Ban Clutter – Image Courtesy: Sean MacEntee
A cluttered lifestyle is a typical challenge of 21st century life. Things we collect over our lifetime, things our family hand down to us and those things we have replaced but still can’t bear to part with, all weigh heavily on us in the average space strapped modern home. The obvious answer is to carry out some de-cluttering, but when the mountain seems so high to climb, it can be difficult to take those first few tentative steps.
Here are some key tips to start off your de-cluttering journey and help you free up space in your home so you can enjoy your lifestyle more.
1. Little and often – is the key to success
Don’t think that you’ll be able to get all your de-cluttering done in a day. Spending hours and hours sorting and storing will not only completely wear you out, it will also make you much less inclined to do any de-cluttering another time. Try to do just 15 minutes a day to start with and you’ll be surprised by how soon you’ll start to get through things.
2. Tackle the problem piles first
You know where your problem piles are. We all have a drawer, a cupboard, a shelf (or frequently several of each) where we dump things that we aren’t sure where to put. Start by tackling just one of these spots at a time and aiming to get to the bottom of the drawer or back of the cupboard within a few sessions.
3. Three is the magic number
When you start sorting out, putting things into three piles / boxes / bags will really help to clear the decks. One should be ‘bin’, one should be for ‘sell or donate’ and one should be for ‘keep’. When you have split everything in that area between the three piles, you will be able to do the same again with the ‘keep’ pile.
Take your ‘keep’ items, and divide them into:
- ‘I need / use / want this regularly and need it close to hand’,
- ‘I haven’t used this for a long time but I don’t want to get rid of it’ and
- ‘I’ve changed my mind, I want to sell / donate / bin this’.
By the end of the process, you should, with any luck, have a pretty small pile of stuff that you want to keep right with you in the house.
4. Use out of the box storage solutions
The things you decide you want to keep but don’t need every day can be packed away into boxes and stored safely. If you are lucky enough to have a clear attic, garage or other storage area at home, great, but for the majority of us this will mean renting out a bit of self storage space. Self storage can be very cheap, and can provide valuable extra space to help free up space in your home. If you have a lot to go into storage, you could consider hiring a man with a van to deliver all your boxes in one go.
5. If you’re feeling brave, try the one year rule
If you are serious about de-cluttering your life, have a go at the one year rule. Fill a box with those things you are always thinking will ‘come in useful’ but never actually use. Seal it up with tape and write the date on the top. If, in one years’ time, the box is still sealed and you haven’t missed any of the contents, take it to a charity shop and donate it without even looking inside. It’s a brave move, but an easy way to get rid of those things you feel strangely wedded to right now.