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The Ultimate Guide for De-Cluttering Your Home

By Elizabeth Calender on Mar 26, 2021

Posted in Blog
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Since the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve probably become aware of the clutter in your home now more than ever. We have been spending much more time at home, and in turn have become (sometimes painfully) aware of the fact that our homes are not a peaceful place to be due to the clutter we have accumulated.

Closet Professionally Organized by Orderly & Co in Denver, CO


By working through this guide, you will learn how to let go of items that no longer serve a purpose and be left with only those that you find to be useful or beautiful in the life you have now.

When to purge

Before and after a move as you’re packing and unpacking

You’re already pulling everything out, so this is the perfect time to purge! Don’t spend precious time or money moving items you no longer want or need.

At the change of seasons

Purging at this time is easier because what you used/wore is fresh in your mind. Purge the upcoming season at this time too if you know what doesn’t fit or work anymore.

Throughout the year

Purging becomes a more manageable task instead of a huge project every year or several years.

How long will it take?

This depends on how much you have to sort through. To start off, give yourself four Saturdays or Sundays. A realistic goal is one category per day.

Cluttered Closet

Have these ready:

  • Bag for trash
  • Box for recycling
  • Box for donations
  • Box for items that belong in another room/category - Placing items in this box will help you stay focused on the task at hand, and you can address the box at the end of your purging session.

Start small

Choose one category to evaluate (i.e. kitchen utensils or toiletries). If you tackle too much too soon, you’ll become overwhelmed and quit halfway. Starting small brings small wins and motivation to keep going!

Pull everything out

This allows you to see everything you have all at once. This step can be overwhelming if the category is too large, so remember to start small! If needed, break it down into a smaller sub-category (i.e. winter coats as opposed to all clothes). If you have items in the category stored in other areas of the home, collect them all together so you can see everything you have in that category.

Child's Playroom with Everything Pulled Out to be Professionally Organized

Group items by type or function

If you’re doing toiletries – all soaps together, all lotions together, etc.

Evaluate each item by asking yourself these questions:

Do I use this item now?

If not, when is the last time I used it?

  • If it’s been over a year and you won’t use it in the next year, toss or /donate it!
  • Resist the temptation to tell yourself the reasons you ‘might’ find a use for it
  • If you don’t have a concrete plan for the item in the next year, it’s time to let it go

Would I buy this again today?

  • You don’t waste money when you purge an item, the money is wasted when you buy things you don’t need - think twice before you buy something!
  • Instead consider the value you’re adding to your life by not having the clutter.

Am I not actively using it because it’s a memento that I want to keep?

  • Store the item with mementos

Is it expired?

  • Expired medication, food, makeup, car seats, etc. should be thrown away or recycled

If it’s something you’re having a hard time letting go of but you don’t use it, ask yourself why you don’t use it or wear it:

  • Does it have bad memories attached?
  • Was it given to me and I’m just keeping it out of guilt?
  • Is it broken or torn?
  • How likely am I to fix it in the next month?
  • Is it for a project I’m planning to do in the future?
  • Do I have a solid plan to do that project soon?

Specifically for clothes:

  • Do I feel confident when I wear this?
  • Do I not wear it because it’s scratchy or uncomfortable?
  • Do I not wear it because it has a tear or stain?
  • How likely am I to fix it in the next month?
  • Does it fit?
  • If it did and I could wear it today, would I?
  • Is it still my style?
Clothes Professionally Organized in a Closet by Orderly & Co

If you’re still finding it difficult to purge certain things that you know you don’t need or want anymore, it’s possible that it’s due to being attached to the clutter emotionally. Don’t be afraid to seek help from the pros!

How will I know when I’m done purging my home?

The work is never ‘really’ done - it’s like cleaning - but the more frequently you evaluate the items you have in your home and regularly purge, the easier and more manageable it is. With each category you de-clutter, you will feel a sense of peace that comes from knowing that every item serves a purpose, either functional or beautiful.

It can be helpful to keep a donation bin handy in the garage or somewhere in your home where you can regularly place items that you’re ready to purge.

Tip for keeping clutter out of your home:

Before you purchase an item, consider how often you’ll actually use it. If you’ll only use it once or twice a year, think about renting or borrowing instead – especially if you are tight on storage space in your home!

Kitchen Drawer Professionally Organized by Orderly & Co. in Denver, CO

Tips for Donating, Recycling, and Trash in Colorado:

You’ve purged a category and are feeling amazing about the empowering choices you have made for yourself – congratulations! Now what do you do with the donations, recycling, or any hazardous trash?

Common items that cannot be donated:

  • Opened/used food, toiletries, makeup
  • Makeup and toiletries can expire and cause infections.
  • Car seats - Car seats cannot be donated for safety reasons, but many counties offer recycling options

Local alternatives to chain donation centers:

Recycling:

  • Denver County Residents: denvergov.org provides info for the Cherry Creek Recycling Drop-Off
  • Boulder County Residents: bouldercounty.org has a map of recycling drop-off centers
  • Visit your county’s website for recycling drop-off locations and accepted items

Hazardous Material Disposal:

  • Denver County: Offers pick-up through wmatyourdoor.com for a small fee
  • Boulder County: Hazardous Materials Management Facility offers appointments for drop-off for a small fee
  • Visit your county’s website for disposal locations, cost, and accepted items

Bulk Trash:

  • Most counties offer bulk/extra trash pickup every 4-8 weeks
  • Visit your county’s website for bulk trash schedule and accepted items

Purging clutter doesn’t mean getting rid of the things you love! It allows you to live the life you want by honoring where you are now, not where you were in the past. Bonus: less clutter means easier cleaning and lower stress levels!

Elizabeth Calender, Professional Organizer and Owner of Orderly @ Co. in Denver, Colorado