How to declutter: quick and easy tips for organising your home

Ever feel like you’re drowning in stuff? Many of us struggle to declutter our homes because actually finding the time to decide what to do with it can feel overwhelming.

But it pays to get better at this because living and working in cluttered surroundings can have a detrimental effect on our emotional wellbeing.

“Clutter impacts on our energy levels, stealing our focus,” says organising expert Cory Cook . “Too much clutter and we feel overwhelmed, anxious and distracted.”

Ready to get sorting? Here are some quick and easy ideas on how to declutter your home in minutes…

Ask if it sparks joy

“Use this criterion to decide what to keep,” says decluttering guru Marie Kondo, author of Spark Joy, An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying 

“Hold the item firmly in both hands and pay attention to how your body responds. If it doesn’t bring you joy, you will notice that your body feels heavier. Remember that you are not choosing what to discard but rather what to keep.”

Set a timer

Set your phone to alert you in 15 minutes and see how much clutter you can sort in that time. You’ll be surprised!

Focus on one shelf or cupboard a day.

Anything that doesn’t belong, put in a pile until you can find it a home.

Declutter by material

Marie says: “Keep in mind the material that each thing is made of and place items made of similar material near each other.

“My three main categories are cloth, paper and electric, simply because these are often the most scattered around the house.”

Be ruthless

If you haven’t used an item for a year and can’t see it being used in the next one, then sell, recycle or donate to a charity shop.

Prevent clutter from building up

By removing something for every new thing you bring into your home. For instance, if you’ve bought a new umbrella, then do you need your old one?

Tidying paperwork

“Place all those papers that require action in a ‘pending’ box,” says Marie. Once you’ve finished tidying up your papers, set aside a specific time to deal with all the items in the pending box in one fell swoop.

Need something drastic?

Put the problem clutter in a box and only bring out items as you need them. it will soon become clear what’s essential and what’s not.

Decluttering tips for… the kitchen counter

* Gather the clutter and sort it into piles: action, file, and recycle/shred

* Keep smaller items such as coupons, tickets and receipts in jam jars

* Re-pin your notice board, only keeping stuff that’s relevant to the current month – put future notices in a plastic wallet

* Keep a pretty mug for pens and scissors,but don’t let it get too full – think stylish and useful

Decluttering tips for… the bathroom

* Give each family member a drawer, tub or shelf in the cabinet and insist that anything not put back will be binned

* Plastic or perspex trays and small tubs that can sit inside drawers will keep smaller bits together. try the interdesign range from theholdingcompany.co.uk 

* Bin any bottles past their sell-by date, then pop any unopened ones in a box and store elsewhere (the garage or bottom of wardrobe), and only bring in once those half-started ones are empty

Decluttering tips for… the bedroom

* Make the most of space underneath your bed with a smart design. Choose a divan base with pull-out drawers, or a lift-up ottoman bed. These are gas- powered, making them easy to open.

Ruffle bed(above) from £795 excluding mattress, loaf.com

* Tidy your bedside table every morning after making the bed, taking glasses, finished books and so on away.

* Limit tech and its associated cables. If you rely on your phone as an alarm clock, then take time to tidy the cable out of sight with a few cable ties

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