Sometimes tidying just doesn’t cut it. To truly get the clean, airy, refreshing space you desire, you need to have a good old fashioned clear-out.
Far too many of us are in the bad habit of tidying when we should really be cleaning and most important, clearing. Putting everything into neat little piles can give the illusion of a clean house, but eventually you have to commit to giving old, unused items the heave-ho.
Here’s how to get organised and de-clutter your way to a better living space:
‘Keep’, ‘Throw Away’ or ‘Donate’
For each room of your home, divide items into one of three categories: keep, throw away or donate. If, at the end, your ‘keep’ pile still looks too large, go through it again. Be more and more discerning with each round until you’ve narrowed the pile down to a respectable size.
Follow the six-month rule
When you’re deciding whether or not an item should make the cut, particularly when clearing out your wardrobe, ask yourself whether you’ve used or worn it at all over the last six months. With the exception of seasonal items, like Christmas decorations and flip-flops, anything that hasn’t made an appearance in six months should go.
Label, label, label
De-cluttering isn’t just about getting rid of items, it’s also about making sure everything has a specific ‘home’. Labelling shelves, boxes, baskets, bins, jars and tubs is a simple way to do this. Use these storage items to create a system for organising different areas of your house, from the kitchen pantry to the bedroom closets and even that cupboard under the sink where miscellaneous items go to die. Make sure to invest in a filing system for important documents like birth certificates, mortgage agreements, insurance forms, wills and passports.
Work as a team
When de-cluttering, sentimentality is your biggest rival. Sometimes we feel emotionally connected to things we no longer need. If you’re having trouble letting go of your “stuff”, invite a friend or family member to come over and help you organise in exchange for dinner. Their company will help cleaning out the attic not feel like such a chore and their objective opinions could come in handy if you’re thinking of hanging onto that old side table for another year.
Look for upcycling opportunities
If you just can’t bring yourself to throw something out, but you know that you don’t have any current use for it, consider whether there’s a way to ‘upcycle’ it. Upcycling is where you refurbish an old item to give it a new purpose.
For example, you can sew together old t-shirts to make a colourful quilt, turn an old suitcase into a comfy cat bed or transform old photo frames into beautiful serving trays. Just remember, upcycling is a great way to make sure a good item doesn’t go to waste, but it doesn’t necessarily create more space in your home. Pick and choose your upcycling projects wisely, or else you could wind up more cluttered than when you started!
What are your de-cluttering tips?