Whether you’re planning to sell your house fast on the open property market or would just like to live in a more streamlined, clutter-free home, a good clear out is good for the soul! If you’re not sure where to start, our top tips will point you in the direction of a stress-free, clutter-free home.
1. Take it one room at a time: The idea of decluttering an entire home can be a daunting one, so take it in bite-sized chunks and approach the decluttering exercise one room at a time. This will not only minimise disruption to the rest of the house, it will also reduce the pressure on you to complete is all in one sitting.
2. Picture your perfect property: A great exercise to begin the process can be to take photographs of each room as if you were trying to sell your property (without cheating and hiding all of the clutter out of shot!). Take a look at each photograph as objectively as possible and ask yourself what doesn’t need to be in the picture…either find a home for those items or clear them out.
3. Streamline your paperwork: Many of us keep bills and bank statements (and numerous other bits of paperwork!) far longer than we need to. With the rise of online billing and even now emailed receipts for purchases from some larger stores, it’s time to have a serious declutter of that filing. General consensus is that bills and bank statements need only be kept for around 2 years, and with most banks offering online access to statements you may not even need to keep them for that long. If you’re going to be clearing out your filing make sure you do it safely by shredding anything that contains personal information or bank details.
4. Try the clothes hanger experiment: If you’re struggling to clear out your wardrobe, try the clothes hanger challenge. Hang all your clothes hangers facing the wrong way in your wardrobe. As your wear an item and return it to your wardrobe, turn the hanger the right way round. After a period of time look at the items on the hangers that are still facing the wrong way and question whether it’s time to give the items away.
5. Get your linen cupboard organised: Fed up of struggling to find matching sheets and the ever-illusive matching pillowcase? Consider installing pull-out shelves in your linen cupboard so you can see what’s in there, and store complete bed linen sets, including pillowcases and sheets, inside one of the corresponding pillowcases. This will not only make your linen cupboard far neater, it will save considerable time!
6. Take it in stages if you need to: If you’re a natural hoarder, and the idea of getting rid of items is bringing you out in cold sweats, you can take the process in stages. Box up anything that you’re considering clearing out and store it in your loft, garage, or any other storage facility you have available. If you’ve not reclaimed an item in 12 months, you’ve not missed it and it’s time for it to go!
7. Everything should have a home: Ultimately, everything should have a home, and everyone should be clear on where that home is. If you can’t find a home for an item it’s likely you don’t really need it…
Bonus tips for homes with children
1. It’s important to get kids involved and taking responsibility for their things, even at a young age. Try making a bit of a game of the decluttering by playing ‘recycle, donate or keep’. Each person is given 3 boxes or bags and needs to try and find the same number of items to recycle, donate and keep. The recycle pile can include things like broken or incomplete toys, clothes they’ve grown out of or colouring books and comics that have been completed.
2. Get your children engaged with donating items by visiting some worthy causes with them. If that’s not possible, spend some time on the computer with them researching local causes that they might like to donate items to, such as a local children’s hospital, a refuge or a local charity.
3. Once you’ve decided which toys to keep, labelling is key for continued success! Boxes for different toys are a great idea, but you can take it one step further and use zip bags to separate toys and games within the boxes, ensuring all the pieces stay together.
4. Have a ‘funny fashion show’ to declutter any clothes they’ve grown out of. The children can take it in turns to put on a ‘silly’ mismatched outfit and an award can be given for the funniest ensemble. This will let you have a clear out of any clothes they’ve outgrown without it feeling like a chore.
5. Tired of picking coats up off the floor and tripping over school bags? Fed up of the endless battle to find a lost shoe whilst trying to get out of the house in the morning? Try individual, personalised boxes for shoes and bags – 1 per person – and a personalised coat hook. The kids can have fun decorating their boxes, and they can either have a different coloured coat hook or draw a self-portrait to hang above their coat hook. This will help to declutter and also help them to take responsibility for their own items.