Need a Fresh Start? 4 Tips to Declutter Your Home

Your home is your pride and joy. It's the strongest reflection of who you are and what you represent. The problem is that you sometimes put too much of yourself in your home. Since everything is so personal, you dread giving up anything. When you do that, it's like throwing away a small piece of yourself. Still, it's time to admit the truth. You own too much stuff and need to get rid of some junk. Here are four tips on how to declutter your home.

Go Room by Room

The process of throwing out needless items in your home can feel daunting. That's why it's so important to divide the work evenly. The best approach is to attack one room per work period. That way, you'll have a clear stopping point or, at the very least, an understanding of when to take a break. The average American home has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, and a kitchen. Including the garage, that's a total of eight work areas to declutter. You can feel great about the process in knowing that every time you clean two rooms, you're another quarter of the way to a less crowded house.

clean organized kitchen countertop

Build Two Piles

The easiest method for decluttering your home is also the harshest. Pick the room in your home that makes you feel the most claustrophobic. Odds are good that it's the one that has too much junk. Now, look around the room and choose a handful of items that make you happy when you look at them. Consider those the baseline for the keeper pile. Anything you believe makes you appreciate the room more should go in this grouping.

The hard part is the other pile. When you look at an item and realize that it serves no purpose, its value is questionable. Use a second test to decide whether it's necessary. Does it make you feel better about the room or yourself when you look at it? If the answer to both of these questions is no, you have an item in your home that is simply taking up space. You've just admitted that it serves no purpose and provides no joy. That's an item that belongs in the discard pile. You're going to improve your living conditions by taking back that space.

Think About What You Would Replace

If the separation of keeper and junk piles is too dramatic for you, take a different approach. Imagine a doomsday scenario. What if a flood or fire ruined all the items in your home? Your insurance company would offer to replace the items using a method called actual cash value. Since you don't get back everything you lost, you have to make a hard decision. Which items do you need the most? Evaluate your personal belongings from the same perspective. If you had to start from scratch, which things do you need the most? More importantly, how many items serve no real purpose? Those are the ones you're keeping without justification. All they do is take up space in your home, and that's why you can safely get rid of them. Think about using a junk removal service for clunky items that have no value, then consider selling the rest.

happy woman with cash

Turn Junk Into Cash

By selling the remaining items, you'll be rewarding yourself with some extra money, and also avoiding the risk of reconsidering your decision to get rid of them. The items that you've identified as trash will become someone else's treasure, and they'll be able to repurpose them in a more productive way. And finally, the earnings from your sales are effectively found money.

You have your choice of ways to sell your unwanted items. The most popular is an online method. You can list your belongings on Craigslist or eBay, setting the price you feel is appropriate. The former option is better if you don't want to deal with the shipping process. Alternately, you can avoid the internet altogether by inviting potential customers to your home. A garage sale is a longstanding method for decluttering, and you'll have the money immediately. eBay takes a cut, and their favored system is PayPal, which does as well. Craigslist also gives you all the profits. You'll have to meet a stranger, however, and that makes some people uncomfortable.

What's important about this method is that you set up a rewards system. By selling your junk, you earn cash. That incentivizes you to act less emotionally about your belongings.

Decluttering your home doesn't have to feel stressful. Simply follow the four steps above. You'll reap the rewards in several key ways. Your home won't seem so claustrophobic, you won't become a hoarder, and you'll earn some cash for your efforts.

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