The secret to decluttering your home after the holidays is using a system of baby steps. Too many people try to completely overhaul their homes in one day. If you try to do it all at once, then you are going to burn out quickly.

There are plenty of fun ways to declutter your home and not contribute to a local landfill. Read on to find out how much time it takes to simplify your living space as well as the easiest ways to get the job done.

How Much Time Does it Really Take to Declutter?

Decluttering your home can happen in as little as five minutes a day. Although this sounds like a ridiculous amount of time to tackle a large area, such as a basement or garage, working in smaller snippets of time throughout the day can help you avoid burn out.

Some experts recommend working for a bit longer, 15 minutes a day, as a baby step in decluttering your home. Most people can squeeze in 15 minutes at least once during the day to get rid of items they no longer need. One organizational expert, known as FlyLady, recommends splitting your home into zones to help declutter a little bit of your entire home each month.

According to FlyLady, you should never pull out more than you can put back in 15 minutes to keep from feeling overwhelmed. By only tackling a small area for 15 minutes at a time, you can still manage to declutter your entire home in just a few months. Even just five or ten minutes of focused decluttering can make a difference in your home.

What to Keep and What to Give Away

Deciding what to keep and what to throw away can leave some people emotionally paralyzed, which results in procrastination. Experts recommend labeling four boxes before you begin decluttering: give away, keep, throw away and relocate. Items that do not belong in a particular room should go into the relocate box and be put away as soon as your decluttering session is over.

The throw away box can also double as a recycling box, or you can assign a box specifically for recyclables.

As you work a small area for a few minutes a day, assign each item to a box. If you come across an item that you are not sure if you want to part ways with, consider the following:

  • Do I need this item?
  • Do I have a duplicate of this item somewhere else in the house?
  • If I don’t need the item, does it have sentimental value?
  • Do I love this item or does it make me feel good to look at it?
  • Would someone else I know enjoy this item more?

These questions may make it easier to let certain items go. When you receive new items such as kitchen gadgets, glassware and other knick-knacks during the holidays, hold a decluttering session to weed out the items you no longer need or want to make room for the newer things.

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Dealing With Your Remaining Boxes

When you have filled the give away and recyclable boxes, take them directly to your car. The next time you are running errands, stop at the local charity store or recycling center for a drop-off. If you do not put the boxes in your vehicle immediately, there is a good chance you will end up keeping the items in your home.

Another suggestion is to wait to buy organizer bins, totes and baskets until you have sorted and decluttered your home. You cannot clean clutter, and too many totes can easily become more clutter in your living space.

Fun Ways to Sort Through Clutter

Decluttering your home after the holidays doesn’t have to be a harrowing task, either, if you make it into a game. As soon as the holidays are over, gather all of your wrapping paper, bows and ribbon, and give them a home. You can use a tote or a hanging bag in a closet. As you take down your ornaments, consider each one and whether you really like it. If not, donate it to your local charity store or give it to a friend or family member.

You can play a decluttering game by gathering a certain number of items during your decluttering session. Choose any number, such as 10, and gather 10 items for the give away box, 10 items for the recyclable or throw away box, and 10 items for the relocate box. Try to play this game as quickly as possible, and once you’ve made your decision about which box it goes in, don’t take it out and keep it.

Other fun ways to sort your clutter include hanging all of your clothes in the closet with the hangers facing one way. As you wear each item, turn the hanger in the opposite direction. The items of clothing you haven’t worn after six months should go in the give away box.

Organizing your home after the busyness of the holidays won’t be stressful if you follow these tips. Pick a time period to spend sorting through an area of your home and decide what items you really need and/or love. Let the rest of it go to someone who may truly need that item or find other ways to recycle it, then you can sit back and enjoy your clutter-free home.