It’s officially time to start spring cleaning. For many of us, that means that decluttering is at the top of the to-do list. With that in mind, we decided to bring you four easy decluttering tips that will help you make the most of your next spring cleaning project. Read them over to get a sense of how you can tackle this task from start to finish.

Start by breaking down your spring cleaning project into manageable goals. Image: Tiko Aramyan/Shutterstock

Set manageable goals

Believe it or not, the first step to most successful decluttering projects doesn’t have anything to do with sorting through knickknacks. Instead of just diving right in, home organization experts agree that it’s best to write out a set of goals for your project. Create a to-do list of sorts that breaks the decluttering process down into a series of small, manageable steps.

As you write out your to-do list, keep in mind that you can make the steps to this process as general or complex as you need them to be. For example, rather than trying to clean out the whole house in one day, you could decide to tackle the kitchen one day and your living room the next. You can also break down each step into subtasks like “put away laundry” or “pick up stray toys.”

Sort your clutter into three boxes: keep, donate and throw away. Image: Photo Melon/Shutterstock

Use the “three box method”

Once you know what your goals are for this project, it’s time to start decluttering. It’s best to have a method in mind for how you’re going to sort your clutter before you officially get started. In this case, we recommend the “three box method.” It works like this: you simply sort your belongings into one of the three following boxes.

  • Keep: These are all the items that you still use on a regular basis. You don’t need to worry about putting any of these items away just yet. Just put them in the box for now and leave the organization for later.
  • Donate: This box will hold items that you don’t want or use any longer. However, they’re still in good enough shape to be used by someone else. They can be donated or sold.
  • Throw away: Sometimes an item is just at the end of its lifespan. In that case, it goes in this box to get thrown away.

Sort the items you’re keeping before you buy new storage tools. Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Reorganize first, then buy

After you have all your items sorted, it’s time to focus on reorganization. We know that, at this point, it can be tempting to run out and buy lots of those fancy, coordinated storage containers that you see on Instagram. However, we’d advise against going out and spending money until you have a clearer idea of what exactly it is that you need.

To do this, start by focusing on the items in your “keep” box. The goal here is to make sure that every item in the box has a defined place to be kept in the room. Start by putting away the items that already have a set place and leave the rest until the end. Once you’re left with only the odds-and-ends that don’t yet have a home, go shopping for storage solutions. This way, you’ll have a much clearer picture of what tools you need to stay organized.

Finish each task completely before moving on to the next one. Image: LightField Studios/Shutterstock

Complete each task, completely

This is often the hardest step. Before you can move on to the next task on your list of goals, you need to make sure that you’ve finished your current task completely. This means finding a place for all those odds-and-ends, bringing any donations to their proper place and lugging any throw-away items to the trash.

We know that it’s easy to just leave those items for later, but that’s how they end up being forgotten. If you can, it’s best to deal with items right away. Get them out of the way and you can bask in the satisfaction of a job well done.