A well-known Professional Organizer keeps only 2 sets of towels per person in her household.  Another Organizer has a rule of one set of flatware per person.  Reasons for their rules vary.  However, I have only one rule about decluttering:  one size does not fit all!

How many?

The idea behind decluttering is to remove excess, unnecessary items rather than adhering to strict “how many” guidelines.

  • How many blenders do I need? If your family makes daily smoothies (or Margaritas), you might need two.  But me…I need only one.
  • Are 8 spatulas too many? It depends.  Are you a baker?  Are they different sizes?

To have specific decluttering rules would mean we all have the same family size, children of the same ages, buy the same food and accumulate the same toys, electronics and books.  Most of all, the number of each household item does depend upon those living in the home, how and why they use the contents.

How do I declutter?

The basic steps to declutter room by room:

    • Gather 4 boxes; label them “distribute”, “donate”, “discard”, “recycle”.
      • Donate box: anything you haven’t worn in the past year or doesn’t fit, paraphernalia from hobbies you gave up years ago, old eyeglasses, giveaways from events, or anything you don’t need.
      • Distribute box: items that don’t belong in the area where you are decluttering.  Also contents you plan to give to family or friends.
      • Discard box: anything expired or broken/torn/worn out, trash or printed material you have no plans to read.
      • Recycle box: most recycling programs accept paper (catalogues, manuals, magazines, phonebooks), cardboard, glass and plastic; check restrictions. Additionally, many electronic stores accept rechargeable batteries, electronics and appliances.  Best Buy accepts items often not consider:
        • Brooms/Stick Vacuums
        • Cables and Connectors
        • Curling Irons
        • Fans
        • Hair Dryers
        • Hair Straighteners
        • Monitoring Systems
        • Pedometers and Heart Monitors
        • Robot Vacuums
        • Upright/Canister Vacuums
        • Weather Stations
    • Remove everything from the cupboards and drawers; place the contents on a table.
    • Group like-items together. If you have Ibuprofen in 3 different places, consolidate into one location.
    • Pick up every item and ask yourself:
      • Do I love it?
      • Is that my style now?
      • Would this help someone else out?
      • When was the last time I used it/looked at it?
      • Also, do I remember owning this?
    • Determine what you need and the quantity.
        • While you might want to save a hand-painted “World’s Greatest Dad” coffee mug, donate the golf outing glass.
        • But if you can’t determine the ideal quantity, after re-shelfing like-items, label those in the back with a Post-it note with the current date. If you don’t use the items in the back within 6 months, donate.
    • Finally, don’t get side-tracked and remember – Decluttering: one size does not fit all!
How do I declutter? An example is to save a hand-painted “World’s Greatest Dad” coffee mug, but donate the golf outing glass. Clear the Clutter, Mansfield, Ohio explains that decluttering: one size does not fit all
Decluttering: one size does not fit all! Save a hand-painted mug, but donate a free glass.

Congratulations on taking control of your clutter!

Check back later for blogs on organizing different spaces in your home.

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