As we’ve been re-decorating, it often leads to de-cluttering. I’ve been on a mission since Christmas to cut down on stuff and clutter, including the children’s toys. The hardest thing for their stuff is the cuddly toys – every single one seems to have a special meaning for them, and even I’m not immune. Their little faces seem to stare at me, and since Toy story, it’s never been the same. I still have a huge teddy bear and a rather squashed dog from my childhood. I started a month long de-clutter challenge in January, which was great, focusing on small areas and a little bit of time each day, doing more when possible. It worked really well. I can be really ruthless and throw out papers, toys, books and clothes when I need to, but here are some tips when you want to de-cluttter but you don’t know where to start, or get overwhelmed easily.
1. Smart Storage
Don’t just get storage for it’s own sake, really think about what you are storing and how you want to use it. If it’s book shelves you need, go through your books and put them into piles. One for ones you’re going to read again, or hope your children will, one for old or interesting books, one for books you will continue to refer to. Any others or damaged ones, do you really need to store them? Think about displaying them in a different way to make it into an art form in itself. If you have to hide things in a loft or garage, do you really need to hang on to them? Don’t just buy a big box to put clutter into. Storage can be practical, you can get sofas and foot stools that open up to hold items, a window seat can double as storage. Have full height shelves. They toys can be displayed in a wooden cage with ‘Zoo’ written on it, or hung up in nets. Before you go crazy with storage, think how it will look filled, do you really want to have your clutter on display? If you have no more room for your things but can’t think of anything you can part with, consider hiring a storage unit. It will be out of sight but kept dry and safe for you, plus it’s easy access and organised when you’re ready or move to a bigger place. Sizes range from under 40sq ft and you can use a size calculator to see what size you need. We’ve used storage units when moving house before and it was a godsend. They helped us move it out too and we could get a van and boxes too.
2. Identify Duplicates
Do you need three tin openers and four corkscrews? Take a closer look as you tidy and sort, how many of the same things do you own? Look really closely, even wooden spoons. 2-3 is reasonable, but 5? Maybe not. Pick the best quality one that works the best and keep that one. You’ll feel so much better when things are streamlined. You can always do a test run of packing a box away in the garage and if you don’t open it in the next 6 months, it can go.
3. Focus on your goals
Most people want to achieve a feeling of freedom, inner peace and less stress from their de-cluttering efforts. If you keep these goals in mind when you start your journey, you will go further. When you go into a room, look for 5-10 items and ask yourself, does this bring me joy? Have I used it in the last year? Would I trade my freedom for this item? My inner peace?
4. Get rid of rubbish
Take two bin bags and go round the house. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with one room. One bag is for rubbish to throw away, one bag is for charity. Work quickly and once the charity bag is full, take it straight away. I’m so guilty of driving round with it for ages. If the children see any toys in there they may take them out again so get rid of it quick! Don’t be too sentimental about toys or games they’ve been given. If they’ve served their purpose, have broken or missing parts, they can go. If you’ve read a book, let it go. Clothes too small and you’re hoping you’ll lose weight? Get rid of them, if you do lose weight you can go shopping for a whole new wardrobe.
5. Recycle and deal with paperwork
Instead of keeping reams of paperwork and catalogues, recycle. If you get catalogues you like to look through, throw away the old one when you get the new one, once you’ve made an order off it goes. Recycle all the envelopes, leaflets, anything other than the bill or letter that needs an action. Once you’ve actioned the bill, write paid on it, then keep for 6 months. Every 6-12 months go through your paper folder and recycle or shred old papers.
6. An easy way to de-clutter clothes
This is a bit long haul, but take some time and put all the clothes in your wardrobe with the hangers facing the opposite way. When you wear something, turn the hanger the right way. After 6 months, see what you don’t wear. If it’s smart dresses, jackets etc., think how many you need. Anything you don’t regularly wear can go to charity.
7. A place for everything
Make sure everything has its place. You have a place for your towels and cutlery, the same should be for everything else. If it doesn’t have it’s own space, then it becomes clutter.
I hope this has helped you, it helps me to have it to refer to. Have you got any genius de-cluttering tips? Let me know in the comments.
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