decluttering for busy people–perpetual decluttering

how to make decluttering easyBecause of my tendency to, ahem, hoard things, you know: empty jars and containers, scrap paper for craft, other people’s junk… and because we have young children who are growing rapidly, decluttering is a constant process in our household.

It’s that time of the year again when you’ve probably seen all around the webosphere decluttering tips and challenges.

But it’s hard to find the time or the motivation to declutter, even if it’s only carving out 10 minutes to clean out a drawer.

And if I do make time for a good declutter, I find it’s only a matter of weeks or months before I need to do it again.

Which is why I’ve started a perpetual decluttering system.

perpetual decluttering

Perpetual decluttering means you’re always decluttering.

Which is not as onerous as it sounds.

Here’s how it works.

First, set up a box or a bag for stuff that needs to go to the charity store. If you sell your things second hand, you can also set up a box for stuff you want to sell. And of course, rubbish can just go in the bin or into recycling.

Give your declutter box a permanent spot in the house. Mine is in the top of one of the kid’s wardrobes.

Now whenever you come across an item that you no longer need, you just throw it straight in the box.

10 second decluttering!

So, if I’m looking through the kitchen drawer and I come across something I haven’t used in ages, then I put it straight in the box for the charity store. If I’m dressing the little lady and I’m trying to wrestle her into a top that obviously doesn’t fit anymore, it goes straight into the box (clean, by the way). If I come across a baby toy that the kids no longer play with, it goes straight into the box.

You get the idea.

Once the box is full, I put it into the boot in the car and put a new, empty box in the cupboard. We get our fruit and vegetables packed in vege boxes, so I always have boxes in the house. The kids play with them and they come in handy for many things.

The charity store is on the way home from the little fella’s kindy, so it’s a five minute job to drop the full box off.

If there are things in the ‘to sell’ box, I list them online when I get some spare time. It’s a great way to make a bit of spare ‘fun money’.

While it can be cathartic, and occasionally necessary to go through your things and have a big clean out, it’s not always practical. By having a perpetual decluttering system in place, you keep on top of the clutter, making life easier in the process.

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  1. Astrid says

    Fairly similar these days. Just the drop off to the op shop is not convenient, so I often end up with a full boot.
    Can’t be bothered selling. I procrastinate too much, so it would just end up being hoarded in the shed rather than the house.
    There is lady at work whose eldest is just one year younger then my youngest. So any usable clothing of her and the odd toy go to her.

    • says

      It’s great when we can pass things on like that! A lot of the kids clothes have been things passed around our Mother’s Group, especially now that people are on their second child of the opposite gender!

  2. says

    I love this Melissa. It’s roughly what I do, except I have a box or bag by the front door (not as neat and tidy, but easy to get to). And usually another one hidden away in my study (converted garage) for things I may not want the kids to see!

    I still have a massive amount of clutter though, and also a BUNCH of stuff waiting to be sold, that I just have to get to soon!

    • says

      Wardrobes a great for putting things in and then forgetting about stuff I had a major wardrobe declutter the other day after the termite man was tripping over stuff looking for termites – a bit embarrassing.