Clutter. We all have it. Whether it’s a single “junk” drawer in your kitchen or every closet in your place, in one way or another we’re all affected by it… that is, in more ways than we think. Sure, it’s an eyesore but as many studies show, clutter can also increase stress levels (which can lead to weight gain – yikes!) and it can cause us to lose focus and procrastinate. But in this materialistic society how does one learn how to declutter? Well that is just the answer – decluttering is a skill that can be learned by anyone, so sit back and take notes because these helpful tips will have you on your way to living a clutter free life.

To Do List

1. Trying to declutter your home can be overwhelming. To make it easier, start by setting goals for yourself. Ask yourself “What bothers me the most?” Is it the kitchen countertops? Your closet? Maybe the overabundance of takeout menus, stray papers, and old mail? Whichever it may be, setting daily and weekly goals will help you achieve the ultimate goal of decluttering your entire home much quicker then attempting to do it all at once. It’s best to begin with small projects and then gradually increase the project size but be sure to complete each task fully before moving on to the next or you may create an even bigger mess for yourself.

(Bonus tip: A great way to keep track of your achievements is to create a “to-do” list for each room and check off each item as you go. This will help you stay on track as well as offer a sense of accomplishment.)

2. Now that you know where to start decluttering you can begin the process by sorting through your possessions. The first step is to decide what you want to keep, toss, sell, or donate. If it’s something that you use frequently the choice is obvious – keep it, but items that have seen better days or have no useful life left need to be tossed, and gently used items can be sold or donated… Yes, I know it’s easier said than done. Sure, some items we hold onto for sentimental value or because we spent a nice chunk of change on them, but be realistic with yourself – if you’re holding onto old memories you can’t make room for new ones and a sunk cost is a sunk cost whether the item is sitting in your closet unused or you choose to sell it or donate it. But if you really can’t part with the item today put it in an “maybe” box, label it with today’s date, and revisit the decision in one year. If you haven’t used the item since the date on the box then it’s time to let go.

Shelf

3. Now that you know what you’re keeping and what is going it is time to organize. Before you decided to hit the store for some storage and organization products, check to see what supplies you may have laying around the house first, such as stackable drawers and clear containers. These are great options for keeping your cabinets and closets neat and organized. Hanging organizers and pockets are also great for closets and doors and can be used for storing everything from shoes to cleaning supplies to jewelry.

If you do need some additional supplies think about investing in decorative bins and baskets. These are not only a great way to store your belongings and keep your home neat and clutter free, but they also add additional style and décor to your place. You can use bins and baskets for toys, craft supplies, seasonal items, and so much more. If you are in need of additional storage, invest in a timeless storage ottoman or trunk to store your least frequently used items such as extra pillows and blankets. Shelves are also a great solution for adding extra space and can be used for your books, DVDs, and collectables.

4. Now that your home is almost free of clutter it is time to tackle the pile of old mail and other papers that have made your end table and countertops their happy and growing home. Before we start the process, let me first say that the best way to start reducing this pile is to sign up for online bill pay and e-statements for all possible accounts. This will not only stop the pile from growing but it will always cure your “I’ll do it later” syndrome which usually contributes to the creation of this monstrous pile. OK, now that that’s said let’s get to organizing and managing this pile.

The answer to decluttering your old mail and other miscellaneous papers is to create a filing system. This can be easily accomplished by using magazine holders, staking trays, or file holders. Label the files appropriately (i.e. bills, coupons, receipts, warranties, user manuals) and file all papers instantly. Contrarily, if you know that a notice is just junk mail then recycle or shred it right away so that you don’t create another pile for yourself. As for important documents such as W-2s, tax returns, home records, insurance policies, or any documents of legal nature, be sure to store those in a fire and water resistant safe.

MakeSpace

5. Alright you’re almost there… your living room, kitchen, and bedroom are decluttered but wait! Your bike, luggage set, artificial Christmas tree, and that large box of extra items you just cannot part with are still in the way… what do you do now? Do not despair. You have MakeSpace storage in Los Angeles – your on-demand storage option. MakeSpace is a full service storage company that drops off storage bins at your residence, picks up your packed items, takes them to a storage facility near you, and brings them back whenever you need them!

And not only does MakeSpace offer free durable storage bins and wardrobe boxes, but it also offers various storage plans to fit your specific needs. From a small 2’ x 2’ storage space to a x-large 10’ x 30’ unit, MakeSpace has the right space for you. Plus, with an online photo inventory you’ll never forgot what you put in storage again. So, what are you waiting for? Visit MakeSpace today, pick the storage plan that is right for you, and finally enjoy your beautiful work of art – your clutter free home.

And there you have it – not only is your house free of clutter but you’re also on your way to a healthier mental state with less stress and more energy. Don’t forget the most important step in all of this… Be sure to keep it up! Remember, clutter is behavioral so it is important to keep up with your newly learned skills and not give in to old, bad habits. So take the time and make the effort to continue with your clutter free journey today.