• Nicole Soer

How I Declutter

I'm about to get really real and share with you what I like to call "Kitchen Drawer #4". Last week, I shared how I am making use of some of the extra time I have during these days of social distancing and Gretchen Ruben’s mantra for decluttering. One of my lovely commenters asked how I used my Decluttering Guide. This is such a good idea! I am sharing my process (and the messy pictures). Plus, I figured if I like to see how others declutter, you might like to see how I am doing it, too! Decluttering is a personal endeavor because it can open up memories when you see pictures of loved ones or the items they purchased for you. It can also signal a simpler time - high school trophies, 5th-grade biographies. It can also bring up things you have moved on from or need to let go of - keeping/buying old furniture with the intention of repurposing it. I have found that I de-clutter best when I have a running list of things that need to be decluttered. I sit and brainstorm ideas. I keep this list because I find that when my time is unstructured, I can become really unstructured with what I do and get done (and that is okay for me sometimes, just not all of the time). I refer to my list when I need a little break or want to accomplish something quickly. This is where my guide comes in: it provides a place for you to record your own running list with some categories to serve as prompts for you.

For instance, under the "Other Items" category, I have the following groups of things I want to declutter:

  • Gardening items

  • Books

  • Makeup

  • Hair products

I will use the general categories of my list as a general guide for what needs to be decluttered. I then narrow it down further by placing a specific item or area on mini post-it notes. For instance, one of my “Other” categories is makeup. My mini post-it item is fingernail polish. One of my “Hobby or Craft Supplies” category is music. I have a lot of music since I play the piano. My mini post-it says “left side of music shelf”. Some of my other mini post-its for this day are location-based: kitchen drawer #4. Once the task is completed, I throw the post-it into my recycling bin. NOTE: I know that using all of this paper is not environmentally friendly; I have an extraordinary amount of post-it notes, so I am using what I have. I have learned that I need to keep my tasks small. Most of them will only take between 1 and 5 minutes. The “kitchen drawer #4” task seems a little more daunting because it’s the left-over drawer - lids to coffee mugs that have probably long disappeared, lids to other things, grilling supplies, and other random things. I keep the daunting items to a minimum each day because it helps me with overwhelm.

And now, I am sharing a video of my messy drawer (a.k.a., Kitchen Drawer #4) as well as the de-cluttered drawer. And who doesn't love a good before and after?

Additional tips that work for me:

  • Through all of this, I keep asking myself Gretchen's criteria: “Do I need it? Do I use it? Do I love it?”

  • I work on a very specific place or item (kitchen drawer #4 or fingernail polish). This helps me from feeling overwhelmed.

  • I throw away, recycle, or place the item I want to donate in my car immediately! I have been known to make a pile of stuff to do something with later :).

This process has worked well for me. I keep doing a little bit every day. I know that some people do better with decluttering things all at once. Try approaching decluttering with a curious mind - if this process doesn’t work, try something else. There isn’t one single way or approach that works for everyone!

Click here for the new and improved declutter checklist.

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