Everything You Need to Know About Decluttering

January is often a time when we are filled with a ‘sorting’ energy. We need to get the house cleaned up after the holidays, but we are also thinking about the year ahead and what we’d like to achieve. It’s a great time of year for a spring clean (we think this should be known as a ‘midwinter clean’ from now on). It can seem like a daunting task but a good tidy up and sort out can help get the year off to a productive, focussed start. To go with this organising flow, here’s everything you need to know about decluttering your home.

1.Think and reflect

slow living decluttering

Before you reach for the bin bags, take some time to really think about what’s working in your life and home, and what could be better. Are there areas or rooms that lower your energy as soon as you walk in? Do you have ‘drawers of shame’ which may seem tidy from the outside but you know are filled with random, disorganised clutter?

Imagine your best life, and visualise how you’d like your home to look and feel. Create a mood board or write a journal if you’re feeling creative. This isn’t about listing things you’d like to buy, but rather a chance to reflect on what would help create the life you want.

2.Get help and have a system

Decluttering can be a huge task, depending on how much stuff you’ve accumulated. Enlist the help of your family or a friend so you stay focussed and don’t feel overwhelmed. Decide if you want to follow a decluttering system, like Marie Kondo’s world-famous Konmari method. Having a few rules and guidelines can help you stay on track and not get distracted by reading old letters or reminiscing about the time you wore that particular dress to a special party.

Marie Kondo recommends tidying according to categories rather than rooms. She suggests starting with clothes as they are often the easiest things to part with. Make sure you wash everything first so that you include the things you’ve worn most recently. Make a pile on the bed or floor and sort into ‘recycle, keep, not sure’. Carefully fold the things you definitely want to keep, put the discarding things quickly into a bag so you won’t change your mind, and then go back to the ‘not sure’ pile and sift through that. Take unwanted items to goodwill, hold a clothes swap or sell on second hand selling sites. Creating a capsule wardrobe of interchangeable, versatile pieces is a great way to focus your efforts to sort out clothes. Store household linens in a cool, non-damp place, rolling them rather than folding if you don’t want wrinkles.

Move onto books next, then miscellaneous things (including toiletries and make up) and finish with the more emotive, poignant objects like papers, letters and photographs.

3.Organise the things you keep

kitchen organising linen basket

Once you’ve got rid of the things you no longer need, make sure that everything that’s staying has a place. Think about where you will store the remote controls, how you will organise your children’s artwork, whether you need to build special book shelves. Keep only the nicest things on display, especially in the kitchen, which can act like a clutter magnet. Use linen baskets or mason jars to store dry foods rather than a jumble of bright packaging.

4.Sort out your tech

decluttering tech slow living

It’s not only the physical things around us that need organising. As we increasingly spend time online and interacting with technology, this is also an area that can need attention. Here’s how to declutter your tech:

  • Delete or read unread emails, file documents away so your desktop is clear, delete old downloads
  • Unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters or junk mail
  • Store your passwords safely and in one place (there are great apps for this)
  • Delete any social media platforms you don’t use, or that you feel you are using too much
  • Store cables and chargers in one place in a compartmentalised box so you can see exactly which is which

5.Adopt a one-in-one-out policy

Once you’ve decluttered make sure things stay orderly by allowing yourself a new book or item of clothing only when you’ve discarded another. Buy make up products that do two jobs, like these lip and cheek sticks, or make your own DIY skin salves and balms.

As you tidy up, keep thinking about how it will feel when your home is clutter-free. Think about how much less time you will spend managing all your stuff, and how the energy will flow more freely around the space. Remember that letting go of old, unwanted things can make room for fantastic new opportunities and ways of living. This will keep you motivated if it gets tough. Keep your eyes on the tidy home prize! Decluttering will help you feel more joyful and in control.

Have you done a major declutter at home? How did it change your life?

 

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