Whether you’re spring cleaning or getting ready to move, decluttering your home means taking control of what comes in and what goes out. But tackling the clutter can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. What should you keep, what should you get rid of, and where can you get rid of it? The questions may be difficult, but the answers are easier than you think.
The Dangers of a Cluttered Home
For seniors, clutter around the home can be dangerous, as it poses many hazards that can result in falls and other injuries. A cluttered home also causes stress, because it is distracting and frustrating when you need to find something and can’t. If pursued on a regular basis, decluttering your home will keep it safe, clean, and relaxing for you and anyone visiting your home.
Adopt Good Decluttering Habits
One of the most basic tenets of decluttering is the “one-in, two-out” rule: whenever you bring in a new item, get rid of two others that either:
- Are broken or worn
- You don’t use
- You don’t like
At first, you may be tempted to cheat by throwing out two small items when you bring in a large one. Once this rule becomes second nature, you’ll gain a satisfying sense of control over any clutter that may accumulate in your home.
Another good rule of thumb is to consider the delay-a-day rule. Before you buy anything, “sleep on it” and postpone the purchase until the next day. Chances are you’ll either decide you don’t need it or think of two items you can shed.
Donate, Recycle, or Throw Away?
Once you’ve decluttered your home and gathered the items you don’t want anymore, you now have to decide how to get rid of them. There are many charities that will take donations of old books, clothing, and other items. When donating items, remember:
- Clothes like underwear generally aren’t accepted due to hygienic reasons, but they can be recycled after being washed.
- Books that are damaged, outdated, or dirty cannot be donated and are better off recycled. Contact your local library for their specific donation rules.
- Large items like dishwashers can only be donated to specific charities. Contact your local donation center for more information.
- Certain electronics, like tube TVs, cannot be donated due to their toxic components. Take it to an e-recycler for safe disposal instead.
If your family and friends have shown an interest in your old things, let them rummage through your piles of decluttering. This method is especially helpful for large items, like furniture, that can still be used.