It’s incredible how quickly we accumulate items. The longer we spend in a living space, the more that clutter seems to build up, transforming previously palatial living spaces into claustrophobic bombsites full of books, clothes and forgotten souvenirs. Whether you’re clearing space for a new arrival in the family, doing a spot of spring cleaning or packing boxes to ship to a new home, it’s essential that you remove that pesky clutter. If the time has finally come to declutter your home once and for all, check out this quick guide to help you get the big clean-out underway:
What is clutter?
Clutter is generally described as an unorganised or untidy collection of items. Clutter builds up easily in the home, especially when we lead busy lifestyles and don’t have the time to deep-clean or organise items regularly. Household clutter is completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of, however decluttering can have a remarkable effect on your sense of well-being and transform your living space for the better, creating extra space and order in the home.
Why we struggle to let go of items
It can be tricky to let go of clutter – we may keep things that we want to re-use for practical reasons, while other items (such as gifts, mementoes and holiday souvenirs) often have strong sentimental value. While it’s important to keep hold of cherished items, it’s also important to let go of those that are taking up unnecessary space.
How to let go
1. Before you start de-cluttering, try to gather the most important sentimental items that you want to keep. Organising (or making a mental note of) these cherished items could be the first step in your clean-out. By focussing on what you would like to keep rather than get rid of, you should be able to make immediate progress in your task.
2. One professional organiser suggests a four-step program for decluttering cupboards and shelves: ‘clear, clean, re-group and re-organise’. These four steps can be applied to any space in your home and can be useful in helping you to prioritise your items and decide what needs to stay or go.
3. If you don’t feel like taking on the whole task at once, a preferable option may be a slow declutter, in which you divide the home into sections and move through each zone at your own pace. This may be best for those with little extra time or those living spaces containing high volumes of accumulated mess.
4. When organising items to get rid of, consider whether any of your friends or family could benefit from them. This enables you to recycle pre-loved items in a meaningful way, rather than throwing them in the trash. This can certainly soften the blow when letting go.