This New Year, take time to do a cleansing clear out. As author and minimalism expert Francine Jay says, ‘Your home is living space, not storage space’. And, let’s face it, we could all do with a thorough decluttering to get our homes back in shape after the holidays. Before you settle back into work routines, school runs and grocery shops, spend a few days organising your space and starting the year on a lighter note. It’s time to quit the bad habit of hording and allowing clutter to hang around long after it’s welcome. With these 10 easy tips on decluttering, your living space will feel refreshed and renewed. The perfect way to start the year…
10 best tips for decluttering your home
1). Does it spark joy?
Otherwise known as the KonMari Method after decluttering mastermind Mari Kondo, this is the first crucial step to decluttering. The idea is that you hold an item in your hand and ask the question, ‘Does it spark joy?’ If the answer is yes, you get to keep it. If not, it’s time to toss it. Kondo believes that if you use this mantra as your standard, you’ll be able to approach anything in your home earnestly. You need to decide if an item really makes you happy.
2). Start with a plan
So often, the best intentions are derailed because we didn’t have a proper plan to start off with. While we feel wonderful about filling black bags with goods we’re going to donate, walking past them in the passage every day after that can be equally as frustrating. Before you start your decluttering project, have a clear idea of where you’re going. Which charities are you donating to? Do you have enough bin bags and boxes? What about the recyclables? Answering these at the start, and having a plan, will make your life easier later on.
3). Take it one step at a time
The trick with this kind of home interior project is not to get overwhelmed. Decision fatigue is a real thing and constantly deciding what you’re going to keep or toss can be tiring. But, try to take it one step at a time. Declutter in stages, like room by room or category by category. You could also simply plan to donate three hours to decluttering this weekend, and see how much you get through. Lastly, it’s important to finish a job properly before starting the next one.
4). Out of sight isn’t out of mind
For some people, clearing things out means packing them into boxes and then hiding those boxes at the top of a cupboard or in the garage. But, you’re not actually achieving anything here. Just delaying the real project of sorting everything out for good. Chances are, if you’re moving things to the garage or attic, you don’t really need them anyway. This leads us nicely to the next decluttering tip…
5). Be ruthless
This process can be hard, but you get to a point where it’s now or never. Still holding on to that vase you broke last Christmas and determined to fix? What about your friend’s watercolour painting that’s gathering dust after her short but serious artistic phase? If you haven’t worn, looked at, cherished, used, or needed something in the last 12 months, it’s time to get rid of it. There’s no point keeping something ‘just in case’ it comes in handy one day. Be ruthless now and you’ll soon forget all about it.
6). Donate what you can
Technically, it’s still the season of generosity, so be liberal with your donations. As Anne Frank said, ‘No one has ever become poor by giving.’ Packing things up and donating them to a worthy cause is one of the best feelings there is. Especially after you’ve been spoilt and treated over the holidays. And you won’t have to look far to find a deserving charity or cause to support. Do a quick Gumtree search to find affordable delivery services to help with the big things like appliances and furniture. For things like trinkets, clothes and books, there’s bound to be a nearby charity store that could use the extra help.
7). Sell things off
Once you’ve donated what you can, don’t be shy to sell things you think might be worth something. You’d be surprised what you can get for good-quality second-hand goods. These days, it’s possible to sell almost anything online – Gumtree and Facebook have made it super easy. And, at the beginning of the year, household items like furniture and appliances are in demand as so many people move into new homes. If you can make a quick buck, why not?
8). Swap roles
It’s always easier to throw out someone else’s clutter rather than your own. The foosball table in the garage? No matter, the kids never use is. Your husband’s cycling garb? He hasn’t been on a bike since 2012. But, these things might have sentimental value to the people living under your roof, so have a heart. And, when it comes to chucking your own junk, look at it as an outsider and see if it’s still worth keeping.
9). Become storage savvy
Another key element to successful decluttering is having a convenient and clever place to put the things you keep. You can’t get rid of all your household belongings, and the things you keep need to have a proper place to live. Now, it’s time to think about things like Consol jars and Tupperware for the pantry, floating shelves and hooks to keep things tidy in the living room, and baskets or drawers for storage in the bedroom or bathroom. Try to find items that look attractive so you can display them on shelves if you don’t have the cupboard space.
10). Think about your next purchase
Now, at the end of your decluttering home makeover, don’t go running off to replace things you’ve thrown out. There’s no point going through all this effort just to wind up back at the beginning in a cluttered and untidy space. Take a moment to appreciate the clean surfaces and clear floor space. Being in an organised environment helps us feel calm and more at ease – try to keep it that way for a little while. This year, resolve to only buy things you really need. Your home – and your wallet – will thank you for it.