Last summer I became so entirely fed up with the state of our “stuff” that I proclaimed it the #SummerToDeclutter… and I know many of you felt the same way. Something about summer’s longer days and more freedom in our schedules makes it perfect for decluttering and organizing our homes before we settle back in to hibernate this fall. Since our house is once again feeling too full of outgrown clothing, toys, papers, and other detritus from life I’m hereby declaring this the Second Annual Summer to Declutter— and I hope you’ll come along with me!
It’s a myth to say the act of decluttering is a “One and Done” type deal. The truth is life moves on, we go through seasons, “things” accumulate and move in and out of our homes. The need to declutter a second year in a row isn’t a failure, it’s actually a success! It’s time to do again what we did so well last year. However, there’s several tricks to setting you up for decluttering success and I’m letting you in on those secrets today to make the most of your efforts. After all, summer awaits… so here’s how to MAXIMIZE your time, MINIMIZE your clutter (and even have room for tons of summer fun as well. Imagine that.) 😉
Large Plastic Bins with Lids
Signs for Bins (Save, Donate, Sell, Consign, etc)
Trash Bags (white bags are good for writing on)
Expandable File Folders (to organize papers as you find them)
Printable Decluttering Calendars (see below)
Camera Phone, so you can tag your decluttering photos with #SummerToDeclutter (holla!)
5 Tips for Decluttering Success
1. Stop “stuff” at it’s source.
This is my biggest issue. As a thrift store stalker and serial decorator, “stuff” comes in the door way more often than it goes out. I know this is our biggest issue, and summer is a great time to declare a “FREEZE” on buying and spending. Unless I absolutely need it, I’m not buying it right now. No trips to the Dollar Store or strolling through thrift stores while waiting to pick up my kids. No more books and toys unless they’re from the library. And– GASP– I’m not allowing myself to start ANY new projects until I finish the 2 dozen or so in line right now. Those few things alone should STOP the clutter at it’s source and allow some breathing room to get rid of what we already have.
2. Start with your landing place.
What do you plan to do with items you are saving? Are you planning a yard sale, or is everything getting donated? Knowing where your clutter will END UP is a huge part of the plan. If you are tossing quite a bit of stuff, you may want to rent a dumpster. At the very least, I know I need to make sure our trash and recycling bins are empty and ready to go. Lastly, we might try to have another yard sale this year since our last one was successful. Making sure I have a clean landing spot in our basement is the only way I’ll allow myself to keep it– neatly boxed up, ready to sell.
3. Make a plan that works with your schedule.
I’ve created printable decluttering calendars for June, July and August for you to write which areas you plan to declutter, and when. I’ve kept them undated so you can use them each summer. Work your decluttering around vacations, busy times, and holidays. If you plan to have a yard sale, I’d declutter rooms with the highest chance for saleable goods first (playroom, garage, kids’ closets) and save the rooms most likely to produce trash (bathrooms and offices) for last.
There’s 12 weeks left in summer, and 12 areas I need to declutter. No need to rush, there’s plenty of time to mosey on through the list. Here they are, add them to your printable calendar in the order that works best for you:
- Master Bedroom
- Kids’ Rooms
- Guest Room
- Living Room
- Dining Room
- Closets: coat closet, linen closet, etc.
4. Label bins and bags to collect items as you go. The general rule of thumb is to have a place for trash (trash can), donate (I use white trash bags for clothing and cardboard boxes for the rest), sell (these go in cardboard boxes or plastic bins), and consign at kids’ consignment sales (plastic bins). I also have a spot for hand-me-downs too. Honestly, I don’t have a ‘save’ bin– I try to put the items to save in the place they belong as they go, otherwise I’ll just end up with more boxes of clutter to sort– YUCK!
5. Donate and dispose of stuff as you go– don’t wait!
Having clutter that’s ready to donate sitting in your house is as bad as if you’d never decluttered in the first place. I try to drop off at the thrift store every two weeks so it doesn’t build up in my house. Yes, it’s an extra trip but it feels SO GOOD when it’s gone! You can also Freecycle the items, sell them online or on Craigslist or a Facebook Yard Sale group… but whatever you do, make sure it gets DONE. 😉 You’ll feel great!
6. Above all, remember this mantra and the stuff with practically sort itself:
A few more helpful decluttering posts:
Here’s 5 quick clutter busters if you’re raring to go!
One of my most popular posts ever (that I hope will help you make tons of money): How to Have a Wildly Successful Yard Sale
How to Make BIG BUCKS Selling at Consignment Sales (plus the ultimate consignment toolkit)
Last year’s Summer to Declutter post (see why I needed it!)
6 Secrets for Closet Organization— quick tips on how to organize your closets in a jiffy
I’ll be sharing posts every few weeks on various areas of my home and showing you the good, the bad, and the CLUTTER-y. Not sure I’m ready to put it all out there, but it’s time. Hold me.
As you declutter, use the #SummertoDeclutter hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. Feel free to share your successes (and, hey, failures too) on our Facebook page. Let’s cheer each other on as we rid our homes of unused “stuff” and fill our hearts up instead! Good luck friends. Let’s do this!