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Like it or not we all have them – those areas in our homes that just naturally accumulate stuff. Once, it was necessary, valuable and loved. Now it’s there ‘just in case.’
Does your To-Do list contain a few repeat offenders? For most people, ‘Sort out the cupboards’ is right up there, along with ‘Organise the family photos’ or ‘Clear the weeds.’ Our physical surroundings influence our happiness and our sense of self-worth, so it makes sense that decluttering them can help to both clear the detritus and lift the weight from our shoulders. Decluttering is good for the soul, good for the family, good for the community and even good for our environment. Scheduling a block of time and prioritising decluttering as a self-care tool, is often all the impetus you need to get started. Rope in your family, friends and kids, turn on some great tunes and enjoy the buzz that comes with making space. Here are our five top tips to make the process a little bit easier.
While some quick wins can be gained by tearing around clearing the obvious mess, the real benefits come when you spend the time in each room to really think about what is needed. Methodically approach your home room by room. By setting time limits, such as a room a month, you can stick to your self-prescribed timetable. Quickly you’ll find that the joy of one clear room will inspire you to keep going.
It’s a big job and careful planning is critical to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes the biggest hurdle is in simply getting started, so choose something small and gain that instant gratification. Then, tackle the bigger projects when you’ve already made some gains. Doing a really good job of decluttering is a marathon not a sprint, so take your time – rather than allocating a whole day, spend a little time each day or each weekend. You’ll have more energy and you’re less likely to burn out.
You loved it once. It had its place. But chances are, if you’re thinking hard about it, it’s past its use-by date. Hanging on to things ‘just in case’ is one of the biggest causes of clutter in our homes, so create a rule that you can live with. If you haven’t used it for 6 months, should you get rid of it? Perhaps someone else might love it? Could it be repurposed? We all have those things that we just can’t bear to part with, those that carry memories we want to hold on to. Keep these wonderful things, but simply assign them their place – perhaps some solid storage boxes in the cupboard, named for each family member, which you can pop things into and reminisce over whenever you desire.
Sometimes, in the ebb and flow of daily routine, once-treasured items can fall by the wayside. Before you get too ruthless with your decluttering, try putting aside a few of your finds to incorporate back into your life. Chances are, if you loved it once, you may find you love it again. Sometimes, uncovering those hidden treasures can be as rewarding as clearing an entire room. Apply the same rule you created earlier and if you don’t use it in your set period of time, out it goes!
In our increasingly consumer-focused society, it can be highly rewarding to reuse or recycle those bits and pieces you no longer love. Label some good-sized boxes and allocate items to their new homes – Clothes for the neighbour’s kids; Take to a charity shop, Sell online, keep (and then challenge yourself a few more times – are you sure??). Separate out anything that can go into the recycling, such as glass, paper and boxes and consider whether anything can be upcycled. There might even be some money in fixing and selling it!A word of warning - most likely, even when you’ve decluttered, your house won’t resemble those in the catalogues! It’s a home, lived in by real human beings and none of us are perfect. So long as it’s a space you can breathe in and enjoy, it’s perfect enough. Good luck!
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