Any time is good for decluttering so don’t put it off a moment longer. Now is always the perfect time to clear your home of all it’s accumulated junk, but that is often harder than it sounds because we all have so much stuff cluttering up our space. In an ideal world we would have enough storage space to store everything we have ever owned but the reality is different and many of us struggle to maintain a clutter-free home. The downside of not having organised storage is that we can never find what we want with cupboards overflowing with clothes, children’s toys, books and just junk that we no longer want or need. But de-cluttering is ironically made harder by all the clutter around us – we can’t see where to start so we just don’t bother. Well, follow these 5 easy steps to help you get started and before you know it you will be well on your way to a tidy, organised home.
If you are brimming with energy and have a relatively small home you might be able to tackle the task in a week-end but realistically it will be easier to spread the task over a number of days – why not set aside a day or just half-a-day per week to do as much as you can until all the clutter has gone.
You will need to be absolutely ruthless when clearing out your wardrobes – if a garment doesn’t fit, or you no longer like it, or you haven’t worn it in the past couple of years then it has to go. Anything in good condition can be donated to charity, otherwise use a clothes recycling bank or just bin it. Special or evening wear that you only wear occasionally are the only exceptions. Make sure every member of the family (children included) go through the same process. If there really are special children’s outfits that you wish to hold on to as a keepsake then put it in a “treasure” box that can be stored in the attic or in a self-storage unit if you don’t have any attic space.
Start by taking everything out of the kitchen cupboards and sorting through each item throwing out the rubbish – you know those tins, jars and packets that are well past their sell-by date. And the cracked, chipped or broken crockery, or the saucepans with broken handles or plastic tubs with no lids – again be ruthless and just bin it.
Once the cupboards are sorted and everything put back in its place start on the worktops – you should hopefully have made some room in the cupboards by now so some of the items usually left on the worktop can now be stored away. Wherever possible store away any item unless it is used every day; the less there is on the kitchen surfaces the easier it will be to keep it clean and tidy.
In the same way that kitchen cupboards accumulate clutter so do bathroom cabinets so start by taking everything out and check the use-by dates. Medicines, sunscreen and cosmetics all have use-by dates so just throw out anything past that date, and the same goes for any hair care or beauty products that you no longer use. Again this should help you to make some space in your bathroom cabinet or cupboard where you can store out of sight the items you do need to keep. And don’t forget to sort through the daily items that you keep on display – are there any old toothbrushes in that mug or used disposable razors? You know what you need to do with them…
4: Magazines, Toys and Stuff
You might need to set aside a whole day to de-clutter general stuff, which could be children’s old school books, old magazines, old or broken toys. Again there may be some treasured children’s items that you will want to store in a “keepsake” box but anything with no real sentimental value needs to go. Persuade your children to help and they can be involved in taking donations of old toys to a charity shop.
Some old magazines are useful to keep and will be read again but many will not so sort them into 2 piles – either re-cycle the ones you don’t want to keep or see if local hospitals or doctor’s surgeries would like them.
Anything else such as old ornaments, pictures, vases, board games etc that you no longer use can similarly be donated to a charity or other institution. Don’t forget to be ruthless or you will find you have done all this hard work for nothing and simply re-arranged your clutter.
5: Loft, Garage & Garden Shed
Finally now that you have cleared your living spaces you will need to tackle the hardest jobs of all – your loft, garage and garden shed. These places are havens for clutter so don’t be tempted to put anything you have cleared out of your living space there as this will only add to the chaos.
Start with the regularly used items such as tools, bikes and car accessories and place that all to one side. Next sort out the seasonal items that you want to keep: Christmas decorations, winter sports gear, suitcases, garden furniture, garden tools etc. If you have storage shelves then organise these items on the shelves; if not, then consider buying some inexpensive shelves to help organise your stuff.
If you don’t have any such storage space at all in your home (any many UK apartments don’t) then consider renting an inexpensive self-storage unit – they can be invaluable in helping you to maintain an organised, clutter-free home.