Is your life suffocating under a pile of clutter that you no longer love, like or even use? Do you wish your day-to-day living was more streamlined and sleek? Can you spare a few minutes a day (or a week if you’re really stretched) to clean up your act at home?
When we were living in caves, it made sense to hoard as much food and belongings as possible to ensure the survival of the species – cavemen and women had an excuse: for a start, anything they hoarded was biodegradable, and of course there was no internet shopping. Today, there are no such excuses.
If you’re a clutter nutter, the mere prospect of tackling your home may feel like taking on a marathon without any training. But the truth is that if you declutter little and often, small steps will make a big difference.
We’ve compiled a list of creative ways to help you declutter your home to make spring cleaning your surroundings quick and easy, too.
10 quick and creative ways to declutter your house
- Your email account already has one, now you need one for your home: an outbox. Find an area which is out of the way of daily family ‘traffic’ and set up an area – it can be a box or just a bit of spare floor space – where you can place objects you’re not sure you can give up but think you should. Each item in the outbox area should remain there for a week during which time you can decide if you want to keep it, recycle it, give it to charity or bin it. This process eliminates the horror of making a mistake in the red-hot fervour of decluttering.
- Sign up to your own 365 Decluttering Project: commit to removing 365 items in your house that you no longer want or need. You can keep a list of what you get rid of so that you can chart your progress – and if you’re successful, keep going for another year!
- Implement a ‘one in, one out’ policy: if you buy something new, be prepared to get rid of something that you no longer need or use and which is the same size, or larger, than the new item you’re bringing into your home.
- Get rid of things you’ll never miss: pare down your mug collection to the minimum, use up your travel-size toiletries, bin old medication, send the books you’ll never read again to the charity shop, sift your craft supplies and leave only the essentials.
- Set yourself the drawer challenge: once a week, completely declutter one drawer in your house using four principles: bin it, relocate it to where it should be, keep, or give it away. It may take all year to complete all the drawers (and in the meantime, you need to keep those you’ve cleared tidy) but eventually, your drawers will be clutter-free. Hopefully.
- Don’t get distracted and buy storage ‘solutions’ that you might not need and which may actually add, rather than subtract, from the clutter you’re dealing with. Even then, try to think of creative solutions to storage such as old cutlery drawers to separate smaller items in your junk drawer and shoe boxes covered with spare wrapping paper to store old photographs.
- Use a timer: everyone can spare a certain amount of time a day, whether it’s three minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes or 30 minutes. Set a timer, set yourself a decluttering challenge and get moving. The world can be conquered in 15-minute increments.
- If you’re like most parents, you’ll have a growing pile of your offspring’s art that can’t possibly all be on display. Here’s a genius idea: keep the very best pieces and the ones that are most important to you and with the rest, take digital photographs of the artwork, upload them to your computer and then find a website where you can create a photobook of their artwork all in one place. In time, you can build an entire library of their art!
- We wear 20 per cent of our clothes 80 per cent of the time – to find out which clothes can be weeded out of your collection, try this clever trick. First, hang all the clothes in your wardrobe so they face one way. For the next six months, whenever you wear something, put it back in your wardrobe facing the opposite way to the way you first chose. In six months time, you’ll easily be able to see what you never wear.
- Take the 10-10-10 Challenge: find 10 items that need to be thrown away, 10 that can be donated to charity or friends and 10 that need to be placed in the correct area of your home. It’s a fast way to quickly organise 30 items in your house – if you’re really committed, you can try and race the clock and complete the challenge in 10 minutes, too!