One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2017 was to completely declutter my home. In January, this dream started to actually become a reality. My goal for January was to declutter and organize our dining room. After nearly an entire month of organizing and throwing things out, I finally have my decluttered and organized dining room! Our pile of empty boxes is no more, our stockpile is organized, and we even created an inventory sheet to keep track of our stockpile. We’ve gotten rid of 5 trash bags FULL of clutter just from the dining room!
I’ve always had a knack for decluttering, but usually the results don’t last. Not even a few months after decluttering a closet, it will end up filled to the brim all over again! Sorting through your home every few months is exhausting! I was sick of the constant projects, and just wanted a place to put my stuff! Since we don’t eat dinner on our dining room table, our dining room became a catch-all spot for anything too large to fit on the counter and ended up being a black hole storage space that you could never get to.
If you are looking to transform your space, and finally declutter your home for good, this is going to be your go-to guide to get started! I’m going to walk you through step-by-step exactly what I did to take back my dining room, and how you can use these techniques for other rooms in your home as well!
How to Declutter Every Room in Your Home for the LAST Time
Step 1: Lay it All Out There
The first step to truly taking back your space, is to get everything out on the table. Dump out every box, unload every shelf, and put it all in one central area. If you’re working in a small space, consider moving it into another room to sort. While working in my dining room, I completely moved the table and all the room’s contents to one side to sort through them.
Step 2: Sort your Items Into Logical Piles
Every room can be further broken down into categories. For example, when working through my dining room, I started sell, trash, donate, and keep piles. This system will work no matter what room you are working in, and is the best starting point for sorting your things.
Once you have sorted your things into these categories, take your trash pile and immediately throw it out. This will keep these items from recirculating back into your space. Next, take your donate items and bring them down to your car or put them by the door.
You can choose to either donate them now if you don’t think you’ll be able to do it in the next few days, or go ahead and put them in a place where you won’t forget them and they can easily be donated when it’s time. Make sure you write down all of the items you are donating for tax deductions if applicable, and that all your items are ready to go in trash bags, boxes, or whatever you’re using to transport them.
Then, take your sell pile and put all of these items in a box or bag together. The second part of this is crucial, you need to keep all of these items together or you risk letting them recirculate into your space. Go ahead and take a few minutes to photograph each of the items you are selling and list them on Craigslist, eBay, Amazon Trade-in, or another selling site.
Finally, it’s time to address your keep box! Now that there are no other distractions in the room it’s time to tackle this pile!
Step 3: Find a Home for each of your Belongings
Go through each and every item and decide whether or not it deserves a home in your space. Go through each and every box, bag, or individual item and decide if it meets the qualifications in this post. If it passes the test, then it’s time to find a logical place to put it. While organizing my dining room, I started using some of the Amazon boxes I had to categorize my stockpile into logical groups. Then, I found the place in that room where it would be most useful. For example, I don’t want to have to dig through an entire box just to find a new tube of toothpaste, so I made sure to keep items we use and cycle through regularly easy to access.
Step 4: If You’ve Run Out of Room, It’s Time to Get Rid of More Stuff!
As I was finding each item in my dining room a new home, I realized I still had too many things! If you run into this problem, that means you probably need to get rid of more stuff! Ask yourself if each item in this space really needs to be there, and if it doesn’t, find it a new home. Don’t feel discouraged if everything doesn’t fit as you envisioned it right away, it can take multiple tries before you finally get everything in its place.
Step 5: Break the Cycle
Your space is finally organized, but you don’t want to come back a few months from now and do it all over again! This brings me to the last and final step: Break the Cycle. Out of all the steps in this list, this one is the most important. Without this step, you will find yourself in a constant repeat of this same list over and over again. So how do you break the cycle? You cut it off at the source. Find out why your space keeps getting to this point, and redirect it! For example, my dining room became a catch-all space for everything that I brought through the front door. Rather than properly take care of my non-perishable groceries that were going to the stockpile, I just threw them in the dining room. Instead of putting items from shopping trips away, they would be set on the dining room table until I either needed them or forgot about them.
These were the main reasons why I always had clutter in my dining room, so I needed to completely change the way I used this space in order to keep it organized and free of clutter forever. Here are some of the things we did to break the cycle for our dining room:
- We got rid of our dining room table- since we never use this table it was merely taking up precious space! We finally had the courage to take it to Goodwill where it will be given a second life, and where it won’t be disrupting the flow of our “dining room.”
- Items brought through the front door are now dealt with as soon as they enter our home– if it’s groceries, it comes into the kitchen to be sorted and put away. If anything needs to be added to our stockpile, I put it in the appropriate box, bag, or bin.
- We designated a job for this space– this might sound silly, but our dining room had turned into a space where anything that didn’t belong in any of the other rooms went. Now, this room has a clear purpose which makes it easy to keep clutter from migrating to this room! This room is now our designated stockpile room. If it’s not an item to be stored in our stockpile, we know it doesn’t belong here. Occasionally, if we are trying to sell a lot of items, we will allow them to live here as well for temporary storage and as a constant reminder to sell these items and be done with it.
I completely understand if you feel you don’t have an entire month to dedicate to each of the rooms in your home, but if you do, I highly encourage it! Having an entire month dedicated to just decluttering and organizing my living actually felt freeing! I had ample time to sort through everything and get an organization system in place without feeling like I had to finish up and head on to the next room. Here are the before and after results of my efforts, and I can’t wait to start on the next room in my home!