This is your first basic round of de cluttering. You should have all your holiday stuff put away by now. Dont get hung up sorting that stuff right now....we will get to it. Right now we are working on everyday living space. Your bathrooms and kitchens are first and foremost. Clean clutter free and functional is what we are going for, and a snap to maintain. Always strive to keep them top notch.
Grab a box and a garbage bag.
Start in the Bathroom then the kitchen and work your way to every room in the house including closets!
Anything and I mean anything you have not used in the last year must go!! The shampoo bottles and the like that have 1/2 inch of product in the bottom those go too.
Towels: I have seen families with 25 bath towels when they only have 3 bodies in the house. Do you know what happens when they, the homeowner is unorganized? They use the towels until they are all gone and they end up in a huge pile in the laundry room. Now they have this mountain to deal with. If they treat their towels in that manner, then I know they have mountains of clothes too. When we were a family of 3 I kept 8 towels for our small family living in a tiny house with only 1 bathroom. So keep the 8 towels or at least 2 per family member, that are the best and most similar in color, so they all can be washed in the same load. The guest bathrooms may have 1 set per bathroom...for guests! I have a larger house now and more kids, but I still keep a handle on that towel situation. If extra towels are nice then keep them but not in the daily rotation. I have extra towels stored away from when I closed the massage studio. Lots of extras and they are plush. They have a specific spot and not just tossed into a closet where I wont remember where they went.
Wash cloths I have an abundance of 10 for each bathroom. hand towels get changed every two days. so only a few of those.
Bedding: I do not keep extra sheets sets. I used to but its not essential to good housekeeping. I get the bedding washed then remake them promptly. I do keep a few extra pillow cases and quilts. That is it. The sleeping bags are with the camp supplies. This was a very big obstacle for me to overcome. With kids they always seem to get 20 bulky blankets for baby showers and then all the other recieving blankets......we were in blanket overload. So the kids had their "blankies" and the beds were made, 2 dolly blankets. 1 quilt with the recliner. The rest went into a vacuum sealing bag. after a few months I realized we dont even "need" them. I donated them to the Little League garage sale. freecycle, donate or whatever but dont get to hung up on it and move on. Do not even go there with me on the "but I could get some money for this", or obsess about the money you spent on items that you are now giving away. Universal energy is always at work, when you give you will recieve. I took 6 van loads down to Family Services. She asked me if I wanted a receipt, I said no. Not only would I have to itemize all of it, it would have been such a large tax deduction it would have thrown a red flag on my tax forms, causing me to get audited. Now that "stuff" would have been still with me mentally months later. For me I just cut ties with it and said to her "nope, I am sure when I give to those that need, God will look out for me" and she smiled and said "that is so true". It was also winter when I did it, I did save larger items for 2 months for a garage sale. Get ready to release not only the stuff but the guilt that comes from throwing away your money. You made a mistake, learn from it and move on.
The 2 exceptions I take is home owner maintenance type of materials and tools. So relegate them to the garage. And folks that live miles and miles out of town. However even then you have clutter that you or no one else has used or needed. Its time to let it go my friend and get honest with yourselves and why things are piling up. Farm/ranch equipment and shop stuff is not part of this tutorial.....I am talking your homes and houses.
Now I want you to take some time and breathe through this process. It will get overwhelming at times. You will experience mental road blocks and when that happens stop and ask yourself ,why is this bothering me and see if you can tap into the "why" of it all. Letting go of stuff can bring about physical symptoms, it really can. Be prepared to deal with it when it comes up. We live in a society where "more is better" more, more, more. Its not better, really its not. When your closets are full and you still cant find anything to wear, that is not better. When the vanity has so much stuff under neath and you still cant find the hairspray, that is not better. Our basement storage is so full we cant get to the Decorations with out climbing, twisting and wrenching, that is not better. When we have so many pots and pans falling out of cupboards when we open them, that is not better. It zaps your energy and you're worn out before you even get out of the house in the morning dealing with all that "stuff".
Quantity does not equal quality.
The solution is not to get a bigger house. Very rarely is that the best solution to the problem. You buy the bigger house and then fill it up to max capacity and then buy a bigger house then fill it up again. You must live within the means of your walls, the same way you learn to live within the means of your checkbook. You must learn to use the space creativily and effeciently, use your time wisely and effeciently and you will find you really do have extra time to do the things you want. I promise.
There are tons of books on the market about de cluttering and getting organized. You must understand first Why you are collecting "stuff" in the first place and what that "stuff" is doing to your psyche, energy levels, and such. The book that clicked for me was Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, by Karen Kingston. Karens philosophy is centered around the energy in your home. I am particularly sensitive to energy, as I have always been a "vibey" person. Karens just clicked. "I got it". Peter Walsh is another I hear great reviews about.
Its that simple!