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April 01, 2024 | CREB

Declutter like a pro with these five tips

Decluttering is easier said than done. From lack of time to not knowing where to start, clearing things out for the upcoming season can feel like a hassle. But we got your back. By the end of this article, you’ll be ready for the challenge.

Pick a method that works best for you

Wondering whether you should throw away those leather pants you bought (but never wore) five years ago or give them a second chance?

Before clearing things out, it’s helpful to have a method that can support you in the decision-making process and make it easier to carefully choose what needs to be repaired, donated, sold, or thrown away.

Some popular methods include: 

  • The KonMari method: Lauded celebrity organizer Marie Kondo divides decluttering into five categories. She suggests you remove everything from your closets and drawers (category 1), all the books off your shelves (category 2), all the paperwork out of your desk and bins (category 3), miscellaneous items (category 4), and finally, sentimental items (category 5).

    Then, you must go item by item and consider if it sparks joy. You must finish one category before moving to the next one. Once you've tossed items in every category, you can return to various closets, drawers, shelves, and boxes. 

  • The 90/90 method: This method invites you to ask yourself: Have you used this item in the past 90 days? And if not, will you use it in the next 90 days? If the answer is still no, it’s time to say goodbye.

  • The 20/20 Rule: Remove items you can replace for $20 and under 20 minutes.

  • 80/20 Rule: According to this rule, we use 20% of our belongings 80% of the time. Therefore, you can either get rid of or store away the 80% you don't use regularly.

  • Five-Second Rule: As you sort through items, give yourself five seconds to remember the last time the item was used. If you can't remember within five seconds, it's time to get rid of it.

Create a list 

Now that you have a method for deciding what goes and what stays, we recommend writing a list of the areas in your home you’d like to declutter so no space is neglected.

You can prioritize and start with the problem areas (such as those filled with more stuff than they have space for) or with spaces that are easier to declutter, such as kitchen drawers.

Set a schedule

Dr. Regina Lark, organizing expert and author of "Psychic Debris, Crowded Closets,” told The Spruce that it’s helpful to set a timer for the exact amount of time it would take to clear up a specific zone.

Once the timer goes off, you can assess your progress and create realistic goals about how much time you will need to commit to each area.

Take it step by step

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t declutter your whole house in one day, either. To succeed at this, set small, achievable goals.

For example, you can aim to declutter your closet on the weekend or pick ten things you want to remove from your space daily and clear them out.

Make it fun

Life’s better when you’re having fun! And decluttering doesn’t have to be a dread. Consider playing some music while you are hard at work or listening to a podcast or audiobook.

You can also get support from your family members, divide the tasks, and even compete to see who clears more things at a specific time. Don’t forget to reward yourself later! 

As we mentioned before, when you go through different items, you’ll select which ones you want to keep, repair, sell, or donate.

If you’d like to make a few dollars and are thinking of selling clothes, many Calgary consignment shops accept pre-loved garments in good, quality conditions.

If you opt to donate, countless charitable organizations across the city accept all manner of gently used household goods, from clothing and books to electronics and furniture. Here are 20 organizations you can support with your donations.

Tagged: declutter

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