As someone who is a potentially undiagnosed with ADHD, I have always found cleaning my space a little more difficult because I find myself pulled in all different directions. Throughout the years, especially after practicing minimalism, I have perfected a method that helps me quickly and easily organize and clean areas of my home without getting overwhelmed or making a bigger mess. I want to share with you my 4 bin system that has helped me do this. My method is one that I use and share with people during my live decluttering sessions and has been 100% effective in helping people clear through clutter quickly and easily.
Know your simplification needs
A lot of times when we feel overwhelmed by the clutter in our house, there very well may be something else at play…like a lack of time, or a need for better organization.
The best way to find out what will work best to help you feel more at peace in your home and life is to uncover your particular needs for simplifying. You can do this by taking my FREE 60 second minimalism quiz.
By taking this quiz, I will help you figure out what areas of your life need simplification the most, and will connect you with some of my favorite resources to help you in that particular area! Take the Your Minimalist Brand Quiz FREE.
How to stay consistent with decluttering
One of the biggest areas of struggle people face when they want to declutter their home is that they get this sudden burst of declutter motivation and then use it all up after an hour.
This can often leave a bigger mess laying around the house and less motivation than when you started.
Here are some of the best practices for ensuring consistent results:
- Set a timer.
- Start with a small area. Then go smaller.
- Surround yourself with other declutterers.
No matter what kind of goal we are setting, one of the most helpful things we can do is to surround ourselves with people and content that is aligned with the new version of who we want to be.
You don’t need to pay to get organized!
In my videos where I talk about my declutter bins, I have actual labeled bins. Remember, these are tools that I use to help in-home clients with their decluttering during my live decluttering sessions.
You do not need to have pretty, labeled bins to get started using this method.
All you have to do to take advantage of the 4 bin decluttering method is to simply start by using whatever it is you have on hand.
Some ideas for bins are:
- Grocery bags
- Cardboard boxes
- Old totes
- Creating piles on the floor
One of the biggest setbacks people have when it comes to decluttering is that they convince themselves they need to buy organizational tools beforehand.
Repeat after me: You do not need more bins to organize your home. The goal is to have LESS STUFF to organize!
Bin #1: Donate
Whether you are committed to clearing clutter or are just hoping to clean you space, it is always a good idea to have a declutter bin on hand. You can always just use an old bag or box that you have lying around — this doesn’t have to be a designated declutter bin or anything. Always make use out of what you have instead of telling yourself you need to buy something before you get started!
Having this bin on hand makes it really easy for you to instantly discard items that you no longer feel an attachment to.
As you go through the cleaning/decluttering process simply toss unwanted items into the bin and when you are done load them into your car and schedule a day and time to bring them to donations – preferably a time when you will already be running errands near a donation center.
Where should I bring my donations?
Another way a lot of us put off clearing clutter is because we want to make sure we are donating to the right places. We want to ensure that we are making good use out of our old stuff. While there are good intentions behind this belief, the truth is, you aren’t always going to be able to ensure a solid purpose behind your old items.
Basic steps for clearing donations:
- Sell what you can. Set a time limit (1 week is a good starting point)
- Schedule a time to donate to local shelters you support
- Be willing to donate the rest
- Some things will end up in the garbage
Bin #2: Put Back Bin
Do you have any idea how many times I would be cleaning a room only to find an item that belonged in a different part of the house? (This is common amongst people with ADHD.) If I found a sock that was in the living room but belonged in my daughter’s room, I would leave the living room to put her sock away in her room.
Of course, the second I walk into my daughter’s room, I find a new mess that I instantly feel drawn too — because I’ve convinced myself I’m in cleaning go-mode. Before I know it I’m cleaning my daughter’s bedroom and the living room is sitting in whatever state I left it in. That is until I find an item in my daughter’s room that belongs in the living room. In which case, I would then return to said living room only to be greeted by a half-cleaned space.
This is where the Put Back pile comes in handy. When you have decided to focus your attention on one space (and remember, the smaller the better), make sure you simply set aside items that belong elsewhere. When your timer goes off, you can now take the time to put each item from the Put Back pile into it’s correct place.
Doing this will help you keep focused in one area and ensure that everything is tidied up when you are done!
Bin #3: Garbage
Don’t fool yourself, the garbage is just one more thing that can potentially pull you off course when it comes to cleaning or decluttering your space.
In order to help you effectively sort through your stuff and stay focused in one area of your house, it’s important to have a garbage on hand. This doesn’t have to be an actual garbage can, it can simply be a garbage bag that you carry along with you throughout the cleaning process.
As you clean and sort through each item, simply toss any garbage directly into the garbage can where it belongs.
Bin #4: Maybe Bin
If you are one of the bajillion people that has been too afraid to declutter an item because of the dreaded, “I might need this someday” fear, then you probably understand the importance of the Maybe bin. Read: I Bought Stuff I Don’t Need, Now What?
Having a maybe bin on hand allows you to clear items from your space that you aren’t quite ready to part with yet.
You can now easily store them away, clearing your space and give yourself a grace period to see how you feel before you completely eliminate them from your life.
The basic process of the maybe bin:
- Put items in here you’re not ready to part with
- Store them away for 6 months
- If the items have gone unused, donate the entire bin
Now you have less stuff taking up visual clutter in your life and you can kind of give yourself a trial period without certain items to see if you really need them or benefit from them in your life!
The process in action
This is the same simple method I use for all of my decluttering sessions and you can see the benefits of them in some of the before and after videos I have shared.
At the end of the day, it’s best to find a system that works for you. Hopefully this 4 bin method has given you a basic idea of what you can do to simplify your cleaning and decluttering process!
Have you found something else that works for you? I’d love to hear!
Drop a comment below and let us know what has helped you clear your space more effectively!