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How to Declutter Your Home (with Trash Bags)

How to Declutter Your Home (with Trash Bags)

Trash bags would be handy in this messy roomLosing weight and getting organized.

Two goals that are most likely on your list of New Year’s resolutions.

And while helping you lose weight with a trash bag will be the subject of an upcoming article (yes, we’re serious), today we’re going to focus on getting organized…more specifically, how to reduce clutter.

Let’s get started.

We’re going to focus on the three biggest clutter culprits: the closet, the office and the garage.

The ClosetWalk in closet with organized clothing

The average person wears 20% of the clothes they own 80% of the time.

(Source: NAPO)“First, clear everything out of the closet,” describes Rose Kaye, a professional organizer and owner and founder of Savvy Organizing Solutions, a Cleveland-based company helping people and businesses declutter and get organized. “What is worn frequently can go directly back into the closet.”

For the rest of your clothes, Kaye gives a good rule of thumb: “If you haven’t worn something in 6-12 months, throw it away, sell it or donate it.”

“If you have children,” Kaye continues, “a great way to declutter is to put in storage all the clothes that no longer fit or are not going to be worn until next season.”

Clear bags are perfect for storing clothes since you can quickly see what’s inside.

If you want to drop off your clothes at a clothing donation bin, it’s best to use heavy duty black trash bags. These thick bags can endure the elements if left outside, won’t puncture due to the occasional hanger and survive transit and handling.

The Officetrash bags for the office

23% of adults pay their bills late because they can’t find them. (Source: Harris Interactive)

Go through every envelope on your desk, every file folder, every last piece of paper and decide its fate: the shredder, the dumpster or life for another year.

“Throw out as much as possible,” Kaye explains. “Categorize what’s left over and put the items in labeled file folders or a desktop organizer.” Kaye suggests saving tax returns for 5-7 years before throwing them out.

"Making media files of important documents with a scanner, tablet or smartphone is another great way to declutter your home office," explains Kaye. "Just be sure to back everything up.

"For shredding and paper trash, high density bags are perfect since they are less expensive than regular trash bags, yet can still hold a large amount of paper and shreddings.

The GarageClean Garage

25% of homeowners cannot fit a car inside their 2-car garage. (Source: US Department of Energy)

This is a bigee. Like most people, your garage is probably the clutter capital of your home. “Just put it in the garage!” This is the clutter-loving statement that is responsible for all the stuff that can’t find a home in your home, ending end up in your garage.

Old shoes? Toss ‘em. Old newspapers? Recycle ‘em. Old bicycles? Sell ‘em. Old exercise equipment? Use ‘em.The first step says Kaye is to remove everything from the garage. Whoa. “Sort what is still used vs. what is never used,” Kaye describes. “Then make a pile for give away/garage sale. After sorting, use vinyl covered hooks-to hang bikes, sleds, winter tires, folding lawn chairs and ladders. Mounting rakes, brooms, and shovels to the garage walls is a great space-saver.”

You will probably generate the most trash when you declutter your garage. Here are some tips on which type of trash bags are best suited for different types of trash:

For general trash: 42 gallon contractor bags are a great choice since they are highly puncture resistant and can take almost anything you throw in it, including cardboard boxes, toys, picture frames, flower pots, magazines and old tiles.

For clothing donations: 31-33 gallon contractor bags work well. You can even write directly on the bags with Sharpie's white paint marker.

For recycling: blue or clear bags can be used since you can easily separate glass, paper and plastic.

Also, make sure you get the right size bag for your can.

It’s OK to Throw Away

“People need to find pleasure in throwing things away,” reveals Kaye. “Just because you treasure something, doesn’t mean you have to keep it. Instead of items cluttering up your home, you can get money for them or give them to someone who can use them.

Good luck!

They key is not to get overwhelmed,” concludes Kaye. “If you focus on one area at a time, you’ll quickly see the clutter start to disappear. Afterwards, you’ll feel amazing.”

Declutter Your Home Trash Bag Guide

Items Recommended Trash Bag
Clothing Storage Clear trash bags
Clothing Donation Heavy duty black trash bags
Paper Shredding High density trash bags
General Trash 42 gallon contractor bags
Recycling Blue or clear bags
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