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Dear Storage Seeker:

While I consider our home clean and orderly, COVID-19 has caused it to become inundated with stuff. Holiday gifts, crafts, activities, school work, work-work, and whatever else my husband and I have brought into our home have taken over. At this point, I feel so overwhelmed, I’m not even sure how to declutter. I’m pretty sure my kids are starting to feel the weight of all this stuff too. Please help.

Sincerely yours,
Drowning in Denver.

Dear Denver:

The first step to getting your home decluttered and organized is recognizing that 1.) There’s a problem and 2.) You need to take steps to rectify it. While 2020 made the need to utilize every nook and cranny of your home like never before, we are now in a new year, with the promise of a brighter future ahead. As such, you – Denver, need to nip this clutter issue in the bud, now! Here are 5 simple tips to help you get started:

1.) Understand why you need to declutter – it’s not just about getting rid of stuff, it’s about your overall health and wellness.

Combating clutter is key to improving your own mental health. Research has shown that feeling overwhelmed (which you said you are experiencing) causes stress, and stress is the leading cause of health problems. Failure to tackle this now will undoubtedly affect how you and your family feel about your home. It will no longer provide you with rest and relaxation after a long day at the office or school (or several weeks in quarantine). This isn’t just about the clutter – it’s about making your home one that you can wind down in and enjoy, and not feel paralyzed by.

2.) Instead of looking at your home in its entirety, focus on one area at a time so that you can target and get rid of the clutter once and for all.

Break your home up into small sections, choosing a room, and then specific areas within that room to focus on. For example, if you decide to focus on your bedroom, you may first choose to declutter a closet (for approximately 15-20 minutes a day, or more if you so desire), and then move on to your dresser or under-the-bed storage when that is complete. By making the areas you are targeting more manageable (time and work-wise) you will feel less overwhelmed and more accomplished, energizing you to go further.

3.) Be honest with yourself. Determine what it is you need, what it is you don’t, and make the necessary arrangements (ie: donate or discard).

As you clean out specific areas within your home, determine what it is you need to keep and what it is you don’t by asking yourself if you have used the item within the past  3 months, or plan to over the next 3. If you haven’t used it, donate it, and if you can’t use it and no one else can, toss it, and please don’t look back. The goal is to clear out as many items as you can, not to hold on to anything unnecessary. If you have larger items on hand, such as sports equipment, camping gear, seasonal decor, collectibles, or memorabilia, consider renting a local self-storage unit to maximize space within your home for items you need each day. Prices are affordable, and locations are secure, ensuring your items stay safe (without breaking the bank).

4.) Rotate your children’s toys so that they have a “fresh” set to play with every 2 or 3 weeks.

Instead of having all of your children’s toys on hand to play with at any given moment, consider renting a storage unit nearby so that you can cycle through their toys every 2-3 weeks. Your children will feel as if they are playing with something new, and your home will feel more spacious and clear. By keeping items off-site to switch out, your children will appreciate and enjoy all that they have, rather than feeling overwhelmed themselves (unsure of what to play with on their own).

5.) Decluttering is a continuous process – set up a cleaning plan and schedule that your entire family can participate in so that your home STAYS organized!

There are countless cleaning plans available online for free that you can use to make sure you keep your home remains sparkling clean and clutter-free! Best of all, by assigning each member of your family and age-appropriate task to complete each day or week, you are helping to show your children that everyone has a role to play within the home. Maybe if all of your tasks are complete, you can do something fun together – such as a family dinner and a movie night, ice cream before dinner, or an adventure to a local museum, zoo, or attraction (once COVID has subsided of course).

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Start small, recognize what you can get rid of, what you need to rent self-storage for, and be committed to the upkeep. In just one month, you will see a change within your home (making 2021 that much better).

Happy decluttering!