Wednesday, November 11, 2015

4 Steps to a Decluttered Home

Joel and I have both moved around quite a bit. Less than a year stints in different apartments, renting with friends, and even for me a month living out of my car (long story). Over time, our keepsakes and boxes of unsorted stuff has accumulated (mostly at our parents' houses) and has finally made it back to us. Combine that with the things that we have held on to (much of it unnecessarily), and here we are with a tower in our basement of mystery boxes full of stuff we don't want or need.

Clearly the "just put it here and we'll sort it later" room
Before the move, I set out to clear the crap, sort what was left, and move into our new home with a fresh new system and neatly organized boxes, clearly labeled with their necessary contents. I started watching Hoarders to motivate myself, and then got to work. ...And then I remembered I was VERY pregnant, tired, hot, and couldn't lift anything for the life of me. As I feared, at least 75% (I did make some progress!) of what was originally there got shoveled into the new basement, as haphazard as ever.

At least we have the tubs and cupboards for future sorting.. they're mostly empty at this point.
We're getting into a little of the colder weather seasons now (Christmas in less than two months?!), the girls and I are juuuust starting to get into a little bit of a rhythm, and I have most of my energy back, so I'm getting on the horse and finishing what I started.

It's a work in progress for sure, but here's a snapshot of our system for clearing out:

1. Designate 5 workspace areas: trash/recycle, sell, give, keep, and an open area to go through one box at a time.

2. Ask yourself the following questions when going through the stuff (list I borrowed from Popsugar):

3. Sort it back. When you decide to keep something, give it a clearly designated spot. Home decor goes together by season, small craft supplies get separated by baggies, bathroom toiletries get put into a few smaller boxes rather than one huge drawer, etc. My labelmazer became my best friend, which made it so much more fun to give everything little matching name tags on where they should go. It honestly reminds me of organization in a preschool room...

I am 100% going to do this with our kids' toys... once I make it out of cleaning the basement.
Source: Small Potatoes

4. Ask for help. I found a lot of great tips from Nadine, Haley, and a myriad of other Pinterest suggestions. I also, very realistically, needed assistance from my super-strong hubby, to move heavy things for me (especially up and down the stairs) so I could stay on a roll sorting. I've heard of the Konmari method, but I'm not quite familiar yet (if it's tried and true in your home, let me know; I'm up for anything!)

"Spring cleaning" is a thing, but I'm determined to make this fall/winter cleaning (Let's be realistic, with 2 under 14 months it'll probably take me that long). Hopefully I can chip away at the mountains downstairs and eventually I'll have an amazing reveal post for you later on (dream big!). :D

How do you declutter when the time comes? Do you have any tricks of the trade to share? Feel free to message me or comment below!


  1. Great ideas!

    My best times for decluttering are the shifting of seasons. When it is time to take out the winter/summer boxes, then clothing (toys and most everything else), gets a once-over and we decide what stays and what goes.

    As far as papers piling up, I try really hard to file or throw away as soon as it walks in the door! That area is the worst for making clutter on my counters!!

    1. Those are great tips! I've got a pile of papers on my desk now calling my name. It'd be way easier if I stayed on top of it in the first place. Thanks for reading Laurel!

  2. Did you spend a lot of money buying plastic bins to store all of the stuff? I want to have all of my things neatly arranged in clear containers like that but it costs so much to buy all of the bins, so I mostly have ugly cardboard boxes of mismatched sizes instead.

    1. Most of our bins were handed down, but what couldn't fit in there we used large cardboard boxes (diaper boxes are big and liquor stores always have extra heavy-duty ones) worked great. Then they don't get to heavy and are easily arrangable. We just labeled the contents with brightly colored duct tape!