As COVID-19 spreads around the country, many of us are hunkered down in our homes, waiting it out. While the practice of self-isolation and social-distancing is critical to stop the spread of the virus, it can be painstakingly dull, and most people in the Bay Area are itching for something to do. As luck would have it, decluttering is the perfect option. In addition to being productive, decluttering is a great way to make your space more comfortable and protect your mental health during this period of lockdown.
Here’s your complete guide to decluttering during self-isolation.
The Perks of Decluttering
Why declutter, why now? Here are a few of the benefits of getting rid of junk you no longer need:
Decluttering boosts confidence. According to PsychologyToday, decluttering activates your decision-making and problem-solving skills, leading you to feel like you’re doing something during a time when many people feel inert and uninspired.
Getting rid of junk reduces anxiety. It’s easy enough to ignore your clutter when you’re out of the house for the majority of each day. The minute you’re forced to stay home all day, every day, though, it can feel like your junk is pressing in on you. Luckily, decluttering reduces anxiety and helps people feel more comfortable in their space.
Decluttering is physical. Get up and get your body moving by decluttering a long-forgotten closet or drawer. It might not be your standard morning run, but it’s something.
In addition to all the perks above, there’s the most significant and most obvious benefit: decluttering frees up space in your home! Who doesn’t want that?
How to Start Decluttering: 5 Easy Steps
Now that you understand why decluttering boosts morale let’s get started bringing the process to life. Here’s how:
1. Start with the space that bothers you the most
This could be a closet, drawer, or dresser -it’s up to you. Just think of the one spot in your home that is consistently inconvenient and frustrating, and start there. For example, maybe you have to clean up a cascade of coats each time you come home at night because there’s never enough room to hang yours on the coat rack. Maybe you can’t open your sock drawer because it’s stuffed to the brim. It might even be your home office that's covered in paperwork and old files. Or perhaps you spend entirely too much time sorting through the bathroom cabinets to find your toiletries every morning. Find your most significant pain point and start there.
2. Visualize what you want space to look like
We’re not kidding. Find some inspiration pictures. They could be of your ideal closet, dreamy pantry, or your perfect silverware drawer. In addition to providing inspiration, these pictures are a great functional guide. They tell you how much to keep and how to arrange it.
3. Set realistic expectations
During this downtime, you don’t have to tackle every single project throughout your whole home. Instead, you want this to be balanced - one thing of many you’re doing. In between bouts of decluttering, take some time to relax, learn something new, listen to a new podcast, catch up on sleep, or read a good book.
4. Cleanse while you declutter
If it feels a little stuffy inside, open up some windows and let some fresh air in! Not only will this make your space feel clean and fresh, but it’s a great way to give yourself a little energy boost, even if your outdoor time is limited these days.
5. Don’t bring any new items into your home until the decluttering process is complete
Don’t sabotage all your hard work with a rash of online shopping (although we know at this time it can be tempting). Instead, go room by room, declutter the spaces you identify as being problematic, and then make a conscious list of things you need to replace or improve. From there, you can shop intentionally and pick up only the items you truly love.
6. Ask yourself the right questions
If you’re stuck on whether to keep or toss an item, ask yourself the following questions:
Do I use this regularly?
Will I ever use this again?
These questions are simple, but they’re an excellent way to narrow down what you actually use and what you’re just holding onto out of sentiment.
Making the Most of Social Distancing
We understand self-quarantine is hard, and it seems like it’ll never end. But now is time to make the most of it. With this in mind, blast some music, identify your home’s problem areas, and get busy decluttering.