Make a visual sweep of one room to find garbage or items to donate or sell. This short daily clean-up will give you the psychological benefits of decluttering, and make it easier to do a serious decluttering when the time is available to you.
- If closets are one of the spaces you struggle with decluttering, you’re not alone! We all find excuses to keep clothes, shoes, and accessories we haven't worn in forever but “There may be an occasion one day where I need that,” “I will definitely fit into that by next summer,” or “That dress was really expensive!” Use this simple trick to help be realistic about what you need, and what you don’t. Turn all your hangers backward in your closet. Over the next 3 – 12 months, each time you wear an item and rehang it in your closet, turn the hangers the correct way. At the end of a season or year, take inventory of what you’ve worn (what hangers are facing the correct direction), and what you haven’t. Be serious about whether you really have a need for any of the items that haven’t been worn in all that time.
- Sometimes, all the tips and tricks you can find aren’t enough to help you make decisions on parting with belongings. Consider enlisting the help of a friend! In exchange for dinner or splitting a bottle of wine, ask someone who is emotionally unattached to the objects in your home to come and help. Make sure you ask someone you know will be honest with you and encourage you to be realistic about what you need, and what you don’t.
- Don’t forget to think about organization as you declutter. Have a plan for the items you are keeping and think through where each item should go. Where will you use it most? Where are other like items kept? Part of ensuring that your clean up doesn’t become clutter again is giving everything a proper place so that it is always there when you need it, and you always know where to put it when you’re done with it.
- While you declutter and decide where each item you are keeping will go in your home, consider what you may need to help stay organized and prevent future re-clutter. Do you need baskets or dividers to keep items sorted in linen closets or cabinets? Can you incorporate storage into any existing furniture, or can you add furniture that doubles as storage space such as a storage ottoman, a buffet in your dining room, or storage cubbies in your home office or kids’ room?
- As you’re winding down your decluttering project, look beyond the expected for ways you can make your home feel cleaner, more organized, and clutter-free. Are cords exposed from electronics and appliances? Find ways to hide them or at least use cord clips to keep them contained. Do you find that one counter or table consistently becomes piled with junk that gets dropped when you walk in the door? Create a space to "drop" and hide such items, whether that's a built-in drop zone by your entry door, or a simple basket to contain items like keys, sunglasses, and mail. Is your kitchen counter overwhelmed with frequently used ingredients that can't be put in a cabinet or drawer? Contain olive oils, vinegar, flour, sugar, etc. in a set of decorative containers so the look is cohesive and elevated instead of a mishmash of grocery store bottles.
- Last but not least, once you’ve decluttered your home, don’t let the items you plan to sell, donate, trash, or recycle hang around! Plan a day when your errands or commute can take you by donation, garbage, and recycling locations. If you plan to sell any items, decide whether it’ll be through a yard sale, online, or at a store that purchases items such as gently used clothing. Once you’ve decided what you’ll do, block time out on your calendar to make it happen. Completing these final tasks will allow you to truly wipe your hands of the decluttering process and sit back and enjoy a job well done!
Let us know what tips worked best for you, or if you have other tips to add by sharing photos of your decluttered space on Instagram and tagging us at @highlandhomesfl or use the hashtag #HighlandHomesFL. And, for more tips and tricks to assist you throughout your decluttering process and keeping a neat and organized Florida home, visit our ‘Organize It’ board on Pinterest.
At Highland Homes, we build Florida new homes in sought-after locations including Ocala, metro Orlando, Tampa Bay, Lakeland-Winter Haven, and Bradenton-Sarasota. For more information about our new homes in Florida, contact our Florida New Home Specialists by calling or texting 863-797-4999, and visit us online at www.HighlandHomes.org.
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