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When life gets busy and there is so much to do, organizing your home can be placed on the back-burner. The next thing you know, you take a look around and wonder how you’ve accumulated so much stuff. It’s in the drawers, the closets, under the bed, or even out the open for all to see. Tackling a job that big can be overwhelming. Enter the 4-Week Declutter Challenge.
The 4-Week Declutter Challenge breaks the task of decluttering down into manageable pieces over a month-long period. Breaking your home up into sections and small chunks can make decluttering much easier to handle. You’ll need to get 3 boxes and label them “Keep”, “Donate/Sell”, and “Trash”. As you go through each week’s section, you will use these boxes to place items you find.
If the item is a keeper and is already in the location it will be kept, you will put it away. However, if the item is a keeper and is NOT in the location it will be kept, you will place it in the “Keep” box. Obviously, if the item is something you do not wish to keep, you will decide whether to donate or sell the item or throw it away. I usually have one box for the donate and sell items. I go through this box later and decide what I can sell and what I will go ahead and donate. If you would rather, you could make a fourth box for “Sell” items.
THE 4-Week DECLUTTER CHALLENGE
WEEK 1 – Master Bedroom (Incld. Bath & Closet)/Office/Kitchen
For the first week, we will be focusing on the rooms that affect us the most. When our immediate spaces are disorganized it can make our minds and lives feel disorganized. I always feel much more energetic when waking up to a clean, organized space. Therefore, we will be focusing on the following spaces:
Start with the surface areas and then go through every drawer and cabinet. Don’t forget to check under your bed, as well, if you tend to keep stuff there. Really ask yourself if you need the items you find. The more you can get rid of, the freer you will feel.
Once again, start with the surfaces and then start going through all the drawers and cabinets. This is a good time to go through all your products and toss the ones that have expired including your makeup. Again, make sure you really need or want the items you choose to keep.
This is the time to go through every item of clothing, each accessory, and anything else in your closet and do a thorough purge. We tend to hold onto clothing items for way longer than necessary always telling ourselves we might wear it again one day. But we never do. It’s best to rip off the Band-Aid and donate or sell it. Free up some space in your closet for things you’ll actually love and wear.
If you feel you have the time, the Kitchen should be your next target. Other than your bedroom suite, the kitchen is probably the next place you spend the most time. Getting it organized and decluttered will make meal prep and even your food choices a little easier. Surfaces, drawers, cabinets, etc. Don’t forget to go through your pantry and even your refrigerator and get rid of things that have expired or never going to be used.
Not everyone has an office in their home but, if you do, this would be the last place to concentrate on this week. Even if you don’t have an office, you probably have a spot somewhere that you keep important papers and do your bills and home management tasks. Now is the time to go through the paper clutter, scan what you want and shred the rest. An organized desk is an organized mind.
WEEK 2 – Living Room/Dining Room/Non-Bedroom Closets
This week, we will focus on the next most important spaces in our home. This will include the Living Room, Dining Room, and any Non-Bedroom Closets like Coat Closets, Linen Closets, etc.
This space should be warm and inviting. A place you can relax with your family and friends or even alone. It’s hard to relax if there is stuff everywhere. Look at all the surfaces and remove unwanted items. Also, if you have a lot of different knick-knacks and décor covering the surfaces, rethink some of these items to give the space a cleaner look. Then go through all the drawers and cabinets.
Unless you have really let your home go, the Dining Room should be fairly easy. Most people don’t keep much in their dining rooms. If you do have a lot, though, the same rules apply. Surfaces first and then drawers and cabinets.
Finally, go through any Non-Bedroom Closets you have including coat closets, linen closets, storage areas (not including the attic), and any others you have. These might be the most time consuming this week depending on how much you store away.
WEEK 3 – Kids’ Rooms/Spare Bedrooms/Spare Bathrooms
For Week 3, we will be focusing on the kids’ bedrooms and spare bedrooms, including the closets, as well as the other bathrooms in your home. If you don’t have kids and/or your spare rooms aren’t bad, add rooms you couldn’t get to in previous weeks or pick a space from Week 4 to start on.
These will probably be the most time consuming as you will most likely be sifting through a lot of toys and clothing if you have small children. If you have older children, enlist their help and have them do their own rooms. In fact, a great way to do this is to divide their rooms up into weeks so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Have them do all their surfaces and under the bed on one week, their drawers on the next week, and their closet on the following week.
Unless you are a pack rat, which means you will probably need longer than 4 weeks to declutter, your spare bedrooms probably aren’t too bad. If you have more than you can handle in 1 week, spread them out amongst the other weeks.
Most likely, you won’t have much to sort through in your spare bathrooms. These usually aren’t used much unless you have kids. If one of them is your kids’ bathroom, then you may have to do a little more. Don’t forget to look in cabinets, under the sink, and go through any toys or products in the shower area.
WEEK 4 – Garage/Attic/Basement/Other Storage Spaces
Last, we will be focusing on all our storage spaces like the garage, attic, basement, crawlspace, etc. I like to focus on these last as they are not usually spaces we need to be in often and, therefore, don’t take as much of a toll on your wellbeing and these areas tend to take the longest so it’s nice to get the rest of the house in order first. Further, it is possible you have moved items you wanted to keep from other rooms into these storage spaces and now you will be forced to decide whether you really want those items or not.
For all these spaces, the same rules apply. Have your labeled boxes handy and really focus on each item and whether or not you need or want that item. Do yourself a favor and throw out any broken or damaged items as well as items you haven’t touched in years. When you are, invest in a few weatherproof bins to store items in and stack them neatly within the space. And give every area a good cleaning. These spaces hardly ever get swept out or cleared of cobwebs.
KEEP THE CLUTTER AT BAY
Now that your home has been decluttered, take steps to keep it that way. At least once a week, take time to observe the areas you use the most and clear them of clutter. This should take no time at all and will keep the clutter from building up again. Every time you need to put an item in a space you don’t use as often always ask yourself if you really need to store the item there. Don’t bring things home that you aren’t sure you need or will use. Finally, if you have the space, leave a set of labeled boxes (Keep, Sell/Donate, Trash) set out somewhere so you can easily throw things in as you find them. Then take the time, every so often, to put those items where they belong whether it is in your home, Good Will, or the trash can. The more you take small steps to keep the clutter at bay, the less likely you will have to devote a month to decluttering your whole house again.