Clutter is a sneaky thing. Before you know it, one piece of paper has turned into ten, your kid's stuffed animals have magically reproduced, and wait, didn't you just clean the garage last month?

If you feel suffocated by 'stuff' and completely overwhelmed by the thought of dealing with it all, we can help! Check out our five foolproof steps for decluttering your home and start taking back your space. We've even got a free downloadable checklist at the end of this post to guide you through the major areas of your home, including 150 items you can say goodbye to today!

1: Prep!

Set yourself up for success before you dig in. Schedule time in your calendar specifically for decluttering, whether you plan on working for several hours or just 20 minutes a day until you reach your goal. This will keep you accountable and ensure that you get started. After all, at its core, clutter is really just delayed decisions.

When it's time to begin, make sure you have several large trash bags at the ready, and bins or baskets to help keep chaos to a minimum.

2: Work in Categories, Not Rooms

Organizing room by room seems like a logical approach, but decluttering expert Marie Kondo advises against it. She's based her entire organizational methodology on the idea of working through categories first. Rather than starting in one room and only moving on to the next once it's finished, begin instead with a category - clothing for example. This way you won't have to confront a new closet of clothes each time you move from bedroom to bedroom, because you will have organized the entire category in one fell swoop.

Break large categories (like clothing) down into smaller groups to avoid overwhelming yourself. Coats and jackets, seasonal wear and accessories can each be their own category. Still not sure where to begin? Start with whatever area bothers you the most. Cluttered cabinets? Mountains of mismatched shoes? Select one item or area and stick with it until you've cleared the whole category.


3: Love It, Use It, or Lose It

Once you've settled on where to start, it's time to get real with yourself. As you move through each item, ask, Do you love it? Do you use it? If not, you already know what to do. Lose it! Take to heart William Morris' famous quote: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." 

Everyone knows it can be hardest of all to let go of sentimental items. Professional Organizer Monica Friel recommends taking a picture of the sentimental item and going one step further by writing down its history and significance. This special record of your memories will be much more significant and valuable to you than a pile of things you don't use or have space for.

4: Shop for Storage

It's easy to get overzealous when you first embark on an organizing spree, and start purchasing bins and boxes before even considering where to put them or what to put inside. Slow down! Only when you've successfully figured out what to keep and what to let go of, should you start thinking about purchasing organizing materials. Take time to analyze your space. How do you need it to function? What is your goal? Envision what you want it to look like, take measurements, and create a system.

Do you have more shoes than clothes in your closet? Is your dream garage a streamlined space with a home for every last tool and toy? 

That's where we come in! IRIS offers storage solutions for every inch of your home, from ultra-rugged utility totes to stackable shoeboxes designed to fit your highest heels. 

5: Keep It Up!

Nothing beats the feeling of a freshly decluttered space. You can breathe easier, you feel more energetic and motivated, and you're positive that you'll always keep it in tip-top shape from here on out. Wishful thinking? No way! It's entirely possible, as long as you make a plan. Whether you continue to schedule regular decluttering sessions in your calendar or make rules such as "one in, one out" when it comes to adding new clothes to your closet, having a simple plan in place can set you up for success.

We want to help kickstart your organizational ambitions, so we've created the Ultimate Decluttering Checklist with over 150 items to toss today! This room-by-room checklist will guide you through some of the most problematic areas of the home, and might even open your eyes to clutter you didn't even know you had!

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