Whether it's umbrellas in the hallway, toys in the living room or junk mail in the kitchen, everyone has clutter in their home. Clutter is normal. However, too much of it can have a negative impact on your life. Clutter takes up valuable space and makes rooms look smaller. It can also make it difficult to get things done or find what you need. If you have to spend additional time every day looking for keys, or trying to find a pair of trousers, then it’s easy to see how clutter can lead to stress and negativity.
You don’t need to be a professional cleaner to keep your space tidy and clutter-free. Read the Cleanlyy Guide to Decluttering Your Home.
Focus on one area - Decluttering can be overwhelming. The idea of tackling an entire house can seem like such a big job it’s enough to put people off from even starting. Instead, contain yourself to one item or area at first. Break your goal down into smaller tasks. Do you have a stack of magazines or newspapers piling up? Or a drawer that’s overflowing with brick-a-brac. Set yourself a task to sort it out. Completing small goals rewards you with a sense of achievement and a nice rush of endorphins along the way. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to get stuck into another round afterwards.
Old food must go - When’s the last time you looked right in the back of your food cupboard? This is a great place to start the decluttering process because you’re not going to have a sentimental attachment to that old tin of beans gathering dust. This part is easy, start by taking everything out of the cupboard, then check the dates and throw everything out that’s past its sell-by date. When you are putting the rest back into the cupboard, organize the items into groups as you go. Keep the condiments together and group the baking ingredients in one area. That way, the next time you need to bake a cake or cook a new recipe, you’ll know exactly where to look for ingredients.
Reduce and Recycle - This part is harder. If you have clothes that don’t fit, shoes that you never wear, or unnecessary furniture that’s taking up too much space, then it’s probably time for them to go. Think about the last time you wore an item. If it’s well over a year ago, but it’s still in good condition then consider donating it. Let someone else enjoy it, rather than letting it sit unloved and forgotten about, taking up space in the back of your wardrobe. You can also sell unwanted items on a site like Ebay, or Vinted.
Watch out for the ‘it-might-be-useful-one-day’ mindset - We’re talking spare boxes, toilet rolls, anything you are tempted to keep because it MIGHT be useful one day. Think about it, chances are, if you need a box for a gift, you could easily and inexpensively source one anyway, so, why keep a supply, taking up space all year round? It’s time to get rid of them!
Get rid of duplicates - Do you own multiples of the same item? We’re not talking spare work shirts (it can be useful to have multiple similar shirts), but two tin openers? Not so much! Ask yourself, do you need more than one? If not, decide which one you want to keep, store it in a convenient space and get rid of the duplicates. Also, avoid buying multiples - Yes, it may seem like a great deal at the time, but in reality, do you need to stock up? Buy what you need and appreciate the everyday value of having a clutter-free home.
Lose the broken items - Do you have an old broken vase or a piece of furniture lying around that you’ve been meaning to fix for ages? Unless it can be fixed instantly with a bit of glue (if, so, what are you waiting for?) then it’s time to get rid of it. Unfinished projects are not just physical clutter, but they can be mental clutter too and feel like an additional burden. We all have great intentions, but sometimes life is too short.
Assess your books - This is a controversial one and opinions differ, but, if you have too many books taking up space that could be better utilised, consider a clear out. Charity shops always welcome book donations. A handy rule of thumb to help you decide which ones to get rid of is to only keep ones that you look at regularly (cookbooks, manuals, art books), plan to read again, would lend to a friend, or would like to pass on to your children one day. Otherwise, they have to go! It’s ruthless, but it works.
Invest in storage solutions - Say, you’ve done all the hard work decluttering (congrats!), then it’s important to store your newly organised possessions in a visually appealing way. It may seem counterintuitive to purchase more items, but you’ll be glad if you invest a little bit of time or money in making your storage solution as attractive as possible. Otherwise, at the end of the decluttering process, if you’re left with everything in unsightly cardboard boxes or bin bags, you can get disheartened with your efforts. Whether it’s trendy storage crates, an Ikea shelving unit, or a DIY solution, appealing storage solutions will help motivate you for the final step…
Set a Goal - You don’t need to declutter every room of the house at once or live a completely minimalist life. Think about what is important to you. Maybe you derive pleasure and joy from your possessions. Before you get stuck in, think about how you would like the result to look. Ask yourself what is working and what isn’t working. By considering your motivations and setting a goal, you will have a better idea of what you want to achieve. It will also help with the decision process. Meaning you don’t end up getting rid of too much or too little.Declutter regularly - Even for the most vigilant homeowners, clutter starts to accumulate. Don’t worry, that’s normal. To combat the clutter, try to spend even 10 mins once a week (or even once a month) to take a look around you. Assess your surroundings and make small changes. Decluttering your home is not a once-off task. It is about making small gains every day and changing your relationship with your home and possessions for a more positive, stress-free life every day.
Did you enjoy this Guide to Decluttering Your Home? Read our 8 Top Tips for Keeping Your Home Clean Without the Effort.
Do you know any other tried and tested tips for decluttering?