If your home feels cluttered and cleaning seems overwhelming, you might need to simplify. Having fewer possessions means you’ll have less to clean and it’s easier to stay organized. If the thought of decluttering your home feels stressful, here are a few tips to help you get started.

1. Choose an Area to Begin Decluttering Your Home

Decide what area you want to declutter first. This could be the living room, a single kitchen drawer, the bedroom closet, or the cabinet in the bathroom. Give yourself adequate time to remove the clutter and thoroughly clean this area. Focusing on one place at a time makes decluttering an easier feat to accomplish. After you’ve cleared an area, don’t let it become cluttered again. When you’re finished using an item, put it away. Keep things that don’t belong in the space out of your clutter-free zone.

2. Start a “Maybe” Box

As you declutter, there will be some things you want to keep and other things you are willing to get rid of. There may also be items in your home you aren’t sure about. Create a “maybe” box to store things you haven’t used in a while but don’t feel ready to part with. Store the box somewhere out of the way.

Make a note on your calendar for six months from the date you seal the box. On that date, get the box out and decide if the items in it are worth keeping. Chances are you don’t need those items and can give them away.

3. The 90/90 Rule for Decluttering Your Home

The 90/90 rule is a guide to help you make decisions about whether or not to keep items when decluttering your home. This rule states that if you haven’t used an item in the past 90 days and you won’t need it in the next 90 days, you should get rid of it.

4. The Hanger Trick

You probably have clothes in your closet you don’t wear. If you’re on the fence about giving them away, try the hanger trick. Set a time limit of three or six months. Every time you wear a garment and hang it back up, flip the hanger the opposite way. Donate any clothes on hangers you haven’t flipped after your time limit is up.

5. Decluttering Paper in Your Home

Paper accounts for a lot of clutter in most homes. Unpaid bills, junk mail, receipts, greeting cards, and newspapers take up space and are unsightly when stacked on the kitchen table. Declutter your paper by making three groups: shred, take action, and file. Put each paper in one of the three stacks. Once you’ve sorted them, get to work. File, shred, pay the bills, and respond to cards and letters immediately. Moving forward, buy an inbox. This can be a file folder or a shallow box for your desk or counter. Put every paper you receive into the inbox. Sort the papers weekly to prevent them from piling up.

Decluttering your home can be overwhelming if you try to do it all at once. To make the job manageable, declutter a little at a time and use these strategies to help you decide what to keep and what to get rid of.

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