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Decluttering: How to Organize Your House One Room at a Time and Keep Your Sanity

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I grew up in an organized, simple house. It was a typical 4 bed, 3 bath house in a Phoenix suburb. My dad skewed toward most minimalist habits when it came to accumulating things and my mom was constantly cleaning. (I attribute the joy I get now from cleaning to her!) Overall, they were tidy when it came to stuff. Neither liked dark, contrasting colors on the walls or prints that detracted from a room. They gravitated toward neutral tones and less instead of more. Of course, I didn't realize when I was little. It wasn't until I ventured over to other peoples' houses and saw the ratio difference. Even the outside of our house was streamlined. No weeds, a manicured lawn and the cars were always parked inside the garage. A wild concept for a large population of people with garages. Am I right?

This rubbed off on me throughout the years. I think a person's upbringing and environment has a lot to do with how they end up curating and grooming their own space - be it good or bad. Having said that, it doesn't determine how your space will be. Nope, you've got the freewill and power to do it all on your own regardless of what surrounded you as a kid. 

For me, my idea of decluttering became an even more important part of my life after I got married. My husband is AMAZING at organizing. He could do it all day if you let him and he's good. So good that I'm confident he could make a living doing it. I thought I was organized until I married him. I have him to thank for the true organization of our house. 

No matter you're upbringing or current status now, I'm here to share 4 simple ways to declutter and organize your house one room at a time without feeling overwhelmed and while keeping your sanity. End goal? Create a calmer, more enjoyable living space. Here's how:

1. Start with one room at a time. Tackle your house room by room so this way, you experience small wins each time a new space has been simplified. Any kind of win is a great thing! So start with one room and take inventory of what's inside of it. Especially when you're overwhelmed and burdened with the load in front of you. So, let's say you start with your living room. What's taking up the space? Do you have a couch and love-seat and chair and ottoman? What about on the walls? Do you see a plethora of frames hanging every which way? Take a visual inventory and notice every single thing that you can see by staring at your room. 

2. Begin sifting and sorting everything in sight that doesn't serve an actual purpose. For example, if your electronics work, then they serve a purpose. If they're broke then they don't. Shelves and entertainment centers can be really bad collection zones. Try tackling those first. So let's say you have an entertainment center full of what makes sense and then layered on it and in the drawers you find books, warranty manuals, old remotes with broken parts, movies, CDs, etc. In this example, an entertainment center might best serve you if it holds your television, electronics and supporting media such as DVDs (if you still buy those), a few magazines or accessories. What's left after that? Remove any loose paper, miscellaneous toys or items that were put there but don't belong or that are broken. Keep repeating this step until you have only what makes the most sense for that given area. (You're a smart one, you'll know what makes sense after you keep after it!)

3. Pair back on the decor. I know, this one may sound a little strange and can put some people on the defense but the point is to streamline your space and limiting the amount of stuff you have out will do just that. Promise. Once you've eliminated the stuff that doesn't belong, take another pass and be honest with yourself about the amount of decor you have in that space. Ask yourself, what can I remove that should not be here? Perhaps you have one too many candles or vases. Can you see the surface of the furniture? Pair back things like the amount of books you have. You'll be amazed and what this sort of trimming does to your space. Repeat steps 1-3 until you are satisfied with your new, calmer, simplified space. Then move to the next room. Again, go through your house one space at a time so you don't get too stressed with the stuff. Decluttering can be extremely overwhelming if you bite off more than you can chew. 

4. Find your own Feng Shui. I'm not saying you need to go out and study the actual way to achieve Feng Shui but I am saying that if you want to create a calmer, simplified living environment then ask yourself if you feel a sense of calm when you're sitting, sleeping, talking, walking in your space. Will others feel this sense of calm, too? It might be necessary to make adjustments to your decor such as removing a few more decorations or toning down the visual display of clutter if there is still too much. It might be that you've organized and purged as much as possible but the space can still seem too overwhelming. If that's the case, then take a look at what items are still out (meaning they aren't in drawers or closets). If you can put the items you want to keep out-of-sight, then I'm confident you'll see major improvements in your space.

Follow these simple steps and you'll be well on your way to creating a more organized and calmer living environment. Keep me posted!

RELATED POST: Top 4 Things Creating Clutter In Your House & Why You Should Get Rid of It

Living with Less: How to Declutter Your Knick-Knacks Like a True Minimalist

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At one time or another, we've all received something that ended up sitting on a shelf collecting dust or was put in a box that we'd keep for later. It's common that we end up keeping things that we've either collected over the years or that reminds us of the time and place where we got it. The yellow car (pictured) was given to me on my first trip to Italy. I channeled my inner Julia Roberts when I decided to visit the country solo and tour the country. During the month spent there, I had the opportunity to be part of a photo shoot with a classic, fully restored Fiat 500. The yellow car was a gift I received after the shoot and an exact replica of the car in the photos. The car and the horn are one of about four things that Dayne and I have kept that fall into the 'knick knack category.' At the end of the day, I think you can be a minimalist AND have a few things. It's all about saving the things that actually mean something and getting rid of the rest.

Are you a collector? Or are you naturally inclined to purge what's in your living space? I've always been a purger. I remember at a young age donating my Barbie collection because I was done playing with them and wanted to package them up and clean out my room. No tears. No regrets. I was just done with them! (For years, I wondered if that was something I should've been worried about. Ha. Now I'm grateful.)

For those of you who are holding onto something or a bunch of somethings - be it a large or small collection, I've listed a few different ways to declutter your knick-knacks like a true minimalist.

  1. You'll never be able to get rid of the things that are taking up space if you haven't identified what and where they are. Did your parents gift you Beanie Babies or porcelain dolls? Maybe you're into plants and you've got dozens in pots that are overtaking the backyard? Locate what and where first to get started.
  2. Which of the items make you the happiest or in other words, which ones do you really want to keep? Pull those out and put them in a separate area. Then focus on what's left. Identify the condition of the items you're getting rid of and create a donate pile for anything that is still in good condition.
  3. Discard. When I say discard, I don't necessarily trash. I mean, find ways to actually move the items out of your home! You can create a post on Facebook (to your own friends or groups) and let others know you're selling or donating the collectibles. You'll find there are many people out there who will enjoy your items just as much if not more than you did. The idea is to donate what's in great shape and share with others. 
  4. If the items aren't in great shape then consider recycling what you can. For items that can't be recycled then you'll need to toss. If it's hard to do alone, ask someone who can help you with your purge! Moral support is key if you are having a harder time saying goodbye.

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