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Declutter your room: 5 easy steps

Author imageThe Mattress Warehouse

There is no worse feeling than the anxiety that builds up as your room slowly becomes more and more chaotic. We all need a good, thorough decluttering session every once in a while, but it can be so daunting. Where do you even start? Keep reading for 5 easy tips to declutter your room!

The Difference Between Cleaning and Decluttering

Cleaning signs

Before we get to the tips it is important to address a common misconception: decluttering is not the same thing as cleaning!

Don’t get me wrong, cleaning your room and putting everything away in the right place feels wonderful, however without decluttering the mess will inevitably come back! Cleaning requires moving the mess around in a more organised manner; with cleaning it’s all about containing the disorder.

Decluttering, on the other hand, removes the mess, as well as minimising a future potential mess. This requires getting rid of a lot of the things that are making your room busier than it needs to be.

Unfortunately, while it is physically challenging to go through the whole process of decluttering, the mental strain is much worse. Don’t expect to just be able to let go of some of the things you have held onto for years. When decluttering, you’ll have to practise mental resistance; be gentle with yourself, but remain firm. Allow yourself enough time to work through the process slowly and thoroughly. This will guarantee the best results.

5 Steps to Declutter Your Room

  • Take the mental first step
  • Strip the room
  • Three boxes
  • Ask the right questions
  • Get rid of things and rearrange what’s left

1. Take the Mental First Step:

Considering how much of a challenge decluttering is mental, it is vital to be in the right mindset.

First step

A cluttered room leads to a cluttered mind. It can make us feel anxious, helpless and overwhelmed. There are various reasons that clutter causes so much stress:

  • Our senses are overwhelmed by too much visual and tactile stimulation. Consequently, the excess stimulation causes our brains to overwork as it tries to process it.
  • It creates the impression that no matter how much we do, there will always be more work.
  • It distracts us from the things we should be focusing on instead.
  • It makes us feel guilty because we have this huge mess to sort out. Furthermore, it can cause embarrassment if someone comes to visit.
  • It takes away the empty space that is needed for creativity and productivity.
  • Finally, it creates frustration when you can’t find something that you’re looking for.

Now you might be asking why I am bombarding you with the detrimental effects of clutter, but rest assured, there is a method to my madness!

The first thing you need to do in order to declutter is to take the first mental step. You need to decide that it is something worth doing and find the motivation to embark on the journey that is decluttering.

Find motivation! Whether that means watching videos on minimalism or browsing Pinterest for room inspiration, find what works for you. Fall in love with the look and feel of clear space, and your desire to reach your goal will help you overcome the most difficult parts of letting go.

Whatever your reason, find it, stick to it, and most of all stay excited and just start!

2. Strip the Room:

Take it back to the basics and start from there.

Clutter

Strip your entire room without leaving anything behind. Put everything in a pile in the middle of your room.

When everything is out in the open, you can appreciate the multitude of things that you have. Furthermore, seeing the open space that is left behind will provide instant gratification and hope. Once your clutter is all in one place, the process of sorting it out can begin.

3. Three Boxes:

Grab three boxes and label them “Keep”, “Discard” and “Maybe”.

Box

Start on one side and methodically start sorting through all of your things and decide whether you want to keep it or get rid of it. Concentrate on what you need in life, and what is adding to it. Think about each item and decide whether it is worth keeping. Consider the questions in the next step to help you decide.

If you find yourself stuck on an item, place it in the Maybe Box.

4. Ask the Right Questions to Declutter:

This step deals with your Maybe Box. Sit with the box in front of you and go through all of the items again, asking yourself the following questions. If the answer is no to any of them, place the item in the Discard Box.

“Does it serve a purpose?”

You don’t want things that serve no purpose lying around your room; that is what decluttering is for! This question deals with the practical things; beds, lamps, bedding, rugs, etc.

Thinking about decluttering

Is the item something you use every day or does it just stand around and add to the clutter? You can also use this opportunity to get rid of old things that once served a purpose but has since lost its usefulness (an old vanity light that isn’t working, or a worn-out mattress). These can then be placed in the Discard Box and the hunt for their replacements can start.

Furthermore, feel free to visit the Mattress Warehouse for all of your bedding needs, should you want to replace any of your current items.

It might seem silly to question every tiny thing, but it can bring a sense of calm to your life knowing that everything in your space serves a purpose.

“Does it enrich my life?”

If it doesn’t serve a distinct purpose, ask yourself if it adds something valuable to your life.

Looking at photos to declutter

Is it something you look at every day and smile? Does it bring up happy memories? Did it once belong to your great-grandmother?

This gets rid of everything that you have “just because”, or because it’s “cute”.

Things that could fall into this category include books, photographs and decorations. When it comes to books, for example, it is essential to ask yourself if you will ever read it again. Is it a book that you have had for years and read over and over again, or is it a book that you’ve had for years but have never even read? Apply this type of thinking to other objects as well.

Remember that it is okay to hold on to things simply for sentimental value, but try to keep this to a minimum.

“Does someone else need it more?”

Sometimes it can be helpful to take a step back and gain perspective. Is the item something that you don’t really need but can enrich someone else’s life. Would it serve them more than it serves you?

Charity

This type of thinking can help us let go of things we would normally cling to for no reason and can make the whole decluttering experience more gratifying.

“Does it follow the six-month rule?”

The six-month rule is straightforward and easy to follow. Furthermore, it is an easy way to determine the worth of an item.

Hourglass

If an item hasn’t been used in the last six months, and won’t be used in the next six months, get rid of it.  It is that simple. No hassle, no fuss.

What About the Items That are Left in the Maybe Box?

These 4 questions can help you get rid of the things in your Maybe Box. However, if there are still things you are unsure about, place them in a cupboard for a month or two. After that time has passed, write down everything that you remember was in the box without opening it.

Anything that you forgot to mention is not important enough to keep. As for the rest, you should have had enough time to decide if you want it or not. Base your decision on whether you noticed the object’s absence during the time that you put it away.

5. Get Rid Of Things and Rearrange What’s Left:

This last step first focuses on your Discard Box.

Trash bags for decluttering

You have four options:

  • Throw Away
  • Recycle
  • Give Away
  • Donate

Get 4 trash bags and label them, then decide for each item what the best decision is. Some things simply have to be thrown away and can’t even be recycled. Others may be useful; if it could be useful to someone you know, give it to them, or donate it.

Once you have gotten rid of your Discard Box, move on to your Keep Box.

Find a place for every item and rearrange your room. This is the most rewarding part!

Marvel at everything you have achieved and enjoy your new, decluttered room! Appreciate the empty space and your clear mind.

We live in a world filled with anxiety and clutter, don’t let your room reflect that!

Breathe in, breathe out, and let it go. The process of decluttering is time-consuming, stressful, and even emotional, but it is such a gratifying experience!

If you want to declutter your child’s room next, click here for 10 steps to help with that.

Happy decluttering!

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