If you find yourself drowning in a tsunami of stuff, you're not alone. Many of us yearn to live more with less, but don't know where to start. Here are some creative ways to declutter that will overhaul your life!
Are your shelves overflowing with dusty nick knacks? Are clothes spilling out of your wardrobe? Do you rent storage space to store belongings you’ll use ‘one day’? If you’ve forgotten what your furniture looks like thanks to the mounds of junk smothering it, then there’s no better time than now to start decluttering. You’ll save time, money and some people even report health benefits.
Starting to declutter can be a daunting task – but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it can be rewarding and even fun with a few tricks.
Where to begin
Prue Lovejoy, HomeHQ's in-house interior stylist, suggests starting "on something easy, with an item you have been meaning to throw out like that broken lamp on your dressing table. Work methodically through the room, working clockwise. If you work in blocks you won't miss anything or lose track of where you are."
What should stay versus what should go
If you have trouble ascertaining what should stay and what should go, Prue has a solution. "There is one simple question to ask yourself - have I used it in the last 6 – 12 months? The likelihood of you using it again isn’t very high unless it’s an annual thing such as Christmas ornaments. Consider what value it's adding, for example does it suit my décor? Do I get pleasure from looking at it? Is there anywhere else it could go in my house?”
Health benefits of decluttering
Author of ‘Stuffocation’, James Wallman, recommends going one step further to avoid any more cluttering, and seeking happiness in experiences – rather than possessions. “To make sure your possessions play a healthy role in your life and you know exactly what you own, ask yourself these questions: How often do I use my possessions? How much stuff do I really need? Do my things give me experiences and make me happy, or are they bringing hassle, debt, stress and depression?"
Trash versus treasure
Before you start recklessly tossing your stuff into the nearest skip, consider that your trash could be someone else’s treasure. “Money can be made by popping it on Ebay or Gumtree,” says Prue. “Look at swap/trade sites to replace it with something useful, or do a good deed and donate it to Vinnies or the Salvos, who will usually come to pick up larger items as well. You could even send it to a new home on Freecycle.”
If there is something you do want to think twice about, it’s precious family heirlooms. “If you can’t find a home for it, it’s time nana’s tapestry chair went to a new home with a relative,” says Prue. “It’s important to always try and keep it in the family, otherwise everything else is replaceable."
Creative ways to get decluttering
Inspired? Then it’s time to get decluttering! Here are six creative ways to make decluttering a breeze:
1. Set yourself 10 minutes and see how much you can achieve in that time. A smaller timeframe will make it easier to commit. Once you’re on a roll, you may not want to stop.
2. Try decluttering a small space. It could be a shelf, a counter, your shoe rack or a drawer.
3. Fill a bag for charity. Walk around your home with a large rubbish bag, and start filling it with items a charity shop such as Salvos and Vinnies could sell for a good price.
4. Use Oprah’s Closet Hanger Experiment. Hang all your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction. After you wear an item, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the right direction. After six months, you’ll see what you need to keep and what you can give away.
5. Use the three-box method. When you start to declutter certain areas, bring in four boxes: Trash, Giveaway, Sell, Keep. By putting even the items to keep in a box, you’ll be able to start with a clear space and rearrange.
6. Be more mindful of what you buy in the first place. Ask yourself – do I really need it?