INSIDE: Are you drowning in clutter? Does the thought of purging all your belongings freak you out? I hear you! In this post, I’m sharing my favourite tips and tricks for decluttering success. Want to win at decluttering and clear the clutter once and for all? This is the post for you! I’ve even created a FREE decluttering checklist for you to download too!
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There’s nothing quite like a good clear out…
Standing back and seeing a tidy, uncluttered home and bags full of things ready to donate or trash is a pretty satisfying feeling. No more piles of papers and magazines on the side. No more clothes spilling out of the wardrobe. All the out of date herbs, spices, lotions and potions have gone. As have all the broken and unloved toys your kids never play with. And your drawers, no longer full of things you don’t need or use, finally close again properly too.
The benefits of decluttering…
When we declutter, our homes feel lighter and fresher. We feel lighter and fresher too. Able to think more clearly, we feel less anxious because we’re not overwhelmed by all the junk taking up space in our homes. We spend less time clearing up and putting away because everything has a proper place. Our rooms stay tidier for longer and our homes are easier to clean too – which is a good enough reason for me!
But what if decluttering doesn’t come naturally to you?
What if you’re drowning in so much clutter that you don’t know where to start? What if you find the idea of purging all your belongings so overwhelming that you just want to run and hide? Which room do you tackle first? How do you decide what to keep and what to throw away? What about all those sentimental items? And, when you’ve finally cleared everything away, just how do you stop the clutter from coming back?
Pushing past the fear of decluttering…
If the idea of decluttering totally freaks you out, I know how you feel! Trust me, I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to be totally overwhelmed by all the unwanted, unnecessary ‘stuff’ around you. To feel guilty about the amount of money wasted on items you’ve never used and clothes you’ve never worn. To pull everything out of the closet, freak out and throw it all back in again. And to feel so stressed by all the mess that you’d rather close the door on it and pretend it’s not there than try to sort it all out.
But no matter how full your wardrobes, cupboards and drawers might be, it is possible to clear those decks. To get rid of that junk once and for all. And in this post, you’ll find a few tips and tricks to help you do just that. Below are my favourite decluttering tips from around the web (plus a few from me!) to not only help you get started but keep the momentum going too. Follow these and you’ll be winning at decluttering and purging like a pro before you know it!
How to win at decluttering…
ON GETTING STARTED…
#1. | Know what you’re trying to achieve BEFORE you start.
“Once you know what your goals are, it gives you a better idea on what you want to achieve, whether it be a full home declutter, or a small space declutter and exactly how much you want to get rid of.” Holly, Simplify Create Inspire.
Knowing why you’re wanting to declutter and what you’re hoping to achieve by doing it makes it a whole lot easier to get started. Why do you feel the need to declutter? How do you want to feel once it’s done? Write it down and remind yourself of your reasons for decluttering whenever you feel that momentum start to wane.
#2. | Start small.
If the thought of getting started is what overwhelms you try starting small just like Melissa from Polished Habitat suggests. She says:
“Identify the top 3 to 5 spots in your house that feel cluttered and commit to finishing them over the next 4 weeks. After that, I bet you’ll be hooked and want to continue, but if you don’t that’s okay too. You’ll still have made big progress!”
#3. | Begin with the room you use the most.
“If you start decluttering a room that you don’t go in often such as the attic or a basement bedroom, you aren’t going to see your progress right away.” Cassie, Living Low Key.
I totally agree with this! You might feel accomplished having cleared that room but that sense of achievement won’t last very long. Walking into a room you use all the time and seeing that you’re still surrounded by clutter despite your hard work is going to totally deflate and demotivate you. Want to win at decluttering? Ask yourself which room you use the most and start with that!
#4. | Declutter by season.
Carrie from Clutter Keeper suggests decluttering based on the season. By using the seasons to purge items you no longer need can make the idea of decluttering a lot less overwhelming. Find out how she does it in her post How to Create a Year-Round Routine for Your Home.
ON KEEPING THE MOMENTUM GOING…
#5. | Set the timer.
“Each morning or evening, or even more than once a day, set the timer for 10 minutes and tackle an area in your home that has collected clutter. You’ll be amazed at how much clutter can be reduced in just that little bit of time – and you’ll feel good knowing you accomplished something productive!” Melissa, A Virtuous Woman.
#6. | Don’t get distracted!
When we get started on something it’s easy to get distracted and wander off and do something else. If you want to win at decluttering – without getting distracted, try doing what Eleonore at Invisible Lioness does:
“Don’t leave the room until you’ve finished tidying. Not even to take stuff that doesn’t belong in that room to its rightful place.”
She says that this “increases your efficiency because there are no quick interruptions. No making yourself a tea in between or starting to tidy another room. Just you and a crystal-clear focus”. Makes sense to me!
#7. | Know what you’re going to do with it all.
It’s all very well decluttering but what are you going to do with all the things you decide you no longer need? Make sure you have a plan. Which clothing bank will you take your clothes to? Which charity shop are you donating your items to? When do you plan on taking a trip to the tip? Which app or service will you use to sell your items? And what will you do with everything in the meantime? Have a plan for what you’re going to do with all those black bin bags and you’ll find it easier to get the job done.
KNOWING WHAT TO GET RID OF…
#8. | Ask these three questions:
Knowing what to get rid of can be tough. Just what do you keep and what do you let go of? If you struggle with this, Holly from Pink Fortitude suggests asking yourself these three questions to determine whether the item should stay or go:
- How often do I use this item – will I really need it in the future?
- How much is the cost of replacement and how easy is it to replace the item?
- What is the value of the item?
#9. | Does the item spark joy?
The other option is to use Marie Kondo’s “does it spark joy?” question. If it doesn’t, you probably don’t need it and it’s okay to let it go!
#10. | Pretend you’re moving.
One sure-fire way to win at decluttering? Pretend you’re moving! Simply ask yourself; “If I was moving, would I take this with me?”. If the answer is no, it’s okay to get rid of it. There’s nothing quite like the thought of having to pack and relocate something you don’t want or need. It works every time for me – and it’s even more effective if you’re decluttering because you’re moving house!
#11. | Try the 30-day rule.
“One effective and quick way to declutter is to take a whole drawer and put it in a box. Label it “kitchen junk drawer” or wherever it came from. Put the box in the garage, basement, or your car. If you don’t touch it for 30 days, throw it away.” Jennifer, Sunflower Mom.
And if you want a list of what to throw away right away, check out this list from Kirsty over at Organized Home. It has 100 items that you can throw away RIGHT NOW. It’s guaranteed to give you a quick win and get you motivated!
#12. | Know that it’s okay to let go of sentimental items.
Saying goodbye to items that bring back fond memories isn’t easy but Amanda from Jasper and Willow has the perfect advice for dealing with this. She says:
“The memories that you have of a person or event are not tied to that physical thing. They live in your heart and soul. It is okay to let go!”.
If you have items that mean something to you but you know they’re just taking up space, tell yourself this. Cherish the memory that’s inside of you and give yourself permission to let the item go.
KEEPING THE CLUTTER AT BAY…
You’ve got rid of all the clutter. Your home is nice and fresh. Now how do you stop the clutter from coming back? These tips will help!
#13. | Keep a donation box close by.
“Keep a donation box in an easy to access area of the house. When cleaning up or just doing things around the house and you come across something that needs to go, just put it in. When the box is full, close it up, and donate it.” Surya, The Busy Mom Club.
#14. | Keep a separate donation box for clothes.
“Have a designated donation box in your laundry room or area. When your child says something doesn’t fit, wash it and fold it into the donate box. When the donate box is full, make a simple stop to your local donation drop off.” Brandi, Family Felicity.
#15. | Get rid of those catch-all areas.
Whether it’s the kitchen drawer or a cupboard under the stairs, we all have at least one catch-all area. A place where we stash all the things we don’t know where to put anywhere else. But if we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t be able to hang onto a ton of crap we don’t really need. And so, whilst decluttering, make it your goal to get rid of your catch-all areas. You’ll find it so much easier to keep the clutter at bay!
#16. | Give everything a proper home.
“A place for everything and everything in its place”! If you want to win at decluttering and keeping the clutter at bay, giving things a proper home is key. Just like getting rid of those catch-all areas, when everything has a proper home, it’s so much easier to keep things tidy and keep the clutter at bay. When you’re decluttering, try to give everything you keep a proper home. Then, when you go to put something down, ask yourself where it’s proper home is. If it doesn’t have one, chances are you don’t need it and you can throw it away!
#17. Clear as you go.
“When putting something away in another room, look around for something else to take with you. Rather than spending one minute putting away one thing, spend one minute putting away two or more things. It’s the same amount of effort in much less time.” Kathleen, Life by Kathleen.
#18. | Think twice before you buy anything new.
My final tip to win at decluttering? Think twice before you buy anything new! It sounds obvious but if we’re not intentional about the purchases we make, the clutter very soon builds back up again. And so, whenever you go shopping, ask yourself whether you really need the item you’re looking at. Is it something you need or that you’re going to use? How often will you use it? Where will you keep it? Can’t answer these questions or fully justify the purchase? You probably don’t need it!
How to win at decluttering…
There you have it – my favourite tips for winning at decluttering! Which was your favourite? Which will you try first? Here they are again:
- Know what you’re trying to achieve BEFORE you start.
- Start small.
- Begin with the room you use the most.
- Declutter by season.
- Set the timer.
- Don’t get distracted!
- Know what you’re going to do with it all.
- Ask these three questions: How often do I use this item – will I really need it in the future? How much is the cost of replacement and how easy is it to replace the item? What is the value of the item?
- Does the item spark joy?
- Pretend you’re moving.
- Try the 30-day rule.
- Know that it’s okay to let go of sentimental items.
- Keep a donation box close-by.
- Keep a separate donation box for clothes.
- Get rid of those catch-all areas.
- Give everything a proper home.
- Clear as you go.
- Think twice before you buy anything new.
That’s it for this post! Did you like these tips? What’s your top tip for clearing the clutter for good? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
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