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The term “decluttering” can cause stress in nearly anybody, but when you have a big family? Forget about it!

Whether you have a few kids, several other family members living with you, or whatever your family situation might be, it can be hard enough just keeping things clean, let alone trying to pick through everything to decide what to get rid of.

BUT! It can actually be more helpful than you’re expecting! Not only are the benefits of decluttering just as helpful as you’ve heard, it can be doubly so when you have a families’ worth of stuff to put away. The occasional decluttering can make cleaning in general much easier – but how do you know where to start?

Glad you asked!


Big Family Decluttering Tips


Set a limit for how much cleaning you do

The first tip for any large project like this is to set a limit on how long you can work. This has the combined benefit of freeing up your time for other projects, as well as not letting you get too overwhelmed by trying to take too much on in one day.

Once you’ve decided to start decluttering, give yourself a time limit and a to-do list. Maybe you sort through kids’ clothes for an hour one day, maybe you go through all your books and DVDs for an hour the next day, and so on. Even if it doesn’t sound like a lot of time, the effort will add up, and things will be cleaner than you thought soon enough!


Figure out what you’re going to do with everything you get rid of

In addition to having a time limit, having a goal in mind is perfect.

Take stock of the things you’re going to declutter, and then figure out what you plan to do with it all. Are you going to donate or resell all the old clothes? Does a local library need any of those books? Will someone else want all the little tchotchkes and souvenirs you’ve been displaying on your shelves? Having a goal in mind other than “put it all in a box and throw it in the garage” will make the whole process much more productive.


Work room-by-room

No matter what it is you want to declutter (old clothes, toys nobody plays with), going space-by-space will go much easier than trying to do it all at once.

For example, you could start with the kids’ rooms. Go through their bedroom dressers and closet shelves to find clothes they don’t wear anymore, and then move on to your own wardrobe. If you’re thinking about paring down your book collection, maybe start with the living room bookshelves to donate whatever you haven’t read in forever, before tackling anything still boxed up in the garage or basement. Taking it a bit at a time will help the whole thing go much more smoothly, and make it a little less stressful for you.


Acknowledge you can’t get rid of it all at once

Even the best-laid plans for decluttering might not work out as fast as you’d like. Those trash bags of baby clothes and stacks of unneeded furniture might not be able to be donated as soon as you’d like, and it might help to have somewhere to keep them.

Set up some garage shelving or basement storage and designate it as a spot for your soon-to-be donations. Granted, you’ll have to remember to actually donate them after it fills up, but this can save a lot of time in the actual decluttering process.

And from here, all you have to do is stick with it! That’s always the hardest part, but once you have a routine down, you won’t even miss the stuff you got rid of.

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