If you’re like me, I hate wasting huge amounts of time looking for things that should be easy to find. Sifting through junk zaps my energy and is down right frustrating. So, as many people put their bodies on a diet this new year, I am putting my house on a diet!

Clutter, a.k.a junk, is anything you’re keeping around your house that doesn’t add value to your life. Decluttering is all about making room in your home for the things that matter.

According to Psychology Today, decluttering creates a sense of confidence and self-efficacy and reduces anxiety. You might be surprised how much stress a mess can cause.

Decluttering is pretty straightforward - you are removing unwanted items from an untidy or crowded space. But, a home is a really large space. So, tackle it one room at a time. Trying to declutter an entire home in the span of one afternoon is not realistic. Plan on spending one hour, once a week until the entire house has been decluttered.

As you determine what is junk and what is not, ask yourself the 3 happy home questions:

  1. Does it bring me joy?
  2. Do I have more than one?
  3. Is this easily replaceable or can I borrow it?

Here are some room specific tips to help you get going:

Kitchen

  • Don’t keep endless spares. Do you really need 12 mugs? Keep your favorites and get rid of extra wooden spoons, mixing bowls, cups, food containers, etc.
  • Think practical, not pretty. It is easy to get sucked into decorations for your kitchen counters. Stick to practical, useful tools – not pretty trinkets that take up needed workspace.
  • Your kitchen should work for you – place the items you use the most in the top drawers and on the most reachable shelves.
  • Remove things that don’t belong in your kitchen (books, toys, magazines, insect repellent). Relocate these items to their proper locations!
  • Make the most of the space in your pantry and under your sink. Cleaner caddies under the sink will organize your sponges and cleaners. Install towel racks on the inside door under your sink to get cloths off your counters. In your pantry get rid of expired food and items you will never eat. Organize foods in ‘like’ categories to avoid purchasing duplicates.

Laundry Room

  • Give the laundry room a good, deep cleaning.
  • Create a space for sorting and folding.
  • Consolidate laundry products. Put supplies in baskets and storage containers.

Closets

  • Purge your wardrobe. Do you love it? Do you wear it? Does it fit?
  • Hang or fold all clothes you are keeping. Use baskets & storage drawers to help you organize. Put shoes on a multi-level rack to save space.
  • Store special occasion items in a tote and put in the garage or basement.

Bathrooms

  • Only keep daily use items on your bathroom counter – toothpaste, hand soap, and toothbrushes.
  • Use a tray organizer in your drawers and baskets under your sink for supplies.
  • Check your medicines – throw away expired and unfinished prescriptions.

After you have separated your ‘need’ items from your ‘get rid of’ items, place the ‘get rid of’ items into three piles:

  • Toss/Recycle – Curbside or local recycle center.
  • Donate – Local thrift store or FreeCycle Facebook group.
  • Sell – Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
  • For Walla Walla Readers – Hope Heals
  • For Central Oregon Readers – Furnish Hope
Now that your clutter diet has brought you a huge sense of relief and accomplishment, make a plan to stick with it. Before you make any new purchases ask yourself the three happy home questions and your home is sure to stay junk free!