Ruth Chafin Interior Design

The Inland Empire's "voice of Experience" since 1979

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2020 Is The Year To Declutter

Post-Holiday Home Declutter

The Holidays are gone, the decorations are all organized and put away. Now you begin assessing your new beginnings for this year and top of the list is to declutter your home, so where do you start?

The clutter did not get there overnight so remember: it will take a plan, discipline, and patience to conquer the task in a timely manner.
Letting go and decluttering is hard. It is a process to be learned but the rewards of a well-organized space that nurtures your soul will be the best present you will ever give yourself.
1. Re-purpose. Start out by doing a little research about where you will be donating your things that can be re-purposed. Make arrangements for a pick-up to be done weekly. I like Tuesday or Thursday because it gives me a little extra time after my weekend energy to add a little more to the pile. Churches, thrift stores, and charities are all good sources and will be happy to have their drivers pick-up on a consistent basis. Once you know they are coming next Tuesday or Thursday this will motivate you to really get busy so they will not be disappointed.
2. Set goals. Get a calendar and do some goal-setting for time frames to complete this task. Write it down and set deadlines. A room a week, a cupboard a day, a closet a day, etc. Be realistic and do not overwhelm yourself early in the process. Tackle the worst rooms last. Get used to succeeding and enjoying the rewards of a job well done. Celebrate your small successes with friends and get the support and encouragement to stay on the “Journey of Decluttering.”
3. Supplies. Assess your cleaning supplies and purchase all needed supplies so you are armed with the correct products when needed. This preparation step keeps you from getting side-tracked along the way. Always clean as you go. I never want to go back and clean, it is always so easy and rewarding to declutter and clean in the same process.
4. Label. I love labeling! Labeling helps the family return things to the proper place. I love my Brother P-touch label maker; it makes things clean and easy to read. Also, I use yellow sticky notes in the beginning steps, as I often change my mind and they are flexible. I use the labeler as a final step.
5. Notebook. I have an organization notebook. I make notes along the way regarding where things are located or other detail about the things that are out of sight. These notes come in handy 6 months from now when you are wondering, “What happened?” Or, “Where is that?” Or, “What DID I DO WITH THAT?” Often I inventory what goes into the storage boxes so I have easier recall.
Summary: You are really on a roll now, you have the disposal arranged, the calendar and deadlines set, notebook ready, cleaning supplies on hand and the cheerleaders are in the wings waiting for their call. It is now time to roll your sleeves and get started with the hard work.
Recap: Start with a small and easy room, a space that you can feel success. Hall closets, powder room, the china cabinet; get your learning curve set in a space that is not overwhelming. Leave those hard-to-do areas for a little later when you are better skilled with the process.

Key activities:
1. Sort: the key to decluttering and organization is the sorting process. All like items in the same location. As we begin the process, we are first gathering all like items to the correct location. That makes it easy to decide what is to be done with what. It becomes clear that you have too much of this, or these are broken, these are dated, these are ugly, and you question how that item ever entered your life. The process becomes clear as you then can make the next decision for its destiny. Things that do not belong in this area, just place them in the correct area and deal with those items in the future when you are assessing that space.

2. Assess all items into 4 simple categories:
a) Toss: this decision is easy, just take these items to the designated place for pick-up on Tuesday or Thursday.

b) Re-purpose: these things still have a good life and can be used by others, just not you. I love finding new homes for my stuff. My trash becomes someone else’s treasures. Make sure you have a separate designated location for the re-purposed items and the trash. You don’t want those items leaving your house to get in the wrong pile.

c) Keep: organize these things to the location they will be needed or used. Just make the pile in the correct location….do not get sidetracked and off track, stay focused on the completion of the designated task at hand.

d) Undecided: these things are the hardest to deal with. Don’t get bogged down! Just put all the undecided in one location and continue. You will return to this pile at a later time and repeat the three steps described above. The next time the decisions will be easier and clearer.

Continue this process throughout every drawer, closet, room, and space of your home. This process will develop discipline and focus to stay on task.
As you sort the things that are staying in your home and make the decision as to which room they are best suited for, remember to place them in their designated location. You will organize that space when you get to that room as there will be more items that will be added.
One step at a time. It is easy to get fragmented and overwhelmed, and then you find yourself with too many uncompleted projects and nothing completed.
The final step is the “foofing” step. Use, display and accessorize your new uncluttered space with your pretty, clean beautiful treasures that give you joy. I love this step, it is always the reward for a job well done; playing with my toys and enjoying them. This step is very energizing and becomes the driving energy for the next project and challenge.
Summary of Key Decluttering Principles:
DISCIPLINE, ORGANIZE and PATIENCE are the keys to decluttering your home, bringing new life and energy to your space. Your home is the window to your heart and soul, what do you want other people to see? Allow your home and belongings to feed and nurture you and not become a burden. Life is hard to live these days, remember to keep it simple and enjoy the process. The process will free you of the clutter that is robbing you of your life’s energy.
Get in touch: Now if you need help at any step of the way, call me. I love helping people get organized and reconnect with the belongings they treasure. This process is hard and often we need a nudge or two to get us started or keep us going or the extra set of hands to get the job done. Call me for any help you may need.

Ruth Chafin — 909-796-9422, cell 909-856-3696 and we can chat

Send your interior design questions to “Contact Us” below.

Ruth Ann Chafin has over 30 years of experience as an interior designer in the Inland Empire region. You may contact her at (909) 796-9422 the office or 909-856-3696 her cell or at “Contact Us” below if you have any questions or would like to schedule an in-home appointment.

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