We often accumulate an immense amount of stuff over the years, turning our most personal space into a labyrinth of useless things. The souvenir bought on holiday, the jumper that ‘maybe if I lose weight will fit’, that jigsaw puzzle with a missing piece that ‘might turn up’. The result is full cupboards, overflowing drawers or – at best – a cellar that looks like a courier’s warehouse.
Decluttering is the first step in restoring balance, a process that can simplify your life and transform your home into a more orderly, organised and welcoming space.
But what does “decluttering” mean? Literally ‘getting rid of the mess’ or ‘removing clutter’; basically assessing what you own to see if you really need it or can throw it away.
Here is a starters’ guide.
Equip yourself with the right tools
Get hold of four large boxes or containers. Label them clearly with ‘To throw away’, ‘To donate’, ‘To re-assess’ and ‘To sell’ (the last one is of course optional). These will be your reference points during the decluttering process.
One room at a time
Don’t try to revolutionise the whole house in one day: identify the rooms that need some decluttering and deal with them one at a time, even over several days.
Remember the rule of 3
- Discard: if an object is broken, does not work or is simply useless, throw it away.
- Re-assess: postpone the assessment of sentimental objects or objects with potential to the end of the day.
- Donate or Sell: items in good condition that you no longer want can be donated or sold.
4: Set guidelines for the future
Come up with a solid rule to help you make faster and more informed decisions when shopping and tidying up. For example: ‘Buy only what you need’ or ‘If one item goes in, one goes out’. This will help you avoid accumulating new items in the future.
5. Imagine that you’re about to move house
If you were to move today, what would you keep? Everything that does not pass selection should go into the discard, donate or sell pile.
6. Don’t postpone the moment of elimination!
Once you have completed the decluttering of a room, act straight away. Set aside items to be sold or donated and make arrangements for this to happen in the following days.
7. Celebrate a job well done
Decluttering can be tiring, but the results are worth the effort. Treat yourself to a reward for making your space tidier.
By following this step-by-step guide, you can simplify the decluttering process and achieve a more organised and pleasant-to-live-in home, taking less time each time!