Do you have a junk room, a room that is rarely used because it is so disorganised. A room which is just used as a dumping ground?
To be honest when I first became interested in minimalism I didn't really know where to start with decluttering. Although I had read two books about minimalism - Francine Jay's (Miss Minimalist) The Joy of Less and Leo Babatua's The Power of Less – the reality of sorting out my own clutter was not as simple as I read in books. The problem is cluttered rooms are not places you want to spend time in especially if the amount of clutter makes the room oppressive to be in.
I found it easier to tackle small areas like editing my jewellery collection or my bedside drawer. I could devote an hour or less, go though each item in turn, weed out the excess and feel satisfied that I had completed a decluttering project. However, tackling a whole room at once was too onerous for me. Bigger areas of the house – the cluttered garage conversion/music room, our study/fourth bedroom and our garden sheds were so crammed with random clutter that I didn't know where to start. Streamlining these rooms seemed like an impossible task.
But somehow I did declutter these particularly disorganized rooms. My approach to these rooms was to declutter them little by little over several months.
The little by little approach to decluttering junk rooms
- Gather your decluttering tool kit together: bin bags, empty boxes, step ladder, cleaning cloths, and vacuum cleaner (if the room is not cleaned as often as the rest of the house).
- Set a time limit – probably no more than two hours.
- Have a general tidy-up and put away stray items in cupboards or drawers – if you can't get rid of all the clutter in one go you can at least keep it out of sight.
- Stack similar shaped items together, if they are spread about, to free up floor space. Remember you are trying to make the room more spacious.
- Group like items together.
- Throw out items that are broken. Unwanted items can be sold, donated or thrown away
- Try and work at a quick pace – don't get distracted by the sentimental value of certain items.
- Put items that you are unsure about losing to one side to consider later. You may have to consult other members of the family.
- Focus on decluttering just one small area of the room. In our garage conversion there were distinct areas and I would choose to work on one area at a time: a large cupboard, open shelves, a long desk/work surface and numerous boxes on the floor.
- Don't aim to completely declutter an area but aim to reduce the clutter by a certain amount, say half.
- Have a goal to eventually be able to turn the room into a pleasant and functional space.
- Finish your session by cleaning clear surfaces and vacuuming the room.
- Make sure that you show off your hard work to someone.
So don't put off that junk room any longer. Have a little declutter session in there and see how you get on. You don't have to give up a whole day or a weekend just see what you can achieve in a couple of hours. You can conquer the clutter little by little.