banner heading 5 simple tips to cut the clutter


5 simple tips to help declutter!  We all have stuff!  Some of us are better than others at keeping the stuff in order and having organisation about the place.  Do you pick things up and move them from one place to another if you have visitors?  Do you have a dumping ground in an unused part of the house?

It’s a new year, so let’s try and start as we mean to continue.  Organised and clutter free!  We live in a disposable society, whether we like it or not.  How often do you buy something new, maybe because it’s on special, even when you already have the exact same thing at home that you still use.  You put the new item into use, but keep the old one just in case!  It still works, so why would I get rid of it? But you haven’t really got anywhere to put the old one, so it gets shoved in the spare room (or your usual dumping area) and you’ll worry about it later! Does this all sound too familiar?

So where do you start?  You had nowhere to put stuff before Christmas, and now there’s even more stuff to find a home for!

I bought a book many years ago that really gave me the decluttering and organising bug.  I read it from cover to cover when I first got it.  It all made sense, and really helped me get myself organised both inside and outside the house.  A lot of the ideas and suggestions are things I’ve learned from this book by Cynthia Townley Ewer, together with my own experiences thrown in.  You can check out Cynthia’s website here.

4 pictures of cluttered spaces

Here are 5 simple tips to help you get started on your decluttering journey!  

1.  How to start

Don’t think you can tackle the whole house in one go, or even a whole room.  Pick a specific area, and concentrate on one bookcase, or perhaps it might be just one shelf, or the top of the dressing table, or the end of the kitchen bench.  Decide how much time you have available for this session, and set a timer.  You’ll be amazed how much you can get done once you get focussed.  Once the timer starts beeping, STOP.  If you have more time and the motivation, set the timer again and do another session, but only until you finish the particular area you nominated.  There’ll be more time to do the next bit tomorrow.

2.  The Process

My Dad is a hoarder, and this is how we tackled his stuff before he moved house.  Cynthia suggests you start with 3 crates, boxes or bags for various items.

Rubbish – anything that is broken and can’t be fixed, worn out, and just plain past it’s use by date.

Donate – someone else’s junk is another’s treasure!  Keep for a Garage Sale (if you really think you’ll have one) or put aside to take to the charity shop, or another worthy cause.

Needs a home – If you pick up something that shouldn’t live where it is, put it in this box or bag to sort out later.

Sell – this is an extra one I’ve added in.  There might be some perfectly good items you’d prefer to sell.  An extra bit of pocket money is always an added bonus.  Or you could donate it to a charity of choice.

3.  How to decide if you really need it

If you’d forgotten you had it, you probably don’t need it.  It probably also means it’s been a long time since you used it.

Multiple items? If you have 2 printers, do you really need both?  Three skipping ropes?  You can only use 1 at a time.  You get where I’m coming from here?

It was a gift, so you can’t get rid of it!  Remember, we are trying to declutter here, so you need to take the emotion out of your decisions to get rid of stuff.  If you don’t like it, or are never going to use it, what’s the point of keeping it.

It’s too valuable just get rid of it!  Put it in the ‘Sell’ pile.  If you’re not likely to use it, but think it has value, then someone else will likely see value in it too.

It’s broken, but I was going to fix it!  How long has it been broken?  Do you have the pieces to fix it?  Have you already started using something else instead?  It’s either something for the rubbish pile, or the sell pile if you really think it’s worth it.

4.  Everything in it’s place?

You will never keep the clutter under control and organised if you don’t have a home for it.  Think about your ‘dumping’ space.  Do you need storage to help with the organisation?  Perhaps a bookcase or shelving unit with some nice boxes or baskets will help. Maybe plastic crates with lids can be stacked on top of each other to keep things tidy.  Make sure you label appropriately so you don’t have to go through each crates when you need something.

Do all the bills end up in a pile on the kitchen bench?  Use a basket or a letter holder, or some specific ‘container’ that works for you to keep everything tidy.

If it doesn’t have a home you will never cut the clutter.  Use labels to help ensure everyone knows what goes where.  Simply labelling the shelves in the linen cupboard might mean any ‘helpers’ put the bath towels with the bath towels, and not on top of the sheets!

5.  A team effort

If you’re a family with kids, you need to make it easy for everyone to help with keeping the clutter at bay.  What if everyone has a box or basket with their name on for all their random bits and pieces to go into.  If they can’t find something, likely it’s in their basket. It then becomes their job at the end of the week (perhaps with your help) to put everything away.

There are so many organising and storage solutions and ideas available to help cut the clutter and get things organised.  At the end of the day, if you really can’t see the wood for the trees, and the emotions are totally taking over, give me a call.  I’d love to help clear your spaces and give you hints and tips on how to keep on top of the clutter.

Let me know what you would add to this list?

How do you make a decision about whether to keep something or ditch it?