how to declutter your life

How to Declutter Your Life – #1: Declutter Your Home

Declutter your physical space

Decluttering isn’t just about tidying or organising your possessions, but it’s a good place to start. We accumulate physical, mental and emotional clutter as we go through life, but too much of this can stop us from moving forward. By clearing our space, physically and emotionally, we make room for what’s really important for us as well as improving our wellbeing by creating a healthier environment.

Let’s start with de-cluttering our physical space. If you feel like having a big clear out session that’s great, but if not you can still start with small steps. Here are some top tips:

Don’t choose what to throw away, choose what to keep –

Picking out the things you want to possess often feels easier than having to make a decision to get rid of something.

A drawer in a box –

If you have a cluttered kitchen cupboard or drawer, empty all of the contents into a large cardboard box. If you need to use any item from the box, after using and cleaning it, return it to the drawer or cupboard. Set yourself a timeframe that feels right for you, and at the end of that time anything still in the box gets donated, recycled or thrown away. This is great way to help your kids part with toys they no longer play with too, and get into the habit of putting things away in their toybox or cupboard after use.

Donate and Dispose Boxes –

For two weeks place two large boxes or laundry baskets in an easily accessible place. Set yourself a challenge of noticing things you no longer need. You don’t have to set aside a decluttering day, the purpose of this is to make it easy to get clear things out as you notice them. Add them to the appropriate box and at the end of two weeks, take the boxes to charity or a recycling centre. If they’re full after just a week even better, get them emptied and start again.

The Rule of Five –

For five days, set aside five minutes and find five items to donate, five items to throw away, and five items to return to their correct place in the home, or to their owner. After five days you will have cleared at least 50 unwanted items from your home. If each family member takes part or you do this for five more days, just think of the space you’ll create.

Wardrobe space –

Two tips for wardrobes. The first takes a little longer, but if you turn all the hangers in your wardrobe backwards, each time you have worn something and return it to the wardrobe turn the hanger forwards again. After six months you’ll be able to see which clothes could be donated to charity or passed on to someone else. For a much quicker and more dramatic method, Maria Kondo recommends taking everything out of the wardrobe and only choosing the items you want to keep, those that bring you joy. Let go of everything else, donate it to a great charity so it can bring joy to someone new.

The bathroom cabinet –

Go through any toiletries and especially make up in your cabinets, look at the labels and you’ll see lots of them have a fairly short shelf-life once opened, especially eye make up. Declutter these ruthlessly, you don’t want all that bacteria getting on your skin and eyes. Check your medicine cabinet too, and return any expired medication to the pharmacy.

One room at a time –

If these little steps have got you in the decluttering mood, choose one room or zone at a time and go for a big declutter session. Before you start have four bags or boxes labelled Keep, Donate, Throw away, and Relocate. Clear everything into a sorting space then as you come to each item make a quick decision about which box it goes into then move onto the next item. Don’t overthink it, but if you get stuck ask yourself ‘If I saw this in a shop now, at full price, would I buy it? Would I use it?’ or use Maria Kondo’s technique of only keeping the things that serve a purpose or bring you joy.

Where will you start your decluttering? Do you have any great decluttering tips? I’d love to hear them. Next week we’ll be looking at decluttering your time, and freeing up some space in your head as well as in your day.

‘Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor – it’s anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living.’

Peter Walsh – Professional Organiser

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