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Decluttering Your Home (and Why You Should)

February 10, 2014

When you’re a busy hands-on mum with a young family to care for, it can be hard to keep on top of the chores and keep your house in order. It can be even more difficult for you to relax, even when you’re in the comfort of your own home.

If that sounds familiar, one thing that could help you is decluttering your home and creating a more minimalist style within its walls. How can decluttering help you? Well, first of all, the less stuff you have to clutter up your home, the less stuff there is to be cleaned, polished and dusted, and the easier it is to navigate around the stuff that does need to be cleaned with your trusty vacuum and cleaning products. Then, there are the mental benefits…

When your home is free from clutter, it helps your mind to be less cluttered too. An untidy or full home can cause lots of mental unrest and anxiety. It can make you feel like a bad mum because you’re unable to keep on top of the cleaning, even if you objectively know that this isn’t true and it can bring up all kinds of feelings, good and bad, about the stuff in your home. By getting rid of the stuff that doesn’t bring you any happiness, you can release some of those negative feelings and free up the space in your mind that’s filled with thoughts about your clutter.

Of course, living in a cleaner, tidier environment is just plain nicer. You have more space to run around and play with the kids, less embarrassment about having people over, when you feel like your place is a mess, and you can focus on the things that really matter, rather than the clutter which really doesn’t.

Quite simply, decluttering has no downsides! Great, but how do you go about decluttering your home? Check Out these simple ideas which will help you get to grips with your clutter without making things too difficult. In fact, you might have a lot of fun…

Split it into Five Minute Chunks

If you’re reluctant to get rid of stuff or if you don’t have a lot of time in the day to dedicate to a big decluttering project, you could try the 5-minute technique. All you have to do is schedule 5 minutes in your day every day to gather up as much clutter that you don’t really need as you can, and then get rid of it however you see fit, whether that be tossing it out, giving it to a friend or charity or selling it on eBay. Progress might be slower than it would with some of the other techniques here, but it will be easier to handle, and you will get where you want to be eventually.

Clear a Drawer

Another really easy way to get started on your decluttering journey is by starting with just one drawer. Most of us have drawers filled with mostly junk and since they are so small and the stuff that needs to be decluttered is generally not that important, it’s a good place to get into the swing of things and get used to giving things up.

Give One Thing Away Each Day

Another fairly easy way to start getting rid of the clutter from your home is by resolving to give one thing away a day. It might not seem like much, but in a year, you will be free of 365 things – that really is a lot! If you resolve to give things away to a favourite charity or people in need in your community, it’s a really good motivator too. If you’re trying to get your kids to declutter their toys, then encouraging them to find one thing every day/week/month depending on how much stuff they have, to less fortunate children is a great way to get them on board and teach them about the value of sharing too.

Fill a Bin Bag

Whenever you get the chance, take out a bin bag and see how quickly you can fill it up with trash. Get the whole family involved and make a challenge if it and you’ll soon get rid of those things you’ve all been holding on to for no other reason than you can.

Reverse Your Hangers

Oprah Winfrey has a great technique for working out which items of her wardrobe can be safely decluttered. She simply hangs all of the coathangers in her closet in reverse, and then when she takes out a piece and wears it, she puts it back in with the hanger facing the right way. After a period of six months, any garments that are still on reversed hangers (minus formal wear that might only be worn occasionally) are donated to charity or recycled depending on their condition. If you have a bulging wardrobe try this and it should help you to not feel so bad about parting with clothes – after all if you don’t ever wear them, what’s the point in holding on to them?

Use the List Method

Start with the easiest room to declutter, go around it making a list of everything in there and then mark which stuff you want to get rid of. Remove the clutter and then stop Do the same the next day/weekend with the next room and keep going until you have gotten rid of every scrap of clutter there is to get rid of.

Try the 12-12-12 Challenge

The 12-12-12 Challenge asks you to find 12 items to throw in the bin, 12 items to donate to charity and 12 items to return to their proper place in the home. The good thing about this technique is that it doesn’t ask you to declutter too many items at once, so it’s easier to fit it into your schedule, and because it has a tidying up element too, it will leave you with a tidier home, which is always a bonus. If you want to get even more done with this method, task each member of the family to find their own 36 items, and you’ll get rid of even more clutter.

Take Photos

If you’re struggling to get to grips with decluttering and you don’t really know what stuff you should part with and what you really need/want to keep, start taking photos of every room. When you look at them objectively, you’ll probably find it much easier to see where the clutter lies, what looks good and which stuff you could really do without.

The Whole House Blitz

If you want rid of your clutter and you want rid of it right now, then the whole house blitz might be the best decluttering option for you. When you’re doing this, it’s probably a good idea to find the cheapest bin hire company in your area, hire a skip, free up a weekend and be ruthless about going through your house throwing away everything that isn’t practical or beautiful to you. Once it’s in the skip, you’ll have more space, and you won’t need to worry about it anymore. Try to schedule the skip removal for as soon after you’ve decluttered as possible, so you aren’t tempted to fish stuff out again!

Imagine Your Home Without It

Harnessing the power of your imagination to think what your home would be like without certain objects and how much easier it will be to clean the place where it currently sits is a very good way to help you get rid of the stuff it’s difficult to part with if you know that you would actually be better off without it. So, stand in each room, look at it as it is now, visualise how much better it could be, and then take action.

The Famous Four-Box Method

One of the most famous methods for decluttering the home effectively is the Four-Box Method. Basically, you set up four boxes; keep, relocate, trash and donate. You then go through each room in your home (you don’t have to do it all on the same day) placing every object into one of the boxes, taking your time to carefully consider where each should go. The act of really thinking about which box you want things to go into gives you a really clear picture of how you feel about the stuff which makes it a whole lot easier for you to ditch the clutter that you no longer want. It also helps you to dispose of the clutter pretty efficiently in the end too.

However you choose to declutter your home, The hardest parts is to get started. If you can motivate yourself to start looking at the objects in your home more objectively, that is half the battle won and you are well on your way to a cleaner, less cluttered home that has more space for you and your family to enjoy life together and less stuff to take up your time with chores.

Time to get decluttering!

*This is a collaborative post


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