Six short, easy steps to becoming a decluttering warrior

By Randal Walton

Life. It goes by in a flurry of overwhelming workloads, rowdy playtimes, and culinary adventures. It also comes with mountains of paperwork, toys spread out from room-to-room, and baking experiments gone wrong. Basically, we all have a lot of stuff.

Marie Kondo sparked an organizing frenzy with her book and Netflix series. Clea and Joanna from “The Home Edit” use color to bring life to an organized home. But…where to start with all that stuff?

1. Stop thinking, “I’ll (use/wear/need/etc.) this one day.”

As you sort through your collection, ask yourself this question: When’s the last time I used this? If the answer is over a month ago, get rid of it. When you keep things around that you don’t use, you forget about them until your next decluttering session. Break the cycle and get rid of unused things by donating them to Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, or your local church.

2. Invest in a paper shredder.

Spam mail is still a thing. You signed up for one free trial of Hello Fresh, and they keep sending you offers in the mail every month. First things first: call them and get yourself taken off their mailing list. That eliminates paper waste immediately. A paper shredder is a useful tool to get rid of all the mail you don’t want clogging up your desk or dining room table. Make a habit of opening all of your mail at the end of the day. Keep the mail you need in a file organizer or file pocket. Then, shred the rest. Make sure to check your file folder once a month (I recommend the end of the month) and shred the documents you no longer need.

This goes for packages, too! Open all of your packages immediately instead of setting them aside. Break down the boxes and set the in the recycling bin. (Tip: make sure to remove your address label from them to prevent identity theft.)

3. Utilize containers and a label maker for shelving. Sort your shelves by least to most used items

Yes, this may sound like your first-grade teacher’s classroom, but this small step can make your life so much easier. It’s important that everything has its place. For example, take your pantry. Chances are, your pantry already has shelves and those shelves are packed with all of your food items. How often are you searching for ingredients when you cook? Do you have to take out half of a shelf just to reach what you’re looking for all the way in back? By placing items in clear containers and labeling them, you can find things more easily without shifting shelves every time. Also, packaging can take up a lot of room and you’ll find your storage areas to be roomier than you previously thought without them.

Place things you rarely use on higher shelves. Commonly used items should be placed between eye and chest level for easy retrieval.

4. Make use of every square inch of storage space.

Think under-the-bed-storage containers, behind the closet door shoe organizers, and coat hooks. Consider storage furniture like ottomans that keeps clutter out of sight. This is especially important in small spaces, as a lack of storage space is an especially common issue. Make special use of vertical options, such as bookcases, shelving units, or rods because these add more square footage for your everyday essentials. Even floating shelves are great options and are a great way to show off some of your favorite décor!

5. Look at your home from the point of view of a visitor.

We’re surrounded by our things every day. We become used to stack of clothes in the hamper or the mail haphazardly thrown on the kitchen counter. Take a step back. Look at your home as if you’re entering it for the first time. What do you see? If this was someone else’s home, how would you feel seeing the clutter? This can give you a new perspective on how others --- and you – view your home and just may give you the motivation to get started.

6. Decluttering may take time, so be patient with yourself.

Decluttering and organizing may be overwhelming, but don’t worry. Take it one room at a time. Start with getting rid of the things you no longer need or use and then take inventory of what you have left. Plan on what you want to put in containers or which storage systems will work well in the spaces. Have fun when you’re organizing! Put on some music, light a candle, or binge The Great British Baking Show. And, most importantly, stick to it. You can do this!

Lastly, if you need assistance organizing your home, call/text Dragonfly Homes at 704.301.7502 or email We are always here to help!


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