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How to declutter your big and small spaces

Have you ever walked into a cluttered closet, room, or garage and wondered, "How did I accumulate so much stuff?" If so, you're not alone. Over the years, many of us accumulate items, some with sentimental value and others just daily life essentials, leading to disorganization and, at times, even safety hazards.

It's common for people to designate a storage area for items they don't know where to keep or rarely use. Often, we shut the door, hoping to ignore the mess, but eventually, we must confront the chaos. This realization can be overwhelming, leaving us with questions like, "Where do I even begin? What should I keep, and what should I get rid of?"

Here are a few tips for when you’re ready to declutter a space, no matter how big or small it is:

  1. Give yourself plenty of time.
    Decluttering can be an overwhelming project, so it’s important to give yourself ample time.
  2. Gather the supplies you might need for packing.
    Bins, boxes, tape, labels and other useful organizational items will be helpful.
  3. Consider gifting items to others.
    Many items are family heirlooms and have sentimental memories and you may have people in mind that you want to give them to. Will the items be useful or meaningful to them? For example, will any of your grandchildren be able to use the set of Chinaware that was a wedding gift to your mother?
  4. Break down the task.
    Begin with a smaller area, such as a pantry or closet and work your way up to larger spaces such as a basement or attic.
  5. Use a checklist.
    Compile a list of items you want to keep, sell, or donate. Ask yourself, when was the last time I wore those clothes or shoes? How long has been since I used that fishing pole or tennis racquet? Will any of my family be able to store or use this item? Also, ask yourself, what are the items I need to keep or can I part with them since I don’t use them anymore? If you are downsizing, what items will fit in the new place?
  6. Make a list of places that will take your donations.
    Many people today use online sites to sell or give away items for free. There are companies who will take items away for a fee. Secondhand or consignment stores are also still an option in many places.
  7. Enlist help.
    If you can’t physically or emotionally tackle decluttering alone, think of friends and family members who might be able to help you with the task. Whether it’s to provide physical support to move or pack items or just emotional perspective and support, having others to assist you may be useful.
I hope these tips help you get started on your decluttering journey!