By Amy Hunt
Ever feel like you’re drowning in stuff? Yet deciding to declutter your home can initially feel overwhelming and exhausting.
Downsizing can often help - it's far better to have a few of the best induction pans, rather than a cupboard stuffed full of old cooking utensils, or a capsule outfit collection that won't leave you rifling through wardrobes stuffed with old clothes.
It pays to get better at this because living and working in cluttered surroundings can have a detrimental effect on our emotional wellbeing. Just simply ordering your cosmetics with some nifty makeup storage units, or organising a chaotic fridge can create an all mighty feeling of satisfaction. And there's a science behind that.
“Clutter impacts on our energy levels, stealing our focus,” says organising expert Cory Cook. Cory specialises in time management and productivity, which many of us struggle with in our daily lives.
“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 hours, or even minutes...
8 easy tips to declutter your home
1. 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.”
2. 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!
If you aim for just 15 minutes a day, you'll soon see a big difference.
3. Focus on one shelf or cupboard a day
Anything that doesn’t belong, put in a pile until you can find it a home.
You can store this 'pile' in a box, bag, or storage unit out of the way until you have time to organise your miscellaneous items. The last thing you want is more clutter! This is a great tactic when it comes to working out how to clean a bathroom.
4. 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.”
5. 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.
Your trash could be someone else's treasure!
6. 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?
It's good to keep cleansing the fridge, draws and cupboards of anything you no longer need.
7. Tidy up 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.
8. 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 list
- 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.
- 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.
Amy Hunt is Life Channel Editor at womanandhome.com, having been with the brand since 2015. She began as the magazine's features assistant before moving over to digital as a News and Features Writer, before becoming Senior Writer, and now a Channel Editor. She has worked on either women's lifestyle websites previously too—including Woman's Weekly, Goodto.com, Woman, and Woman's Own. In 2019, Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards, for her work on womanandhome.com. She is passionate about everything from books, to homes, to food and the latest news on the royal family. When she isn't editing or updating articles on cleaning, homewares, the newest home gadgets, or the latest books releases for the website, she's busy burying her nose in a gripping thriller, practising yoga, or buying new homeware of her own.
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