While we are at home after the festivities now is the ideal time to think about de-cluttering life ready for the new year. The key to a successful tidy is to tackle your home in an order, to keep only the things you really love and to do it once and fast. Once you have your house in order you could find that your life will change. No matter how tidy you are, it’s so easy for clutter to pile up in your home. Clutter is made up from the endless ‘stuff’ that we just don’t need to keep, as well as the things you use every day but which are never put away to give you that feeling of a tidy space! The good news is that there are tips to stop clutter from taking over. The benefits of a simpler life and a clutter free home are real.
There will be less to find a home for. Finding things when they are in their place becomes easier. You will instantly be able to move around your calm home and enjoy it rather than stumbling around things that are in the way.
Cleaning will be swifter. Cleaning is already a bore so if you don’t have to clean around things you don’t love, cleaning the house will be faster and less stressful. And, what about stress? Looking around at a clutter filled house fills me with bad energy and means I put things off, making it all get on top of me leading to the stressful, panic tidy.
Do you need it? Material possessions that turn to clutter in the end, also put a strain on the planet and finances, and buying endless stuff can become addictive. If we are a little more considered in the purchases we make we should stop buying costly things we don’t need. Unless you LOVE IT, it solves a problem in life, or you really NEED IT – just say no! And if you do need it why not give second-hand a go to lighten the load on the planet?
More energy to get creative. With a clutter free home and less material stuff you’ll start to see a cleaner home and a lighter mental load, so, you can now focus your time and energy on things you enjoy instead of the ‘To Do’ list. Some of the things you don’t need can be up-cycled and gifted, sold to be enjoyed by others or given away to someone who does have a real need.
We all have to start somewhere and so if you’re struggling with de-cluttering, we have found some great books (all the links are later) but here are a few tips to start you off if reading yet another book fills you with dread.
5 minutes is all you need to kick off. If you’re new to de-cluttering, you can slowly build it up with just five minutes a day. That could be just sitting in a room and thinking about (and jotting down) what you want for the room you are in. How do you want to feel in the room? What is its main purpose? What could you do in the room with less ‘stuff’ about?
Create a de-cluttering checklist. Having a list means you can tackle things in batches. Here are some ideas on how to structure it. Take a pad and create headings so you can jot down things you really need to streamline. Clothing, Books, Papers, Kids, Home office, Kitchen, Decorative Items, Bathroom, Cleaning Products, Garage, Shed, Loft, General and Sentimental Items. There could be other categories in your life so make the list your own. If you take, for example, the cleaning cupboard, what are your go to items, what do you never use and could be ditched?
I recently heard about the 12-12-12 challenge. You find 12 items to throw away, 12 to donate to charity, and 12 to be returned to their real owner (we all have borrowed items we should give back). This is a great way to feel good about what you are doing then you can move on to the next stage.
Find and fill a rubbish bag. Be generous and donate a full bag to your local charity shop. Or give one item away every day for a year!
The things you never wear. We all have clothes that we never wear. Why do we keep them? Others could get joy from them. Again, you can donate them to the charity shop or sell them online to buy the killer item you really will wear. The other up-side of this is that you have fewer items, but they tend to go together better making the perfect ‘capsule wardrobe, that makes getting dressed easier.
If you clear-out your wardrobe, you can earn some extra cash and do-good for the planet with ReThread.
Or you can donate your best second-hand clothes to your favourite charity using Thrift.
Another tip is the Four-Box Method. Get four boxes and label them: chuck, keep, give away and move. In each room you want to bring order to, place each item into one of the boxes. That is everything (if it is too big then pop a label on it) no matter how insignificant you may think the items are – categorise them! Word of caution, this can take days, weeks, or months, so have a go at the first few to get rid of the easy clutter first. But guaranteed it will help you see how many items you really own, what they mean to you and the family and what role they play, or not!
How do others see your home? When we were moving to a new house there was a need to tidy as people would be viewing the home we were selling. At that stage I just found a cupboard or draw to stash the trash I didn’t want others to see. I told myself I’d rationalise it when we actually moved. Truth is, it was many years later when I was bitten by the de-cluttering bug. But if you view your home as if you were a visitor looking to buy it you see all the things that get in the way. Walk round the house and write down your impressions on how up together it all is, what looks great, what gets in the way of seeing the potential of a room? Make changes to what you see to give an overall better impression of an easy to live in home – then it becomes that way. If you take snaps of a room before and after, you will be more motivated to tackle the next room, and the next! Before you know it you’ll have got the bug and be actively looking for ways to improve each room and show off the things you love!
For other people’s tips on a de-cluttered life we have listed a few books that we have dipped into over the years.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever
Hoarding: The Ultimate Guide for How to Overcome Compulsive Hoarding, Saving, And Collecting (De-Cluttering, Hoarders, Self-Help, Disorder, Treatment, Free, OCD, Buried, Organized, Organization)
A Simpler Space: The Sane Guide to Downsizing and De-Cluttering Effectively
Learning how to de-clutter your home and your life doesn’t need to be a chore but a liberation. Find joy in shining the spot light on things you love and give everything a home. Good luck and a Happy New Year!
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