Let’s face it the very idea of de-cluttering fills most of us with dread. You’d probably sooner rush to empty the dishwasher or take out the bins than set your mind to de-cluttering your home. Where do you start? How do you tackle it? What does it even mean?
The truth is that it really doesn’t have to be that complicated (or difficult). There are many reasons why at some stage in our lives we’re going to need to de-clutter: moving home, making room for a family member, having a baby, or even a relationship break up.
Treating it as normal home routine means it doesn’t have to be so overwhelming.
The best place to start is with a plan
Think through why you need to de-clutter and take stock of your home, assessing the most crucial areas to address. Is your wardrobe packed with clothes you haven’t looked at, let alone worn in a while? Do you need to transform the spare room, which is currently a storage room, back into a bedroom? Are the kitchen drawers weighed down by endless pots and pans?
Organise your thoughts and determine what you want to achieve. By spending a few minutes taking stock of what’s around you, you’ll have quickly overcome that sense of dread.
Tackle de-cluttering in three simple ways
Set up a system that in each room, you categorise your items into three sections: Keep; Give away; Bin. The most important thing is to stick to your plan.
Take it one step at a time and break it up in chunks.
Start room by room. Think of the amount of time you spend in a room. Your living room might feel lighter and more relaxing if it’s less cluttered. In the kitchen – have you accumulated more spatulas than you know what to do with? What about that pile of CDs? Could you give them away and simultaneously clear up that shelf space?
Just choosing a small number of items to start with will result in an immediate noticeable difference.
Ask yourself two simple questions: do I use this? Will I ever?
As you go through your possessions, ask yourself if you’ve looked at an item or even thought of it in the last six months? Be honest while considering everything in your chosen room. If it went missing, would you even notice? If the answer is no, then why not donate it?
You don’t have to do it all at once
Set aside a time to de-clutter and take it a room at time. It doesn’t all have to happen at once and in one day. Try allocating a couple of hours over a weekend where you tackle each room. Give yourself a goal of completing the exercise over two weekends. Alternatively, you can do a little something day to day for a number of weeks.
Chances are that you’ll find it so cathartic you’ll end up emptying a drawer or two within the hour and de-cluttering the entire house in an afternoon!
We all get trapped into that old habit of accumulating things – you’ll be surprised how much lighter you feel after de-cluttering. You might also find that you need so much less than you think!