There may never be a perfect time to de-clutter your home – it is a task more often than not that we put off until an event occurs to force us into it; like moving home, for instance. But living in a cluttered home is simply adding to the stresses of modern life so we could all benefit from a clutter-free, well-ordered home. A home where everything has its own storage space and we know where that is.
But, naturally, decluttering your home is never as easy as it sounds. Sometimes we get started full of good intentions but fail to complete the task because we are overwhelmed by all our stuff but don't leave it until something like moving house forces you into it otherwise you won't reap the benefits. The problem is not made any easier by the fact that we often simply do not have enough storage space in our homes. Modern homes, in the UK at least, are far smaller than they used to be and yet, paradoxically, we probably all own more stuff in these materialistic times that we live. So we frequently struggle to live uncluttered lives.
What that means is that we can never find what we are looking for, tempers fray and that leads to stress. Shelves and cupboards overflow with old children's toys, books, magazines and all those things we keep “just in case". That makes it difficult to know where to start decluttering so we put it off yet again.
But this time, make it different; take a look at these 5 easy steps to achieving a clutter-free, well-organised home.
1: Wardrobes and Drawers
Be honest when decluttering your wardrobes and drawers – that old dress you hope to be slim enough to fit into one day? Get rid of it. That expensive skirt that doesn't really suit you and you have only worn once? Get rid of it. The expensive shoes that are uncomfortable? You know what to do. Donate to charity anything in good condition, give away what you can and bin the rest. Allow yourself to keep a few “treasures" if you have storage space available in the attic or in a self-storage unit.
Any food items that are out of date need to be binned as does anything broken or unusable so remove everything from the kitchen cupboards – remember to be ruthless.
When you have cleared the cupboards and replaced everything still edible or usable make a start on the work surfaces. By now your cupboards should have some free space in them so anything that had been permanently living on the worktop may now find a home on a cupboard shelf. When at all possible store away item that are not used every day – this will not only make the kitchen look tidier but will make it easier to keep clean.
Take everything out of the bathroom cabinet and off any flat surfaces such as shelves or window ledges. Make-up, sunscreens and medicines all have “use by" dates so check them and throw away any that are out of date. This will create some free space in the cabinet so that you no longer have to leave anything on the window ledge or cluttered open shelves.
4: Attic, Garage & Garden Shed
Perhaps the hardest places to declutter of all are the attic, garage and garden shed. It is so easy just to dump stuff in these spaces and forget about it but these are valuable spaces if properly organised so don't stop at just the interior of your home.
Start by making sure there is a proper place to store regularly used items such as tools, bikes and car accessories. Put up shelves or racks where necessary.
Find separate places for items such as Christmas decorations, sports gear, suitcases, garden furniture etc. that may not be used all the time. Again shelves and well-labelled boxes will help you organise these things.
5: Other Stuff
Personal possessions are perhaps the hardest things to part with but often the items that create the most appearance of clutter as they fill shelves and other open spaces. If you don't have them already consider investing in enclosed storage units rather than open shelves. And be prepared to give up a whole week-end, or more, if necessary, to really tackle this job. This isn't about throwing away your memories and treasures but about improving your living space now. Remember that when you are considering holding onto the broken doll that your grown up daughter had when she was 6.