Decluttering Cure

4 Quick Things You Can Do Today to Make Decluttering Easier Later

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Viv Yapp)
(Image credit: Kath Nash)

A less-cluttered home isn’t an item you can check off your to-do list. It’s more of a lifestyle. Something you need to practice year-round, weaving moments into your calendar where you focus your attention on keeping on top of your things and storage spaces.

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Spring cleaning is a great time to do some decluttering. So are Apartment Therapy’s programs like the January Cure and the September Sweep (I hope we’ll see you again next year!). And you might naturally have junctures where you feel compelled to tackle some clutter, like before a big party or when you redecorate a room.

Today’s assignment is all about making those instances—whenever they happen—go a little easier.

Today’s Assignment:

Make a plan for future purging.

You don’t have to select a specific day or time in the future to declutter, although it’s great if you want to. You can simply set a calendar appointment (“Declutter-palooza”) for a weekend in three or six months.

The important part of today’s assignment is setting up a system that makes it easier to decide what to let go of then—whether that’s in three months, or this time next year.

Here are some ideas:

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The backwards hanger trick

Turn all the hangers in your closet around so the hooks are pointing towards you (aka the wrong way ’round). When you wear something, put it back with the hook the normal way. When you revisit your wardrobe, any hanger still facing the wrong way is holding an item you haven’t worn, ready for the donation bag.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The safety pin trick

For any clothes not on hangers, you can loop a safety pin around the tag or belt loops of all your folded clothes. When an item is worn, remove the safety pin. Similar to the hanger trick, when you go back through your clothes, anything with a safety pin still on it is ready for a new home.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Mark things with washi tape

In rooms like the kitchen and bathroom, you can mark your collections of tools and appliances with a small piece of washi or masking tape. Whenever you use something, peel the tape off. Later, any item still sporting its tape can be confidently discarded.

Read more: How to Declutter Your Kitchen With Just Tape

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

The box & banish

Maybe the easiest way to make really deep cuts is by prematurely boxing everything up right now. You can take a collection—like books or servingware or shoes—and dump the whole thing into a box. Cast that box off to a garage, guest room or under the bed. When you remember and need something from the box, go grab it and return it back into the fray of everyday life (aka the shelf, cabinet, or closet). When some time has passed, you can get rid of everything left in the box, guilt-free.

You can choose one of these strategies and apply it to your particular problem area (I hope that, amongst the actual decluttering, the September Sweep has also given you some clarity about your relationship to your things). Or do all of them and really get a grip on what you need and use every day, and what’s better off donated to a new home.

And don’t forget:

Clear three things from your monster zone. The final three things!

Tomorrow’s the last day of the September Sweep, where we finally empty those boxes we’ve been filling since day one. How are you feeling?

All month long, we invite you to share your progress here in the comments and on Instagram with the #septembersweep hashtag!

Check out all the assignments so far on the September Sweep 2018 Main Page.

(Image credit: Kath Nash)

Download the printable PDF calendar:
September Sweep 2018