Starting any simplification project can feel overwhelming, but giving yourself a few guidelines can certainly help ease the stress. We continue our series with five tips to declutter your daily surroundings, including knolling which we think you're going to love if you don't already...
6. Clutter Triage
Boxes do wonders as decluttering tools. Grab three empty boxes, tape and a marker. Label each one with something like “put away,” “give away” and “throw away.” By categorizing your mess, you’re taking the first step to compartmentalize what's all around you and organize it into its proper place, where it will take up less space in your visual field and in your mind.
After you've categorized your mess, you’re halfway there. Put the contents of the "throw away" box in the trash. Put the "give away" box in your car or by the door, ready for a trip to a local thrift store or nonprofit who could use them. Finally, concentrate on that “put away” box. Having a portable box will help you easily restock those misplaced items back in their proper place.
7. Organize with Bins
Your stuff needs a home. Some folks like to have their stuff easily accessible at a glance, while for others, it has to be out-of-sight to be out-of-mind. First, assess what type of person you are and what will bring you peace, then make it so. In either case, organization bins can help. We’re hybrid in our approach, because we like to organize with clear bins and labels behind closed cabinet doors. The cabinet doors keep our visual field tidy, and the clear labeled bins allow us to easily locate what we're looking for. If you prefer your bins to be out in the open, you may want to invest in better bins that you like the look of to do a better job not just organizing but obscuring the mess.
8. Eliminate Duplicates
There are so many duplicates in our homes. You can make a lot of progress to declutter by coming up with a list of things in your home of which you have multiples. Have a look around your room, identify and reduce. I’ll go first sitting here in my office… 3 monthly planners, 2 notebooks, 3 pairs of scissors, 3 pen holder mugs, 4 chairs, 15 iPhone cables, 2 vacuum cleaners, 2 pencil sharpeners, 2 sewing machines, 5 rolls of tape (and 2 dispensers), an extra monitor, plus coins I’ll never use. I could go on — and this is after I’ve straightened up!
Just pick a few things to eliminate, maybe one per day. Your goal is to get into the habit so that you learn to think critically about what you surround yourself with. Clutter is a never-ending battle, but with practice you can become better at resisting it.
9. Always. Be. Knolling.
What is it about things organized neatly? Flatlays. Outfit grids. Pocket dumps. It's so much more than just a trendy instagram post – it's called knolling, and it's a tremendously helpful skill to bring order to your everyday life. Taking a moment to knoll your tools or your desk will give you an instant feeling of zen. Everything is easily at your fingertips; sanity is restored. Watch Tom Sachs explain:
Fun Fact: Videographer Casey Neistat worked at Tom Sachs' studio, hence the familiar organization of tools in his wildly popular studio video (with 5,181,516 views and counting).
10. Measure Your Progress
Speaking of aesthetically pleasing photos, try to remember to take before and after pictures of your decluttering efforts! This will not only help you appreciate what a difference you’ve made, but seeing the proof that you can do it will motivate you to keep things clean and tidy in the future. Messes can be overwhelming, and sometimes we just need a little reminder of what life could be like with just a little effort.