Organizing and decluttering has become a way of life in recent years. It’s not surprising when considering the number of homeowners in North America who completed a major project since the start of 2020. People are staying home more, now for different reasons, and the home should be a place of relaxation, and enjoyment, rather than clutter and stress. As of January 2024, #Decluttering has over 820K posts on Instagram, with #DeclutteringTips coming in with over 72K. In terms of organization, #OrganizingTips boasts just under 400K posts and #OrganizationHacks has over 76K. What we can determine from the popularity of these searches is that people are passionate about organizing and decluttering their homes, and they want to do it easier and quicker.
A major reason to consider organizing and decluttering, and overall cleaning of the garage and attic is that it can help prevent pests and reduce dust. Outside of the kitchen and pantry, the garage and attic are two of the top five places in your home you are most likely to find common household pests. Discarding empty boxes, avoiding clutter in tight corners and sweeping regularly, on top of checking for cracks and gaps can help prevent them from getting into your space.
Research shows that clutter creates extra unneeded stimuli in your brain – which makes it hard to focus on everyday tasks. The act of organizing also gives you a sense of control – and feeling more in control at home can boost your confidence and productivity at work, creating greater satisfaction and overall happiness.
Decluttering reduces the overall amount of time you must invest in cleaning each week, allowing you more time and energy to be present. It also helps you to prioritize what’s most important in your life. Another benefit to organizing and decluttering is improved sleep, since you aren’t panicking about your never-ending list of things to do.
There are a lot of great tips for organizing and decluttering including:
- Start small – try cleaning the fridge or the corner of one room.
- Schedule it to hold yourself accountable and make sure you don’t let other distractions get in the way.
- Set aside at least one full day to tackle each project (a room could be multiple projects).
- Draft an amateur floor plan with where you would like to store certain things in each of your rooms.
- Take inventory of what you have before you start purging.
- Throw out expired products.
- Create boxes or piles sorting your content into:
- Keep where it is,
- relocate to another room,
- donate or give away,
- recycle, repurpose, upcycle.
- Label everything! Get an inexpensive label maker or use a tape gun, a sharpie and some paper.
When you get into the various rooms in the home, here are some great specific tips when organizing the garage.
- Use a wall mount or ceiling racks to stack storage items vertically.
- Use drawer storage cabinets or freestanding shelving units to lay out and store your items.
- Invest in high-quality weatherproof well-sealing plastic bins to preserve your belongings and avoid pests gaining access.
- Purchase an extension cord storage reel rather than having bins of cords.
- After cleaning the garage, use an epoxy floor coating to keep it cleaner and make it easier to wash in the future.
- Hose down the floor at least once a month.
If it’s finally time to head upstairs, here are some tips for decluttering the attic.
Typically, the attic is harder to access, dusty, not temp controlled, and hard on the back so the first step is deciding – are you going to bring down 1-2 things from the attic at a time to go through and organize, or bring it all down at once, clean the attic and start putting stuff back as you’ve gone through it?
- Get help – it’s more fun, less stressful and easier to do it with a friend or family member.
- Manage your expectations and know that the attic is likely a job that will take multiple days of work.
- Channel your inner Marie Kondo - does it Spark Joy? Do you want it, need it, or is it disposable?
- Map out storage zones so it’s easier to find things later.
- Put items you use the most near the entrance of the attic.
Once you’ve gone through the motions of organizing and decluttering the garage or attic, it’s important to maintain it to ensure it’s a smaller job later. Check on your spaces at least once a month to monitor for water damage, pests, etc.
- Put charcoal in your attic and garage - Just like a charcoal water filter, charcoal pieces can be used to absorb moisture and remove odor from the air in your home and is less messy than a box of baking soda.
For the best home products and services, or to talk to a professional about organizing and decluttering, or undertaking your next big home project, come to a nearby show and talk to an expert.