A cluttered home can make it difficult to carry out day-to-day living. A cluttered kitchen makes cooking more difficult, a cluttered bedroom makes sleeping and dressing more difficult, and a cluttered bathroom is harder to clean and keep hygienic. More than that, clutter represents money wasted, time spent acquiring things that ended up not being used.
Clutter often becomes invisible to people that live in the house, is quickly noticed by guests and strangers. Even when it’s invisible, it will still be sapping your energy and creativity.
Unfortunately, it’s also insidious. Clothes that no longer fit find their way into the back of the wardrobe – and stay there. Equipment for once popular hobbies gather dust in drawers. Children’s toys fill up the attic, and ‘useful’ gadgets turn out to not be as useful as we thought.
Decluttering is hard work, but well worth the results. Stuff takes up space, and empty rooms represent freedom and easy living.
How to declutter your home
- Take everything out of one room. Start with, for example, the kitchen. Empty the cupboards, the drawers, clear off the work-surfaces, take out the bin, and empty the fridge.
- Clean the empty kitchen (much quicker when it’s empty!)
- Sort the belongings into three piles – the ‘Keep’ pile, the ‘Maybe’ pile and the ‘Throw Away’ pile. The keep pile should be for things you know are absolutely essential – the favorite saucepan you use every day, or the really good chopping knife for example. The pile will be dictated partly by your own lifestyle, so choose wisely. Don’t be fooled by the thoughts that you ‘always meant to start juicing more’. The throw-away pile should be for everything you don’t use, like broken appliances, expired food, and anything that isn’t meant to be in your kitchen! Some of it can be donated or sold, the rest can be recycled or tossed. Anything you aren’t sure about put in the maybe pile.
- Put all the ‘Keep’ items back into the kitchen, giving each item a designated place. Try and organise the kitchen so everything is to hand when you need it.
- Go through the ‘Maybe’ pile again, being more ruthless. Anything that is left, stick in a box and put the box away for three months. If you find you need something from the box, get it out and return it to the kitchen. After three months, donate the rest of the items to Goodwill or similar.
- Enjoy your clean and streamlined kitchen!
- Move on to the next room. One idea is to tackle a room each weekend, so you don’t become overwhelmed.
Once your home is decluttered and you are enjoying the simple and clean surfaces once again you should then start taking steps to ensure clutter doesn’t sneak its way back in. This is easy to do if you follow these rules:
- One in-one out. Every time you buy something non-consumable, something else has to go. So if you buy a new pair of shoes, an older pair has to be tossed.
- For everything you are tempted to buy, ask yourself: do I need it? Can I look after it?
- For non-essential items, have a 30-day waiting list before you rush out and buy it. After thirty days you may find the impulse to buy has worn off and you no longer want the item!
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