Clearing out your home should never be a one-person job. If it were up to us alone, we'd probably never see, let alone get rid of the things we're needlessly keeping. It takes a trusted compadre's objective eye and real-talk approach to truly appraise what should stay and what should go. Plus, having your friends in on the process ensures that your plan to go through your winter clothes will actually come to fruition because they're counting on you to make it happen (and possibly lurking to see if you will actually finally part with that pair of boots you promised them six months ago). Throwing a declutter party is the best of both worlds – get things organized while making a fun event out of it.
If you're serious about minimizing, make a social event of it and throw a declutter party. Here's a few decluttering tips for your home to get started with:
Start with two or three likeminded pals who live nearby and also need assistance with cleanout. Pick a designated day and time when you can visit all of your homes. Plan to spend an hour at each residence before moving on to the next. When working together, it makes it much easier to figure out how to declutter your home fast in the most efficient way possible.
Keep It Contained
Before you start, choose two to three categories or areas to focus on—that could be your cookbook collection, your garage or your junk drawer. Or you can give the whole project a theme, e.g., a clothing swap. It allows you to declutter and organize without overwhelming yourself.
This is a party, after all, so it should be festive. Bring wine if it will help you relax and enjoy the process. Light snacks like cheese and fruit will help keep up your energy for difficult decision making. Keep some chocolate or cookies on-hand for when group morale needs a boost.
Set Some Ground Rules
Create guidelines for your process to make sure it goes smoothly. What are your criteria for giving things away? Will you use the 12-month rule (have I used this item within the last 12 months?) or the KonMari rule (does this item make me happy?) How will you make final decisions, by consensus, or will you assign a "referee" for each home? If one person agrees to take an item home, then that person might need to give an extra item away (the one-in, one-out rule).
Create an Exit Strategy
Decide on a few piles or bags to sort discards: To be saved for a specific person who can actually use it, to be donated, to be recycled, to be thrown out. Identify your nearest clothing drop-off stations, resale stores and charities that take donations. Join your local Buy Nothing group, which can be a great place to share one-off items. Providence is a great city for consignment and thrift stores—make them part of your decluttering routine.
Getting rid of clutter is no easy feat. If your party was a success, plan to do another one in six months to a year and stay ahead of the clutter. Providence has great resources for decluttering which is helpful to keep in mind for your next project. Some of the best Providence decluttering resources include:
- Buy Nothing Edgewood, Cranston and S. Elmwood/Washington Park
- Buy Nothing Hope/Mt. Hope/Blackstone
- E-Waste (electronic recycling)
- Hope Returns (children's clothing resale and gifts)
- Salvation Army
- Togs on Brook (consignment clothing)
Not near Providence but interested in decluttering as well? Check out these national resources for decluttering: