10 Basic Tips For Decluttering Your Home
Decluttering has a therapeutic ability to generate fresh energy, create mental and physical space, and release negative emotions.
It goes without saying that it can be a labour-intensive, time-consuming and overwhelming task, so we’ve made the process much simpler with these 10 basic tips.
1. Choose your time wisely.
Set aside a day (or half-day) with the least amount of distractions. If you also tend to be more productive in the morning, conquer your mess as soon as you wake up (without waking the neighbours!). Stopping and starting the project can leave an even messier issue to deal with the next day. If time is a major issue, try giving yourself a solid five minutes in your day. Start small, and you’ll be surprised at how productive you can be in a short space of time.
2. Pick a shelf.
Or a room – it doesn’t matter which one. By focusing your energy on a small area, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and much less distracted.
3. Take the 12-12-12 Challenge.
This simple half-day project can take the tediousness out of de-cluttering. Basically, find 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 things to be returned to their proper home (see the next point). It’s a great way to quickly organise 36 items in your home and a fun and creative idea to get the kids involved!
4. Have a place for everything.
Pick up five things and find places for them. One of the core reasons for a cluttered living space (and misplaced items) is not having a logical place for everything. If you don’t know where certain items should go, designate a good spot for them to live. Do this for everything that you use in your home, a few things at a time. Decluttering isn’t just about throwing things out, but putting them back in some kind of order.
5. “You wear 20 percent of your clothes 80 percent of the time.”
The humble closet can often be the bane of our existence. Ever run out of coat hangers or struggled to close the doors to your wardrobe? Have a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear? It’s time to undertake a wardrobe cull.
Emotionally detaching yourself from your clothes can be an overwhelming task, so start small by taking part in the Closet Hanger Experiment.
Hang all your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction. After you wear an item, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the other direction. After six months, you’ll have a clear picture of what clothes need to be thrown out or donated to charity.
6. Give away one time each day
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as the saying goes. Offload things you don’t use or need any more to friends and family. You’re also doing your bit for the environment (by not contributing to landfill) and helping a friend out. That’s 365 items cleared from your home a year, without so much as lifting a finger.
7. The curse the incoming mail
Letters, bills, and stray paperwork can quickly turn into a mountainous pile on the kitchen bench. To avoid this, collate them into an expandable file with clearly marked labels, as the mail comes in. This will also help with paying those bills by their due date – you’ll feel organised in no time.
8. Recycle and up-cycle
Or simply fix what’s broken. Breathe new life into any objects or furniture that can be recycled into something useful. If it can’t be repaired, throw it out or list it on Gumtree.
9. Digital, darling
So far, we’ve focused on clearing tangible possessions from your home? But what about the things you can’t throw into the trash, but can still clutter your life? Think about all the SD cards, old bills and paperwork you have lying around. How many of that can be stored digitally?
Using an external hard drive or, better yet, free online storage such as Dropbox can help archive important photos and paperwork. Also consider signing up to electronic bills, which are emailed to you rather than by post. Nearly all utility companies offer this functionality with just a few clicks away.
10. Ask yourself, why?
It pays to note that decluttering is not the end-destination – it’s merely the first step. Figure out why – instead of what – you need to simplify your space. If you focus more on the what – and not the why – you’ll find yourself in a vicious cycle of de-cluttering as time wears on. Figure out what embracing a lifestyle with less material possessions means to you and you’ll soon be well on your way to keeping your home clutter-free – forever.
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