With a new year comes the desire to live lighter and make positive changes in your life. Whatever your motivation is for a clear out, you'll need this to-do list to help you along.
If you've got a few hours up your sleeve, now is the perfect time for a declutter. For some, it's a wonderful way to regularly keep the home fresh, while for others, it can be a stressful experience one continues to delay.
Committing to the declutter is often the hardest part. "Sometimes the task can seem overwhelming and you don’t know where to start," says organisational expert, Dr Bailey Bosch. "You want instant change to reward you yet also motivate you to keep going, so start with areas of the home you spend most of your time and look for ways to make a big impact."
Bailey believes the key to a successful cull lies within your mindset. "Before starting any decluttering project you'll need to address your scarcity mindset," she says. Basically, if you are a bit of a hoarder, it's time to start letting go of those thoughts that keep you hanging on to items ‘just in case.’ "Take a moment to notice how replaceable most items are," she says.
This really goes without saying, but donating clothing can have a huge flow-on effect in relation to the rest of your home. Less clothing means more wardrobe space, which lets you pack more things away, out of plain sight. If you haven't worn something in the last 12 months, chances are you won't miss it. Ditch things that no longer fit you, whether they be too big or small.
Do you have a cupboard overflowing with containers? You're not alone. If you brace yourself for a landslide of plastic boxes every time you open the door, you are in desperate need of a cull. "Only have plastic containers that match," suggest Bailey. "You don’t really need so many different sizes. Choose the size you use most frequently and only have those as this save you time trying to match up lids, too."
If your little ones have grown tired of their toys, take the opportunity to remove them from their room. "Children get overwhelmed with too much choice. Their little brains can’t cope with all those toys in the playroom and they end up playing with the same items," says Bailey. "Don't be afraid to sell or donate."
If they are complaining about you taking away old toys, get crafty. "Leave their favourites easily accessible and do a rotation so they experience a sense of novelty when you exchange the toys to play with," advises Bailey.
Make-up and beauty products
Spend some time in the bathroom, throwing out disused cleaning products and almost-empty bottles. After you've finished, turn your attention to your make-up. Most of the products in your cupboard have a best before date printed on the packaging. Generally, moisturisers and skincare have a shelf life of 12-24 months, but your mascara can be out of date in as little as three!
Manuals for appliances
After purchasing a new gadget, appliance or toy, it's normal for you to want to keep the instruction manual, in case anything goes wrong. But, how often do you actually refer back to the book once you know how to work it?
Google can replace the many chunky books you're holding on to. If you type in the make and model of your product, you should be able to locate one online. For peace of mind before you dump them, search the 'net and see them online for yourself.
Faded, torn or underwear with holes in it needs to go in the bin. You might be holding onto an old-faithful bra that's comfy, but along with being much-loved, it's probably no longer giving you the support you need. Same goes with underwear - if it's got holes or tears, throw it out. This might not apply to you, but we can confidently say it applies to most of the men in your house.
Have you ever counted how many spaces you have to sit in your home - and do you actually need that many chairs to sit on? "If an occasional chair just ends up being a dumping ground for unfolded laundry, get rid of it," says Bailey. "Charities are desperate for good quality furniture, and getting rid of big unused pieces of furniture to create an instant visual void to help you see how much your mental clutter clears in the process."