There are many motivations for having a big clear up in the home. Perhaps you’ve just moved into a new house or are about to move home and with everything being put into boxes, now seems like a good time to do some sorting. Perhaps you are an advocate of the “New Year – new you” approach and see a new year as a time to declutter your life a bit.
Whatever your reasons, it’s good to know that most of us are guilty of holding onto clutter and gearing up to tackle it is usually the hardest part. Once you start though, it can actually feel good and once you’re finished it feels even better.
Let’s take a look at how to go about your big 2019 declutter campaign.
As with moving home, successful decluttering depends on proper planning. Take it in stages, one step at a time and break it up into manageable chunks. That means starting with a single room, then looking at a section of that room and even a single drawer or cupboard within that room. Go through everything in that space and declutter before moving on. It’ll build confidence, demonstrate progress and it provides you with the opportunity to stop and come back at another time.
The beauty of decluttering is that is can start any time and it doesn’t require any special equipment beyond five boxes or baskets that can be clearly marked. Get your boxes or baskets ready before you start so that the process runs more smoothly once you start.
As you go round each area and you find things you know just need to be put away, put them in the first box. If something needs mending, put it in a second box and then deal with it at a later date. Anything that can be recycled goes in the third box and if things can be used by someone else, donate them in box four.
The whole of box four could be taken to your chosen charity, or given to a friend or someone you know who needs it.
Finally, the fifth box is for things that are just rubbish. Anything that goes into this box simply goes into the bin.
There may be a case for a sixth box which would contain anything worth listing on an online marketplace.
Let’s look at each area of the house in turn now.
Not everyone has a grand hallway, but however big or small your home, you will have an entrance and for many of us, it’s a clutter magnet. We walk through the door, drop coats, bags, keys, shoes and if we don’t keep on top of it all, the area will become cluttered very quickly. Put shoes and coats away, file paperwork and clear surfaces. If you have somewhere to keep keys, it will make things more straightforward when you come to leave.
Your kitchen runs most smoothly with organisation. Clutter-free surfaces help with keeping the space clean, but as a lot happens in the kitchen – cooking, eating, living – keeping the clutter under control can be a challenge. The zone system works in this room too, but you might prefer to sort by category instead. Think crockery, utensils, herbs and spices and so on. Find a place for everything and stick to the rule that only things used daily are allowed to ‘live’ on the countertops.
The living room is another room that requires regular effort to stay on top of clutter because it’s the space that sees people – and their things – congregate. Books, toys, magazines, remote controls and more. Once you’ve been through the sections and the clutter is sorted, plump cushions and fold.
After things are sorted into boxes, make sure that you deal with them before they become just another place for clutter to congregate.
Decluttering the bathroom is all about detail. Do all those bottles of shampoo and shower gel really need to be out on display? Look through all make-up and medicines and throw out anything beyond its use-by date. With the space you’ve made, you’ll be able to find a home for everything in your remaining baskets.
Finally, tackle the bedroom. This is meant to be your place of sanctuary so it’s a really important space to keep clutter-free. The bed tends to be the focal point of the room, so make sure it’s made. That will instantly make you feel calmer. Put away anything lurking on your bedside table (return glasses to the kitchen, put jewellery away, put books, chargers, tissues and so on into drawers and out of sight). Use the same logic on other surfaces including any dressing table or chest of drawers and you’ll be nearly done.
Arguably the greatest challenge in the entire home is your wardrobe so set aside a good amount of time to tackle it. Be realistic about what no longer fits and what you just won’t wear again.
Decluttering your home can be an intimidating prospect and the longer you put it off, the bigger the task can seem. But with the right planning, a systematic approach and a decisive attitude to keeping or throwing things out, you can get through it in no time.