How To Actually Declutter Your Space (Beyond Your Closet), According To The Pros
Every time we go to to declutter our space, we aren't quite sure where to start. Sometimes the mess is so overwhelming it seems like we'll never feel organized again! But take a deep breath, put on your favorite girl power tunes, and get ready to roll because we've got some tips and tricks to help you *actually* clean up your space this spring.
In addition to the decluttering process, we chatted with Clara Albornoz, co-founder and co-CEO of List Perfectly, where resellers can bulk crosspost on 11 (and counting) peer-to-peer marketplaces at once, for some ideas on what to do once you've purged your stuff.
Step One: The Declutter
Before you can sell, donate, or swap, you need to declutter.
"If you have an attic or basement, this is usually extra area in our homes where we really store stuff we don’t need. Out of sight, out of mind," Albornoz says. Consider clothes that don't fit right, old toys, and games you never play. "Don’t forget sports equipment and video games."
If you are feeling overwhelmed by everything you need to do, break down your tasks however is most effective for you. Make a checklist to help you take things one step at a time, or make different piles around your room before you start going through every item.
While some of your items will be trash and some can be donated, Albornoz also recommends swapping with friends and family, "especially to get more life out of clothing."
Host a clothing swap, or have everyone bring books they've already read to create your own free bookstore!
Have You Decluttered These Areas?
- Your Vanity: Check out your beauty products to see if anything is expired, or find some duplicates to give to a friend or sibling.
- Your Bookshelf: There's a chance that unless a book is special to you, you'll only read it once. Be honest with your reading goals, and see if there's anything you can part with. If none of your friends want your old books, donate to your local library!
- Your Closet: We're talking about more than just going through your old clothes. If you keep storage bins in your closet (or under your bed), go through and see if there's any ways you can combine or refold items to maximize your space.
- Your Desk: Blank papers, old documents, empty notebooks, oh my! Every few months, it seems like our desks are overflowing with items that we never use and don't need. Tackle that for a cleaner workspace.
- The Pantry: While you definitely want to keep an eye on expiration dates for food, see which products are getting low. You may be able to combine containers to free up shelf space and keep things fresh.
- Your Piggy Bank: If you find yourself with tons of spare change, roll up your coins and deposit them into your bank account.
- Your DIY Area: We'll be honest, our DIY area is a bit of a mess. Fabric scraps, ribbons, glue guns... If you think you're in a similar situation, go through and figure out what you can actually use and what needs to be tossed.
Step Two: Selling
Once you've cleaned out your space, you need to figure out what to do with all your old items. One option is to sell them.
"Do your research and see what items are selling for," Albornoz says. Instead of looking at listing prices, check out what items are actually selling for on Google's shopping tab. "You want to know realistically what price you could get for something."
"The main thing if you’re selling is to sell the right items on the right platforms," Albornoz says. "If you’re selling clothing, look into Poshmark. eBay is great for all kinds of different items. Etsy tends toward hand-made and crafty items, but also household items. Books can sell on many platforms but do well on Amazon and eBay."
In addition to selling items that are currently trendy, you probably have older items that could make you a lot of money. According to USA Today, American Girl items were selling for thousands of dollars in 2018, and with the return of 90s and 00s trends, VHS tapes (especially Black Diamond editions) and cassette players are starting to become hot commodities again.
Step Three: Upcycling
If you don't want to part with something, consider upcycling it! Upcycling is a great way to give an old thrift store item some new life or get more use out of something that's no longer in style.
"Upcycling helps keep items from landfills, increases the life of items, and helps the environment," Albornoz says. "Maybe an old t-shirt could be upcycled into a dress, or an old dress could be decorated to make it a whole new dress!"
Check out our online sewing class for a quick sewing 101, break out your tie dye and embroidery tools, or give an old piece of furniture a fresh coat of paint. Upcycling is easier than you think, plus it'll save you money *and* help you stay on trend at the same time!
Three Upcyling Ideas:
- DIY Cherry Blossom Jeans: Give your denim a breath of fresh spring air with a little bit of paint.
- Sequin Skates: All you need for a totally unique pair of skates are some sequin strands and a glue gun. Easy-peasy!
- Anthro-Inspired Fringe Purse: A little bit of embroidery floss goes a long way in turning your old clutch into something brand new!
Life can be messy, so don't worry if you start noticing clutter again, even if it's the day after you've cleaned. That being said, there are a few things you can do everyday to keep your stuff in check.
A Quick Declutter
Every morning or evening, depending on your schedule, do a quick tidy up around your bedroom or living room. Old takeout bins, shoes, and laundry are easy to deal with, and if you take a few minutes every day to clean up, you won't have to spend a large chunk of time later on!
Divide And Conquer
Come up with a system for keeping your items contained. You can buy (or DIY) drawer dividers to keep desk supplies separated, or put your hats, shoes, and accessories in labeled containers to make sure nothing is left in a random place.
Evaluate Before You Buy
If we're honest with ourselves, we could cut down on clutter by just... buying less. Whether you print some travel pictures in lieu of a souvenir or skip buying a new notebook because you already have two empty ones at home, you'll save yourself space in the long run. If you really like something, give yourself 24 hours. If you're still thinking about it, it's probably a good purchase.
B+C Editorial Assistant, Swiftie | Chloe is from the Outer Banks (yes, like the Netflix show!). When she isn't writing or updating her blog Pastels and Pop Culture, Chloe enjoys watching Marvel movies or texting her sister about the latest celebrity news. Say hi at @thechloewilliams on Insta and @popculturechlo on Twitter!