Now that Spring has arrived, there’s no better time to get your house in order ready for the new season. By decluttering your home, you can make the most of your space and your interior style.
From toys, ornaments and antiques through to books, handbags and shoes, we all have a tendency to hoard things. But follow our 12 steps and you’ll soon have a clearer, tidier home.
1. Set aside time
Be realistic about the time it will take to declutter and don’t attempt to do it all in one day. Start with one room at a time, preferably the least cluttered space so that your morale remains high when it’s done.
2. Keep, throw or donate
When you start decluttering, you need to create three piles:
- Things you want to keep.
- Stuff to throw out.
- Better quality items to donate to other people or charities.
Anything you haven’t used or looked at for a year or more should be thrown or donated.
3. Be ruthless
Get the whole family involved and be ruthless about what you actually need in your house. For example, it’s easy for children to accumulate masses of toys, but ask them to choose just five or six to keep. Explain that the other toys will be given to children who need them more.
4. Get organised
When you’ve decided what you’d like to keep, there should be significantly fewer things to store. For items that need to be put away in the loft, buy proper storage boxes. Also, try adding racks to the walls in the garage or shed so that the floor can be kept free.
5. Use storage effectively
Make sure that every room has some storage so that visible clutter doesn’t build up. This could be anything from a toy box in the children’s rooms; a desk with drawers in the study; or a vanity unit under the sink in the bathroom.
Try to keep the amount of stuff you actually throw away to a minimum. Instead, recycle as much as you can at your local household waste recycling centre. You’ll probably find you can recycle far more than you think, for instance, electrical items, textiles, shoes and timber.
7. Dispose of waste correctly
If you have a large quantity of clutter you need to throw out, hire a skip to make the process easier. Remember that some waste material, such as half empty tins of paint, needs to be disposed of carefully at your local household waste centre because it’s hazardous.
8. Donate to charity
Items that are too good to throw away can be donated to a charity shop near you. Some larger shops accept furniture and small electrical items, as well as books, clothes and oddments; bear in mind that any soft furnishings will need a fire label.
9. Sell unwanted items
If you have some potentially valuable items such as antiques or collectables, don’t just give them away. Instead, it would be worth getting them valued at an auction house. If you have the time, you could also try selling them yourself on an auction website.
10. Use your space wisely
The places where junk tends to accumulate are the little-used rooms such as the spare room and the conservatory. To prevent this happening again, use these spaces for their original purpose. Furnish the spare room so that it’s always ready for guests and insulate your conservatory with blinds so it can be used all year round.
11. One in, one out
Collections of objects can be wonderful, but it’s easy for them to get out of hand. To solve the problem, try to use the ‘one in, one out’ rule. When you add an item to the collection, simply donate or sell something else from it.
12. Keep on top of it
It’s scientifically proven that a decluttered home is good for your health. That’s because less mess equals less stress so it’s important to keep on top of the clutter. Check each room every three months or so and get rid of any junk that may have accumulated.