Deciding where you are going to start your decluttering journey is key to having success. If you choose an area of your home that is too difficult, you might lose your way and give up too soon. Choose an area where you will be able to quickly and easily answer questions like this:
Do you use this item more than once a year?
Do you NEED this?
Do you LOVE this?
Does it bring you JOY?
My top recommendation is to start with your clothes. You might have A LOT of clothes, jewelry, or shoes but as you go through things one by one, you will find it easier and easier to answer these questions once you get started.
The first thing to do when you start with your clothes, is to bring all of YOUR clothes from every part of the house that they might be kept in and place them in one area. I suggest the floor or the bed in the master bedroom or wherever you have enough room to pile everything as you go through. Think coat closet, backdoor coat hooks, bathroom, dresser drawers, your laundry room, etc.
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! It may seem like you are making a GIGANTIC mess...but you've got to trust me! This is key!!! When you see ALL your clothes in one place, you finally realize that you could never hope to wear all the clothes you have in the space of a couple weeks or even a month! If you wouldn't wear that many clothes, you don't need to keep that many clothes! And seeing how many things you have will help you be pickier as you start to look through everything! (Also make sure you are only focusing on decluttering the clothes for one family member at a time.)
Alright, now all you need is to put everything into 3 piles.
- Pile #1 - Get Rid of Pile
You have got to be ruthless here. If it doesn't fit, put it in this pile. If it has a stain and so you never wear it anymore, put it here. If you love the style, but hate the color, it goes here. If you love the color, but hate the style, it goes here. If you got it from a friend but you don't actually like it, put it here. If you have had it for forever and you don't wear it anymore, it goes here. If you love the piece but it just doesn't look good on YOU, put it here. There are other clothes out there waiting for you!!!
- Pile #2 - Maybe's
As you are going through your clothes, you need to be quick at making the decision. Pick up the piece of clothing and ask the questions, "Does this piece of clothing bring me joy?" "Do I absolutely LOVE this piece?" "Do I actually wear this piece?" And then depending on the answer, stick it right into the correct pile. Do not agonize over it!
If you come across a piece of clothing that you just can't make the decision on quickly, just stick it into this pile and move on. Once you finish going through ALL the clothes, you can come back to this pile and you will find that it is much easier to decide where each piece goes from all the practice you got on the other easier pieces of clothing!
- Pile #3 - For Sure Keeping!
All the pieces of clothing that you ABSOLUTELY LOVE, go here!!! And no one gets to make that decision but you! It can be helpful to have another person there to help you declutter your clothes, but you are the only one who knows whether a piece of clothing brings you JOY or not! So, trust your instincts and go with your gut! Chances are you already know exactly which pieces are going to go in this pile!
Once you have gone through each piece of clothing and you have made your piles and gone back through your "Maybe" pile and made decisions on those pieces, the rest is easy! Just stick all the "Get Rid of Clothes" in a black garbage bag (or two, or three...I think I had 4 bags I got rid of when I went through my closet for reals!) and take them straight to ARC.
Do not pass go, do not collect $200, do not do anything else with the clothes except get them out of your house right away! Also, please, do not give your clothes that you don't want to someone else you love...unless they actually are IN NEED of clothes, you are only giving them more things to declutter from their house.
(There were like 10 pieces of clothes that were really nice that I did pass on to some family members...but I didn't make them look through all 4 black garbage bags...no one has time for that! Most people have the clothes they already love in their closets and everyone's style is so different that what you love is not likely to be something someone else you know really loves.)
Check out my post on a capsule wardrobe for even more tips on how to declutter your clothes for good!