As two people who don’t seem to buy a lot of material possessions, our house still seems to be pretty full of things. Every room in our house has got lots of stuff in, some of which we definitely do not need. There are lots of DVDs we’ve watched and are now just sat on the shelf, likewise with books and some (older) magazines. There’s paperwork, albeit neatly filed away, that has been growing in number since me and my husband moved in together in 2010.
As I’m trying to move to a more minimalist home and lifestyle, a serious declutter has to take place in our home. But, getting rid of objects can sometimes be a stressful and quite emotional experience, especially if the things you are sorting through have family connections. Riffling through your own belongings can often conjure up memories and feelings from another time. But, there are things you can do to make the process of decluttering your house easier without the stress it can cause.
Start off small. The first thing I have done this week has been to shred all of the paper/post that needed shredding, which we put in a pile until it gets to the point where it really needs to be sorted. Go through one file/box/pile of paper and keep what you need, and shred what you don’t. Once you’ve done that, then put the saved documents into a pile to file away. If you start off small, then the task of decluttering can seem much less daunting. But, whatever task you have started, make sure you complete it; it will make you feel so much better and positive about the experience.
Accept that it may take time. Depending on your circumstances, decluttering your house may be a more long term project. Even when this is the case, take it one step at a time. Aim to declutter one room, or even one part of a room at a time. Creating and maintaining a more streamlined home can take a while, especially getting into the routine of sorting out things when you get, so that clutter doesn’t take over.
Have a “maybe” box. When you’re decluttering, if there’s something you really can’t decide on, then put this in a maybe box whilst you think about whether you actually need it or not. In a couple of weeks, look at the things again in this box and see whether you have needed them in the past two weeks; if not, the chances are that you probably don’t need them either.
Use specific boxes/piles for your things. You need to separate your items into four (or five, if you have a maybe box): Keep, Bin, Charity and Sell. This means you can quickly sort your items into these four areas, and then, depending on which box/pile your items fall into, the more quickly you can sort them out. Once you’ve finished decluttering an area, try to sort this straight away. Anything in the bin pile gets thrown out straight away. Anything you want to keep, which is probably less than you think it might be, can be tidied away. The charity items need to be bagged up so that you can drop them off when you’re next near your local charity shop. The sell pile can either be dealt with there and then, or you can put to one side until you have some time to deal with this. I tend to keep things and then do a car boot sale in the summer months when it’s warm. Whether you do that, or sell them online, getting some money for your unwanted items is a big motivator.
Set aside an hour a week to spend on decluttering your home. Little and often will help you get into a routine where you can sort out any incoming items and have a general tidy around. This includes sorting our post – I’m really bad at putting all of our post on our small kitchen table. It then gets left there until it’s so untidy that I can’t stand it any longer and sort it out. I am determined to get into a habit of sorting out our post when it arrives rather than letting it pile up.
Have specific places where items can belong. If necessary, buy some baskets to store things in, so that items have their own specific place within your house. It is much easier to tidy things away when you know where they’re supposed to be going. This will also help when you need to locate something next time as you’ll know where it is! We’ve got storage boxes similar to these which we have under the bed to put things in.
Remember, you didn’t accumulate all of these things in an afternoon, so decluttering your house can seem like a never ending task. But, as you can into the habit of sorting out and organising your home, the more likely it is that you will want to bring less stuff into your home in the first place. Having a decluttered home means that life gets a lot more simple, plus you don’t have to spend lots of time sorting out and tidying things away!
Is your house tidy? Do you need to declutter? Is there anything I have missed? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!