Living in a cluttered home is not only unpleasant and inconvenient, it can force you to compromise on living the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Imagine your living room muddled with furniture (which you neither need nor use) that’s devouring up your precious space, your bedroom scrambled with all those unattractive flower vases ready to fall off their shelves any minute, or your kitchen drawers overflowing with utensils and other unnecessary paraphernalia which you no longer require.
What an eyesore!
And now picture a neatly organized and clean space with all your important stuff tidily stacked up in place, just so that you never have to waste your time looking for them again. You never know, you may end up rediscovering all that space you had forgotten you had at home and voila, suddenly you have room to accommodate that lamp you’ve had your eyes on for the last couple of months!
Wish to make that a reality? It’s pretty simple, really. Just conquer that clutter and watch all the junk vanish, thereby make more space for the things that you actually need or want to have.
De-cluttering is easy when you’ve got the money to afford all those expensive products that help with the sorting, the organizing and the storing of everything you own. However, not everyone may be as fortunate and have no more than a limited budget (or absolutely no money) assigned to their storage solutions.
With a little creativity and the will to organize, you can unclutter your home even on a shoestring budget. Here’s more on that.
1. Clear It Up
Irrespective of how deeply or emotionally connected you may think you are to an item, if it’s junk, it has to go. Make this your mantra to clear out the mess and separate the essentials from the broken, obsolete and redundant stuff.
The best and the cheapest way to organize your home is to get rid of stuff. Unless it is a precious heirloom item or a valuable Picasso, be ready to say goodbye to it.
If it overwhelms you, you may want to start small i.e. begin with clearing out a drawer and move on to the closet and then finally the room. Breaking up the task will make it seem more doable and allow you to plan better. Before you know it, you will have purged your entire home of all that was unusable, broken, unworn and unwanted.
If you find items which may be useful to others (but not to you), you can donate or sell them (and make some money). Trash the rest. A great way of doing so is to tackle each room one at a time, armed with a trash bag and boxes for items you want to sell, donate and for those which belong in another part of the house.
Soon it’ll all be cleared up leaving you with more usable space at your disposal – all this without you having to spend even a single cent.
2. Group Similar Items
When sorting through your things, you’re bound to come across items that may be similar in nature or have the same end use. It makes sense to group such pieces together and label them as you purge through every room. This will make it easier for you to categorize and store them.
You could also sort out the items which belong to a particular room and cluster them accordingly.
Place that book you found with the other books, DVDs with the DVDs, bags with the rest of your collection, and shoes with the other pairs. Before you know it, you’ll have everything figured out and kept in place.
Avoid bunching disparate items together as doing so will only make it hard to find what you need and create visual chaos and you don’t want that. The idea is to straighten out the disorder, and not create more of it.
3. Make a List
Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what you have so that you could determine its use? One of the best ways of organizing quickly and in an error-free manner is to make an inventory of all the things you own and the items among those you want to hold on to.
Doing this should give you a good idea of how these items should be stored and what type of furniture and containers you will need to preserve them. You can now make an informed decision and buy the suitable storage solutions once and for all, rather than end up buying something wrong and making repeat purchases.
For instance, in order to store your t-shirts and formal shirts separately, you could use either shelf dividers or strong and sturdy hangers to allot them their place in your closet and distinguish between them in a jiffy. Similarly, once you’ve counted how many CDs you have, you will know the size of the rack to get to store them in.
4. Make De-Cluttering a Habit
To save yourself the hassle of letting things pile up indiscriminately, sorting through them again and again, and repeating the whole de-cluttering grind, it is advised that you find solutions that work in tandem with your personal habits. Intertwining these two factors can go a long way in keeping your home free of clutter at all times.
For example, if you’re looking for basic organization solutions for all your photographs, you will do well by simply clustering them as per the year and storing them in a box. However, if you’re detail-oriented, you may want to segregate them by month, year, occasion, and so on. Hence, you may be better off using photo albums.
Don’t conclude your de-cluttering efforts until everything you own has found a place for itself. Whether it is a desk for your table clock, a hook for your keys or a drawer for your socks, everything should have its own place.
Not only that, you should make it a habit to return each of your things to their own place after every use. That will ensure that they’re always safe and can easily be located in times of need. Easy and reasonable!
5. Use What You Have
Sometimes, you can serve old wine in a new bottle and get away with it. While I have advised you to dispose of, donate or sell what don’t need, you may want to pause and consider reprocessing them if they aren’t damaged.
With certain items that you may own, it may be a good idea to repurpose them. These can include jars, plastic containers, storage bags, cardboard boxes, laundry baskets, and so on.
Old duffel bags, backpacks, and purses may be great for holding things that you don’t need immediately, but might need them later on. For example, your empty suitcases may be perfect for holding your winter wear. That way they’re out of sight for the rest of the year, yet you know they’re safely stored.
6. Look For Bargains
Many a time, we’re tempted to buy high-end, expensive storage solutions which are specially manufactured by niche companies to fulfill such requirements. These products are top-notch in quality and can be expensive, even when on sale. But, you can still have them.
In order to stick to your budget, you can either purchase them second-hand at a garage sale or look for other alternatives such as
Searching online message boards and auction sites for deals on shelves and storage ideas. There are several portals on the Internet that come up with lucrative offers, shopping coupons and even freebies for such items. Look in the right places and you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.
Posting on the local trade websites; requesting the items you need and exchanging them for your discards. By taking recourse to the good old barter system, you can swap the items you don’t need with others who need them, for something that may be useful to you. Don’t forget to keep a track of/check for updates on your posts.
Shopping at the “as is” section of your local furniture and hardware stores for discounts on slightly scratched or dented items. The imperfections may be barely noticeable, but the discounts are heavy, which make it a very attractive option for many. You might want to consider getting your hands on something that may not be as perfect as you’d like it to be, but it is better than having nothing at all.
Do not make the mistake of overlooking your neighborhood thrift stores and yard sales. Just stay focused on your objective of getting rid of useless and unwanted items and organizing the things you need, whilst adhering to your budget. Remember, you want to eliminate clutter, not add to it.
I’m sure that by the end of the de-cluttering process, you’re going to love how imaginative and inventive you can get. Rediscovering this new side of yourself is going to make you glad that you did this important task and got it out of the way, without spending much. You don’t need to be rich or have extravagant organizing tools to de-clutter. You can focus on the simple things and get the job done effectively too. The above tips should help you in your endeavor to set things straight at your home.