Do you have declutter rules? Whether you’ve already decluttered your house and are in the maintenance phase, or you are just at the start of your declutter journey, creating some declutter ‘rules’ for yourself can be very helpful.
Declutter rules are little limits you place on yourself and the things you have in your home. Now, I call them ‘rules’ but if that sounds too strict or intimidating, call them guidelines or gentle suggestions. For some people, ‘rules’ are something to rebel against so that won’t work either. Find what works for you!
Here are some suggestions for declutter rules you might like to adopt.
Put it on ice
Sometimes decluttering starts before the clutter even reaches your home. This ‘rule’ originally comes from budgeting advice but works equally well in this context. Once upon a time, budget advisors suggested putting your credit card in a block of ice to give yourself some time to think about purchases first (as your credit card defrosts!). That might not be necessary or practical but the idea to give yourself time to consider if you really want that do-dad in your home is a good one. Set a timeframe to give yourself to think over your purchase before committing. 24 hours usually does the trick.
One in, one (or two!) out
This is a common one. If you buy or receive an item in a particular category, for example, a new cookbook, find an existing one to pass on to someone else. For those who still need to declutter, you can make progress just by getting rid of two things each time you get one new one.
If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t stay
Once you have allocated a certain space for a category of items, commit to only keeping as much as will fit in that space. It might be a box for Lego or a shelf for your collection of sea shells, but once it is full you need to get rid of some if you want new items.
Keep 12 Month’s Worth
This one is particularly relevant to paperwork such as bills and works for magazine subscriptions too. The timeframe doesn’t matter as much as the habit of getting rid of older pieces. You decide how far back your records need to go (for some things for tax, it will be five to seven years) and once they pass that time marker, shred or recycle them.
If I haven’t used it in 6 months, out it goes
As with the rule above, the timeframe doesn’t matter as much as the habit. This one can be particularly helpful if you have things that you’re unsure about getting rid of forever. Pack them in a box somewhere, labelled with the date, and if you don’t use them for 3, 6 or 12 months, whatever feels comfortable for you, pass them on.
A twist on this rule in a wardrobe context, is to hang all your clothes hangers backwards at the beginning of the season. As you wear things, hang them back up with the hangers the regular way around. If, at the change of season, there are some hangers still backwards, you know you haven’t worn those clothes and they can be removed from your wardrobe.
Will I find this when I want it?
Often we keep things because they might be useful at some point in the future. However, if we can’t find it when the need does arise, it is pointless to keep it in the first place. So, ask yourself honestly, when I need this item, 1. will I remember I have it? And 2. will I be able to find it? If the answer is no to either (or both!) of these questions, let it go!
These are just a few suggestions for declutter rules. They have helped me and my clients to get and stay organised. I encourage you to think of your own guidelines for your specific circumstances, hobbies and preferences. Tell us what you come up with in the WellSorted Facebook group. Odds are that someone else will find your rule useful too.