Tips for decluttering and clearing your home
We all dream of a tidy and organised house but family life and busy work schedules can often get in the way of the perfect Pinterest home. If you’ve reached the point of no return and feel like a gigantic sort out is imminent, we’re here to help.
If your stuff has got out of control, it’s time for a de-clutter. A serious sort out. A purge! Whatever you want to call it, you’ll feel so much lighter once it’s done. Focus your attention and work room by room. Never try to tackle the whole house in one go because it’ll be too overwhelming.
Deciding what you’re going to get rid of should be based on the following criteria.
- Have you used/watched/listened to/worn it in the past 6 months?
If it’s a no, it needs to go. Donate things to charity or get rid of items that others could use on eBay, Gumtree or Freecycle. If you haven’t worn something in the past few months due to seasonality it should be put into storage. Snow boots and snorkels do not need to live in the same place!
- Is it damaged or broken?
If you need it, get it fixed, if not - recycle or throw away.
- If it isn’t useful, does it make you happy?
Of course not all items in your home are going to be useful, some items are purely decorative but if the item doesn’t make you really happy, do you really need it and could someone else get more joy from the item than you?
- Is it a duplicate item?
Don’t have ‘back ups’ of everyday items as they just take up space.
If you remember to de-clutter regularly, it shouldn’t get out of hand again. Doing small bits at a time helps to keep on top of things. For example, de-clutter the kitchen junk drawer whilst waiting for something to cook. Or, rinse empty shampoo bottles ready for recycling whilst waiting for a bath to run.
Once you have your items that you’re sure you want to keep it’s time to store them properly. Invest in storage solutions that keep clutter at bay and spaces tidier. Here are some ideas for popular clutter problems.
Items such as lever arch and box files are perfect for storing paperwork and important documents. Buy different colours for each family member to have their own designated file. Remember to go through these files at least yearly to make sure you’re only keeping what you need. Store essential information like utilities account numbers and providers in a notebook or spreadsheet all together so that you don’t need to keep every bill or welcome letter you’ve ever been sent.
- Kitchen cupboards
Decant dry foods into glass or long-lasting plastic containers and label them. If food products are all in the same storage solutions then they are easier to stack and store neatly. If you have wasted space at the top of your cupboards then pop up shelves can allow you to easily add another level of storage.
As well as storing seasonal clothing away in vacuum-packed bags, try storing the rest of your clothes in different ways. Roll up t-shirts and thin jumpers instead of folding which saves a lot of space and hang scarves all together on a clothes hanger.
You’ve worked hard to de-clutter and organise, it’s now time to maintain your handywork. Try these tricks to keep things tidy.
4. Buy less
- Make sure everything has a home
This rule has to be enforced for the organisation to last. If something doesn’t belong in the kitchen such as school bags or paperwork - remove them and place them into the storage solutions that you implemented in the second step. Plus, put things back from where you came from whenever you use anything.
- Little and often
De-cluttering and tidying are different. De-cluttering is getting rid of things that you don’t need to own and tidying is organising the items that you do own. Tidying up the areas that you’ve de-cluttered is the best way to stop them from getting over run by junk again because you won’t want to ruin all your hard work!
- Involve the whole family
Introduce tidying as a job for kids to do alongside their regular chores. If you get them involved in the decluttering process beforehand and provide rewards they may be more inclined to keep things tidy too.
Could it be time to assess your shopping habit? Maintain your clutter-free home by not inviting more unnecessary items into it - plus, as a bonus you’ll be saving money.
- One in, one out rule.
When it comes to kids toys and your own clothes, shoes or books exercise the ‘one in, one out’ rule in order for collections to not get out of hand again. With the ‘in’ - make sure that you absolutely need it or really can’t live without it. When out shopping, try taking photos of items that you like and go away and think about it for a day or two before making the decision to buy. You might decide that you can actually live without it after all. With the ‘out’, try and donate to charity, sell on eBay or pass on to friends or family.
- Accept less
If your family and friends are keen gifters try and ask them before big occasions for something that you or your family actually needs. Or, set a rule to only buy gift cards so that you can choose your own present or experiences to be enjoyed between you.
- Take advantage of not having to own physical things
Nowadays it’s easier than ever to get the things that you want without having to physically own them. Borrow, rent and subscribe instead of cluttering up your shelves and drawers. Watch TV series and films via online services and listen to your favourite playlists on a monthly subscription instead of buying DVDs and CDs. For your reading material, sign up to digital magazines and head to the library to borrow the latest books.
Rinse and repeat these four steps and you’ll never be buried under a mountain of tangled bed sheets again. Hopefully.
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