The First Step To Declutter Your Home in 2019
Decluttering and simplifying are big themes this year for the start of 2019. With the launch of Marie Kondo’s new Netflix series Tidying Up on January 1st, I am noticing a sudden increase in articles and discussions about this topic!
With that in mind, I wanted to share with you my absolute number one first step that anyone can take to start some decluttering in their own home. Whether you have particular project in mind (like finally tackling the junk room or the basement this year), or if you simply want to declutter a bit in general, this step will work for anyone.
What is this all important first step?
Here it is!
Put a Box Labelled
Near the Front Door of Your Home.
It’s as easy as that! This one simple change in your home, putting a box with the word Donations on it somewhere near your front door, will kickstart your decluttering journey in 2019.
You don’t have to put anything in the box right away (although go right ahead if you want to!). It’s just an empty box for now.
Be sure to put your new Donations box in a spot that is out in the open where you will see it every day. Choose a good spot, because this box is going to live there for a while!
Note: I don’t want you to put this box somewhere that will cause people to trip over it of course! (Let’s not create new tripping hazards in our home shall we? Our goal in decluttering is to remove those!)
The box can be placed against a wall, in a corner, even under a console table is fine. It just needs to be visible.
Why A Box By the Door?
This Donations Box has two purposes:
1) It is a daily visual reminder for you to think about finding items in your home that you no longer need.
2) It is a temporary holding spot for the items that you will donate to a local charity. Once the box is full, out the door it goes!
How does it work?
You’ll see this Donations Box every day on your way in and and out of the house. This box is a visual reminder that will trigger your brain to look at your belongings in a new way.
Suddenly when you look at an object in your home, you might start to think:
Hmmm, do I need this
Maybe this should go
in the donations box!
The neat thing about the Donations Box is that over time it will magically fill up with stuff!
It might happen in a day, or it might take 3 months. But eventually, wonderfully, one day you’ll look at it and discover that the box is full.
How did that happen???
It happens because slowly you will develop a new habit of looking at an item in your home, deciding it’s time to let it go, and moving it into the box by the door.
One by one, these little things will add up!
Actually, it’s not magic. It’s all about forming a new habit.
But trust me, on that day when you find a full box that is ready to be taken to charity, it will sure feel like magic!
So What should this box look like?
Start with just a simple cardboard box.
You likely already have one around the house! Think of your Amazon shipping box from your latest purchase, or a diaper box, a moving box, or a box from your last trip to Costco.
Where should This box be placed?
Nearby the front door of your home is best, or whichever door you use most often to enter or exit the home (it could be the mud room or the door that leads to the garage). If you live in a shared household with other family members, this box could go beside the door of your bedroom.
Most important: the box must be visible and out in the open. Don’t tuck it in a closet. You can move it temporarily if it’s in the way when you have people coming over, but 99% of the time it should live in a spot that is in your line of sight every day.
What goes in the Donations Box?
Almost any household item that belongs to you personally (not another family member!) is a fair candidate.
In the interest of family
harmony,never ever ever
donate something that doesn’t
belong to you personally.
Be sure that the items that go in this box are NOT trash or recycling.
These are items that are on the list of accepted goods by local charities, are small enough to fit in the box, are in good condition, and are things that you are happy to part with.
Housewares and Kitchen Gadgets
How long should The box stay?
Once it’s full, out the door it goes!
However, a Donation Box could easily become a permanent fixture in your home. As soon as it’s full, start a new one!
The actual box itself can be temporary. The great thing about using cardboard shipping boxes is that you can simply close up the top and take it straight to a charity or thrift store when the box is full. Then you replace it with a new cardboard box the next day.
It could also be a permanent box that lives there all the time, and when it’s full you empty the contents into a bag to take to charity.
are there any rules?
You can make your own rules, or have none at all! It’s up to you really.
This is your donation box.
That being said, I have some ideas for you! Feel free to implement or not as you like:
Don’t take things back out of the box.
Once an item goes in, the great thing is that you don’t have to think about it anymore! You’ve already made the decision to donate it!
If you are feeling deep anxiety & regret before the item leaves the house then yes, take it back out the box and think about it some more before you donate it.
But if you find yourself wondering “I bet I could still find a use for that someday!”, instead try thinking about the benefits this item might bring to the next person who receives it - and then leave it in the box :)
Don’t ever put something in the box that doesn’t belong to you personally.
I mentioned this one earlier but this worth repeating. Your spouse and family members will be REALLY upset if you put something in the box that belongs to them. Don’t do this!
Decide in advance where the donations will be going.
Research a local charity or thrift store (such as Goodwill, Women in Need Society, your local Animal Rescue / Humane Society, homeless shelters, thrift stores) and familiarize yourself with their list of items they accept.
This will give you a helpful guideline & ideas for what to put in your donation box.
Best of luck with your first step to decluttering your home this year, and thank you for reading!