Do you feel like your home is overflowing with stuff?  You don't know where it all came from or what to do with it?  Everyone has tips on how you should clean out, but it's still so overwhelming?

I want to help!  I absolutely love to clean out and organize.  I know it's not for everyone, but I want to share some things that have worked for me.  I broke down my process in 10 simple steps.  Complete them all and you will be living in a clean, clutter free home!

1.  Designate an area in your home for your THROW AWAY and GIVE AWAY piles.  Once something has made it to one of these piles, do not take it back out.  I know you'll be tempted.  We are emotionally tied to most of our belongings, but you need to avoid this if you want to be able to seriously clean out.

Photo by Emily Lynn Photography

2.  Walk through your entire home and pull out the things that you already know you don't want to keep.  This will save you some time (and decision making) in the long run.  You know what things I'm talking about: that old ratty blanket, the broken toys, pile of socks without their pair, even old furniture you don't use.  As you walk through, things in each room should come to mind.  Pick them up and take them to the throw away or give away piles right away.

3.  Check expiration dates on all your products and packaged items in the kitchen, bathroom and throughout your home.  This includes your canned food, dry goods, spices, bottles of toiletries, makeup and more.  Basically, if it is packaged, it will expire.  Throw away everything that is expired. While you're at it, take everything out of the drawers, cabinets, shelves, pantry and fridge, wipe them out and replace the items you are keeping.  Not so fast...if it hasn't expired yet, but you don't use it anymore or never did in the first place, you still need to throw it away or give it away.

4.  Look into ingredients.  It's becoming more widely known that many products contain dangerous (even cancer causing) ingredients!  As you're checking expiration dates, take time to look at the ingredients in each and every labeled product and packaged item you own.  You can use the Skin Deep website to research each product and/or ingredient.  Or you can use the Think Dirty app.  As for food, I try to stick with "one ingredient" items.  For example, a sweet potato is simply a sweet potato: one ingredient.  A banana is one ingredient.  Basically, if you are buying whole, fresh foods, they will be one ingredient foods.  Once you start buying anything with a package or a label, you'll have to be very careful to read what's inside.

5.  Go through clothing.  If something is too big, too small, stretched out, has holes or is broken, discolored, picked or doesn't flatter, it's time for it to go.  If it's still in good shape, but you just don't like it, give it away.  If it looks bad, throw it away or turn it to rags.  My rule is that my clothes have to be in good shape, have to flatter me and have to make me feel beautiful.  If they don't meet those three criteria, I get rid of them.  The best way to do this is to take every single piece of clothing out of all your shelves, drawers, cabinets and closets and lay it on the bed.  Wipe everything out, then only return what you are keeping!

Photo by Emily Lynn Photography

6.  Get rid of extras.  You don't need 43 towels if there are five people living in your home.  Two towels per person and two for guests is a good number.  You also don't 27 sets of sheets, blankets, covers and duvets if you have a three bedroom home.  Two sets per room should be enough.  How many scarves do you have?  Sweatshirts?  Tupperware?  Old tech?  Books?  Let's not even get started on toys!  I bet you have a homeless shelter close by that would absolutely love to get these things that you're not even using.  Remember, as you clean out/off the shelves, cabinets, drawers and closets that these things are in, take a moment to wipe them out.  By now, every single storage space in your home should have been cleaned out, wiped out and reorganized with the items you are keeping.

7.  Have a look at your decor.  Are your throws and pillows looking sad?  Clock needs new batteries? Lamp broken?  Is your attic and extra storage full of stuff you aren't using or don't know what to do with?  Furniture and decor is a lot like clothing; once it's looking rough and you aren't loving it, it's time to move on.  I know you're thinking your home will look empty.  It might!  But, honestly, I'd much rather an empty place with a few beautiful pieces, than a space full of junky stuff I no longer enjoy.  That's why my home stays pretty empty looking!  As you go through your decor, wipe down the tops and sides of your furniture, clean the hanging mirrors and frames, dust everything well, wash windows, throw things in the wash and vacuum.  At this point, your home should be totally cleaned out and fresh!  Don't you feel amazing?

8.  Do another walk through.  As you look through each room, be brutally honest with yourself.  All that should be left are 1. things that you use regularly and truly love  and 2. things that are in great condition, have safe ingredients and are not expired.  If you notice an item doesn't meet these requirements, pull it out and put it in the throw away or give away piles.  Don't talk yourself into keeping things.  Stay strong and remember why you're doing this!

9.  Throw away and give away right now.  If you wait, you're going to feel overwhelmed by the pile up of mess you've accumulated, or you'll rethink some things and try to pull them out of the piles and keep them.  So, if it's a throw away item, bag it up and throw it out.  If it's a give away item, find some friends who'd like some great hand-me-downs or a shelter that could use a donation!

Photo by Emily Lynn Photography

10.  Treat yo'self!  You've worked hard!  Go grab coffee with a friend.  Get a pedicure.  Take a bath.  Watch a movie you've been wanting to see.  Whatever it is, do something that you'll enjoy!  You've got reason to celebrate.