Home & Leisure



6 things almost everyone has trouble decluttering

Alyssa Longobucco, realsimple.com on

Somewhere along the way, we all got the impression that decluttering our homes should be easy. If you don’t need something, you simply ... let it go — right? That is much easier said than done, especially when it comes to items that tug at your heartstrings like photographs and letters.

Still, chances are there are at least a few things that you’re looking to streamline at home, and we’re here to help. As it turns out, your options aren’t just to keep or trash something — at least, not that literally. There are tons of ways you can get a handle on your clutter and keep a close hold on your favorite pieces and most sentimental items. We’ve outlined six things people tend to have the hardest time saying goodbye to — plus how to let them go.

1. Study notes, schoolwork and old notebooks

We get it. You’re really proud of that A you scored in your college lit class — but do you really need to save the paper that got you that grade? Probably not. We all fall into the trap of hanging onto schoolwork and notebooks with the idea that someday, at some point, we may need to have the information held within those pages handy. Well, we’re here to tell you that, spoiler alert: you probably won’t.

Do a quick skim of any notes or essays you’ve been saving for truly useful information, then bid them farewell. If there is anything you really want to keep (hey, maybe you do have use for the notes from chem class), use a note-taking app to scan the document and store it virtually. That way, it won’t be taking up precious space in your basement, and you can actually access it when you need to.

2. Books


If your book collection is numbering in the hundreds — and you don’t have a home library straight out of “Beauty and the Beast” — then you may want to start narrowing in on your favorites. Start by sorting your reads into three piles: books you want to keep, books you want to donate and books that could be repurposed for styling around your home (anything with a pretty, colorful spine is often useful for filling open shelving, even if you don’t necessarily reread it).

Keep anything that has a sentimental inscription, priceless vintage finds and favorites that you love to read again and again. If dropping a box of your well-loved novels in a donation bin feels too impersonal, purchase a Little Free Library instead. You can set it up outside your home to give neighbors and local book-lovers a chance to “shop” your shelves — plus, you never know what new favorites may be awaiting you inside, left by others.

3. Photos

There are a few ways to organize your photo collection, weed out any unnecessary shots and protect your favorites. There are companies that can scan and digitize everything from old photos and scrapbooks to letters, film reels and audio files, guaranteeing that if it’s special to you, it can be saved. Keep the digital files safely online, or share them with loved ones by making a tangible book that you can put together online.


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