This idea is as simple as it gets, but you might find that it’s the easier way to really get to know your belongings. Meseidy Rivera of The Noshery downsized to a tiny home in stages. To rid her life of unnecessary clutter, she turned to a notepad and began categorising her items into the following: ‘must-have’, ‘can live without’ and ‘can replace’. For the latter, bulky items can be swapped for smaller versions that can be neatly stored.
Hands up who has at least one thing they intend to sell online but still haven't? We forgive you— we all do it! Try to avoid keeping unwanted items stashed in cupboards to eventually make some cash but never get around to it. Add them to the charity bag or commit yourself and book in a boot sale date to sell it all off in one go.
According to Marie Kondo, about 30% of the food in your kitchen is out of date. And if you haven’t used the hibiscus syrup in a year, you’re never going to. It’s time to get ruthless!. Double check produce is in date and if you haven't used it for a while ditch it. Repeat the process every month.
While you're in the kitchen, reassess your pantry. Are your jams crammed in with your pulses? Once you’ve ditched the expired and unwanted goods, rearrange the space so that certain food groups are stored neatly. Use baskets, racks and storage containers to keep similar items together and organised. Use a labeller to identify what’s inside boxes or opt for clear containers.
There is nothing lovelier, in an organised person's eyes than opening a drawer to find it perfectly grouped and arranged. But if that doesn't come naturally lookout for a well-made draw organiser to get the job done. Sharon Lowenheim, aka the Organizing Goddess, agrees, "You'll be able to see everything in the drawer and know that each time you return to the drawer, your items will be in the same place as before, without shifting to the back".
Are your kitchen cupboards overflowing with crockery or is the top-shelf in your wardrobe bursting with accessories? If you really can't rid your home of treasured possessions, learn the art of putting everyday items out on display. Group stylish vessels of the same colour on shelves in the bathroom or kitchen or mount hooks in your bedroom to hang coordinated hats from walls.
Households with lots of children tend to accumulate an ever-growing amount of stuff unless it is kept under control. At the end of each day or before you leave the house ask your kids to follow the '10 Things' Rule which means simply picking up and putting away to keep on top of the clutter. Why not make it a game to make it fun—such as who can finish first? Or, only pick up green things etc.
Keep your nightstand clear of clutter by adding an extra fabric tidy to your bed for bits and bobs. A convenient bedside pocket provides the perfect place to stow your bedside book, remote control and spectacles.
Take a segment of time, even just 15 minutes a day, and see how much you can cull. Yvonne Pratt, of StoneGable blog, says, "The 15-minute tidy is gentler and kinder and actually works much better in the long run." A timer will make a great motivator if you have trouble sticking to a deadline, find starting a task overwhelming or are easily distracted.
Or try this 10-minute blast to get a room in order. Tidy up anything that’s on the floor. If the floor is covered in stuff and you’re low on time or energy, just do as much as you can in 10 minutes. Work quickly and don’t think about it too much. Invest in storage to hide away what you can't get rid of. Do a quick sweep of the coffee table, removing any dirty cups, glasses and plates. Put remote controls together and recycle any newspapers or magazines if you’re finished with them.
Organisation starts with effective storage. Leicester-based antiques furniture seller Lucy of @lucyslockup collaborated with UK-store, Dunelm to breathe new life into a vintage linen press. She transformed this previously brown piece of furniture into a useful, fresh-looking cupboard with soul that's ideal for use as a spacious laundry cupboard. Why not allocate shelves for specific linens with cute labels too, so everything has a place?
Place a basket in the hallway or utility room to always have a place to put clothes and small items ready to go to charity. Choose storage that is more attractive than a cardboard box such as this grey ribbed bucket or hang a belly basket from a hook on the wall. Then, transfer the items to a box when it's full.
You are bound to have things that no longer fit or have fallen out of fashion. Pile everything you own onto the bed (if you’re doing this for the whole family, take it one person at a time!) and sort into four piles for ‘keep’, ‘donate’, ‘store’ and ‘trash’. Any seasonal clothing like summer dresses and snow gear can go away in vacuum bags till the right time of year, and so can anything you don’t wear but want to keep like heirlooms and one-off pieces. By getting rid of things that are no longer useful, you'll be able to create a truly dreamy closet.
While most of us play music through Spotify or iTunes, chances are you’ve got some records that live in the physical world. Proper storage will make a huge difference here: get racks for your favourite albums, store lesser-played CDs in boxes and invest in some record boxes that stack. Donate anything damaged or that you don’t like anymore – any space you make means you can add something better to your collection! Obviously, going fully digital is also an option for die-hard organisers but vinyl lovers might regret letting go of their collection!
Is your home office working overtime? Unless you’re dealing with important documents like birth certificates and diplomas, chances are your paperwork can be digital. For everything else, gather it into a pile and dive in. Sort into different categories, such as ‘bills’, ‘recipes’ or ‘insurance’. Then go through each pile and sort into recycle, shred and file categories, separating anything urgent. When that’s done, use boxes or a filing cabinet to store your essentials.
From phone chargers to candlesticks, this category covers anything that doesn’t currently have a natural home. The key here is to assign a place for everything. Don’t worry too much about throwing lots of different things together in a cupboard, for example, as long as like is grouped with like in storage baskets or boxes. Your hairdryer, brushes and rollers can go in one while crafting materials might be in another. Just be ruthless before you start putting things away!
This is the hardest category to tackle, and that’s why it should always be last. It might be that you want to keep everything together in a box that you take out from time to time, or perhaps you want to bring these keepsakes out into your home to be admired daily. Choosing one item to represent a person or a time you want to remember means you can let go of an overwhelming collection. Plan a project to put together a photo album with your favourite snaps that you’ll treasure, rather than keeping hundreds of photos.
Of course, there are plenty of different approaches to decluttering. If you're feeling overwhelmed, then simply start small. Organisation expert and cleanfluencer, Lela Burris, suggests beginning with the items that you hardly notice. This includes things like old magazines, out of date nail polish, single socks and lidless Tupperware containers, which can be used to hold smaller items like stationery when you're sorting out drawers.
The KonMari method of tidying suggests we should only keep items that spark joy. Her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up advocates being more conscious of our emotions about our belongings. She suggests taking time to thank the items that you want to get rid of for their service and treasure the items that you keep. Taking time to acknowledge why you’re hanging on to something can often free you of its power, making it easier to let it go. For everything you can't bear to part with, give it a beautiful container and keep it to hand.
Getting rid of things that we might need one day can feel counter-intuitive, especially if we are concerned we’ll have to one day buy a replacement. But in most instances, ‘just in case’ really means never, and it’s just a way of allowing us to hang onto something we don’t need now, rather than let it go. Have you ever used your ice cream maker? Does your old pair of hiking boots ever see the light of day? Let them go and free up some space!
Decluttering doesn't have to be hard work, and you should feel free to do anything that makes it easier for you. Many people like the idea that some items get a second chance. For those items that you’re not 100% sure of, put them away in a box for a few weeks, out of sight, then come back to them and make a final decision. If you’ve forgotten what’s in the box, you know what you need to do.
Have you ever wondered why you have five wooden spoons, six vases and three rain coats? YouTuber, tiny house dweller, and author of Live a F.A.S.T. Life, Jenn Baxter knows exactly how to declutter a home. One of her biggest tips is to rid your rooms of duplicates. Think about what you actually use and need and cut down to one of each item. You might be surprised by how much space you instantly free up – and the last thing you want is to become a hoarder.
When it comes to duplicates, our bathrooms can be a big problem. Over time, we collect items we rarely use, or forget about altogether. From unwanted gifts to expired products, our vanity units can soon become overrun. The Home Edit experts Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin have some fantastic tips for purging your beauty range. The first step is to group every product into categories. Next, toss anything out of date, any duplicates, or any products you never use. You should then be able to neatly organise what’s left with some suitable bathroom storage.
Any parent will know that toys can take over a home. Andrew and Crystal Odom of Tiny r(E)volution suggest you ask yourselves three questions: Do they love it? Do they need it? Do they use it? You can then use this approach to cull anything that no longer serves a purpose. Clea and Joanna of The Home Edit also say you should never ask a child if they still want something, because they will always say yes. Just go with your gut and then invest in some kids' room storage solutions.
It's one of those annoying home jobs but decluttering your medicine cabinet is an ideal quick project to get started. Sort through and get rid of any medicines and pills that are out of date (safely, by returning them to your chemist or doctor). If you have boxes and boxes of the same item ask yourself why. Do you need to keep them? Throw away any multiples you don’t use frequently. Try making a note of the things you use often and don’t buy any more until these are finished.
Is your garage a dumping ground for stuff? Well, you’re not alone. Far from being a place to store the car, the garage is often the most cluttered corner of the home. So, take a tip from Driven By Decor and use wall tracks to keep things off the floor. This method utilises redundant wall space and means you’ll easily be able to find things when you need them. You can also install shelving, mount bikes to the ceiling, and create a fold-away work bench that frees up space when not in use. These genius garage hacks will help you declutter the space for good.
Once you've invested in garage storage shelves (or lookout for old kitchen cupboards to repurpose) use them to keep seasonal items safe, dry and out of the way. And, we're not just talking about the Christmas decorations. Homeware, Easter table china, and garden cushions can all take a turn when it's not their time to be useful.
Do you really need all those cushions? Probably not. They get a lot of use so keep the newest or best quality cushions and donate the rest to charity. If one has sentimental value, keep the cover and ditch the pillow to save on storage space. Similarly, tatty throws and blankets could be making your home look tired – donate them to an animal shelter and get something new to give your space an instant lift.
Chaotic stacks of containers, thousands of chopsticks and tired cookware can all go. It’s time for a wake-up call! Work one cupboard at a time and have a bin and a recycling box nearby. Reorder everything you’re keeping and use in-cupboard storage systems to avoid piling things on top of one another, making them difficult to access. Hang lids on doors and use a Lazy Susan to make the most of every inch of space. If you're working with a small kitchen, these storage ideas should inspire.
Instagram superstar Mrs Hinch has gained millions of followers for her unique cleaning videos and she advocates the 'clockwork method'. Start immediately to your left as you walk through the door at a section we'll call 12 o'clock, then split the room into 12 sections and tackle each one, working from top to bottom. To make the job even easier, she suggests starting with a full run around the clock for tidying, then repeat for cleaning before doing the floor. Ready to decorate? Then style-up your coffee table with these smart ideas.
Some people find it easier to declutter by following some kind of organised format. A popular one is to get rid of one thing on day one, two things on day two, three things on day three and so on, until you get to 30 days. This will get rid of a serious amount of stuff in a month and make decluttering feel doable and easy. Use this method to make a start on tricky problem areas you've been putting off and for clearing out the junk drawer!
If that doesn’t work for you, try the simple task of finding 12 items to throw away, 12 to donate and 12 to move to a new space in your home that lets them be appreciated fully. It’s a quick and effective way to sort through 36 things and you can even turn it into a competition between you and your partner or roommate.
For a set period of time, ban all new purchases aside from essentials. There’s no point reducing your clutter if you’re going to add to it and putting the brakes on for a few weeks also helps to break the habit. Some wannabe minimalists try a month-long shopping ban. Instead of buying, write the item down and come back to it after the ban is lifted. If you still want or need it, go for it. But there’s a good chance time has reduced your desire for it anyway.
To keep on top of clutter you really need a place for everything, especially so in small spaces. Utilise the storage space you have carefully and keep similar items together. Marie Kondo says that it's easier to group commonly used items altogether. This perfectly organised cabinet drawer has all the daily essentials in one place, laid out flat so you can find exactly what you need.
Another trick for maintaining a decluttered existence, once you've created a calm living space, is to make sure you don’t allow anything new into your home until something else leaves. This will help you to stop shopping for things you don't need. If you take the plunge and purchase something new, then remember that something else will need be donated to charity or tossed in the trash.
Organisation expert and Home Made Neat founder, Ariana, knows how difficult it can be to let go, so she has a simple method to help you alter your mindset. Instead of holding onto clutter or buying because there's a sale, she says you should instead donate your items to someone in need, buy only out of necessity and remember that things are replaceable. These hardworking hallway ideas might just help you get into gear.
Another approach is to take each day at a time. Ethan Waldman, author of Tiny House Decisions: A Comprehensive Guide to Planning Your Tiny House, suggests removing just one item from your home per day. This way, you can take your time to consider what you do and don't want to keep. He suggests starting with the things that you're keen to be rid of, then when you gain confidence you can tackle larger items with more sentimental value. The one-day approach can also be applied to each room in turn.
Don’t expect total change immediately, but try and do one problem area a month going forward. Decluttering is a long process of changing your attitude to your belongings, as much as changing the layout of your home. Be kind to yourself and remember there will be periods in life when clutter will happen. Thinking hard about what you want and how you want to live will stand you in good stead for the ongoing process.
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