Decluttering is at the top of many peoples TO DO lists in January – as its a month of new starts, fresh expectations – and, lets face it, dark and wet days that you may as well do stuff around the house in!
As such, I have done a post on my top decluttering tips to help get things into focus, and hopefully to feel more achievable. After all, decluttering doesn’t have to be a massive thing – it can be enjoyable and free-ing.
Lets get started then!
Decluttering Tip #1 – Have a plan
When decluttering you can sometimes be distracted as you aren’t sure exactly what you may need in the future, and also what goes where.
If you take a little time up front to plan the space you are decluttering out, you will have more of an idea what needs to go there, and therefore what constitutes clutter for that area.
After all – decluttering doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of things in your home, it may mean simply moving it out of the place that it is clutter, into a place where its needed.
Decide roughly what you want in each room in your house, and then within each room what you want where (thinking about what functions each room will be used for is a good start as you will ideally want to keep things to hand for those functions).
You may well be moving things from room to room for a while if you need to organise the spaces as well – but this will become less and less as you move around the house – so stick with it and stick to your plan!
Decluttering Tip #2 – Start small
If you are feeling overwhelmed just give yourself 15 mins and a drawer – once you have done this you will more often than not feel motivated to continue.
Don’t ever think you have to tackle an entire room in one go – this can be too time consuming and stressful – so work in the way you find the easiest and you are more likely to be successful.
Decluttering Tip #3 – Tackle one area at a time
It is key to decluttering that you only tackle one area at a time.
When you are decluttering a drawer then this is easy to identify – but its equally important if decluttering an entire room to tackle sections of that space in turn.
You will then start to see a real difference rather than if you jump from place to place.
In my previous post on decluttering I identified categories that you could use for your piles of stuff – and if you are to tackle one area at a time, its crucial to have a category for “ANOTHER ROOM”.
Have a box with you for items that don’t belong in that room, and when you have finished with a room, move on to the next one and take out anything in the box that belongs there – by the time you are around the house you should have an empty box and everything will have its place.
Also – when you are tackling any space, not only should you stick to that space, but you should also go from the top to the bottom of that space.
You will then know more clearly whats already been done, and you are less likely to clutter the space up again.
If you are tackling an entire room – then split that room up into manageable chunks – working from the far corner of the room to the door as then you won’t be going over the space you have already done – and you will feel a sense of accomplishment at seeing how far you’ve come.
Decluttering Tip #4 – Don’t go it alone
If you are decluttering any area that will have items belonging to someone other than you in it – then get them involved.
It isn’t fair to make decisions about other peoples belongings without them present, and you will find that you can’t make decisions easily without them anyway – so just get them involved.
They can also see the process of decluttering, which is handy if they contributed to the clutter in the first place (hopefully they will be less likely to do it in future!)
NOTE – Children can learn from you how to declutter, and they can then make decisions more easily if they start young.
Decluttering Tip #5 – Don’t get sidetracked
Getting sidetracked is easy to do and its the most common reason that people have for wanting help with decluttering.
Find ways of keeping going, even setting a timer for 15 minutes and making sure that you stay focused for this amount of time will pay dividends.
A short time each day thats focused is better than trying to do a whole day but getting sidetracked while you go – you won’t feel you have finished anything, and that may make you give up.
Decluttering Tip #6 – Make the decision
Don’t procrastinate too long over your decisions over whether to keep things or not.
The more decisions you make, the easier it will become.
Decluttering can be very easy to get sidetracked on because you can start to look at every item really carefully, read things, reminisce etc… – and that all takes time.
This is when decluttering seems like too big a task, and people get despondent or give up altogether.
I do understand that its difficult sometimes though to part with things – I feel the same over very sentimental items – so one way to get around this and move on quickly is to create a MAYBE pile.
I don’t have a specific category card for this, as its not something I want to add anything too if I can help it – but its sometimes useful to have this category for the odd item that you just can’t decide on.
One way to use your maybe pile is to box up any items that you can’t decide whether to keep or not. Seal the box and leave in your garage for 6 months. If you haven’t missed anything, or can’t remember whats in the box after this time, then you weren’t meant to keep any of it – so simply get rid of at that point.
This sometimes helps you as you can keep things close but still out of the way.
Decluttering Tip #7 – Use containers
When you declutter – use containers for your categories when they need to be removed or moved to another area.
- Rubbish should be placed in black bin liners immediately so you can’t see them anymore and they can be got rid of at the end of your decluttering session
- Use a container with a handle to make moving things from room to room easier
- use plastic bags or boxes for things to go to other places such as charity, recycling, friends and family etc… – then they can go directly into your car boot ready
Decluttering should be as easy as you can make it!
Decluttering Tip #8 – Be realistic
An entire room can take a long time to declutter for the first time (anything from a few hours to a few days dependant on how much clutter there is to get through), and it may take a while to get quick at decision making for your belongings – so give yourself a break and ensure you have enough time to complete the job easily.
You don’t want to be left at the end of the day with lots of piles of things everywhere that the family has to manoeuvre around that evening – thats just making things more difficult than they really need to be and you may want to give up which isn’t the goal.
Decluttering Tip #9 – Make it fun
Put on music when decluttering a room – watch a film when sorting through piles of paperwork – anything that makes things fun while you are working – it doesn’t have to feel like a chore!
Decluttering Tip #10 – Keep on top of things
Don’t allow things to get cluttered again – now you’ve done the hard work you want to stay on top of things and that can be done by doing a 15 minute tidy up at the end of each day. Put things back where they should go, don’t allow things to come into the house if they will clutter it up (get rid of junk mail etc… right by the front door)