As a professional organiser, a solution seeker and believer in Feng Shui and 5S principles, I believe in keeping things simple and that if you make a task easier, it will get done. I also believe in experiences and not possessions which is why I love helping people solve their clutter and organisational challenges so they can spend more time enjoying life.
Decluttering is absolutely the best medicine. By removing excess clutter and streamlining systems, the flow of positive energy is boosted through your home. Think of those times when you’ve felt amazing because your house is spotless after a good clean, well, just imagine getting rid of the clutter for good and feeling that way ALL THE TIME!
Once you’ve got some of these decluttering tips in place that I’m about to share with you, living clutter free will be second nature, and you’ll wonder how on earth you ever lived with so much stuff!
10 steps to declutter your home for good
Remove all the clutter from a space
I often draw inspiration from the Feng Shui philosophy to re-energise spaces. One of the first rules of Feng Shui is to remove all the clutter from a space. It doesn’t sound hard, but for some, it can be a truly daunting experience. When you do this, start small. One drawer, a shelf, or a cupboard at a time. Spend just 15 minutes and you’ll find you reach a target quickly and will feel motivated to continue.
Before you start your decluttering mission, set yourself some boundaries. Tell yourself, ‘I’m going to let go of everything that is broken, stretched, over worn, or irreparable.’ Or, ‘If I haven’t used or worn this in the last 6 (12,18 ) months then I can let it go’. This helps with your decision-making process.
Stay in the same area
Stay in one area as you sort according to ‘keep’, ‘donate’, ‘recycle’, ‘trash’. The ‘keep’ might not belong in that space but don’t be tempted to go and find a new home for it while you’re sorting. That’s a separate task.
When making decisions about letting go of items ask yourself, ‘Do I love it? Use it? Need it?’ If the answer is a resounding ‘Yes’, then it stays in the ‘keep’ pile. Otherwise, it’s time to give thanks, and let it go to someone else who can love, need, or use it.
This can be applied to paper and documents too. We don’t need much of the paperwork we hold onto. The other question is, ‘Do I already have one (some), and do I really need (so many) multiples of this item?’
Set physical boundaries
The next step in the process is setting physical boundaries for the things you want to keep. If you are a book collector, setting limits according to bookshelf space makes sense. How much room are you willing to dedicate to your books? If they can’t fit on the shelves that you own and there is really no more room for more bookshelves, then it might be time to review your collection. Donate to charity, a friend, a school, nursing home, or a book exchange in your area.
One in, one out
When you’ve reached a stage of maintenance with your stuff, the ‘one in, one out’ rule can assist. That applies to paper (bank statements, insurance policies etc.), new clothes, books, gadgets and linen. There was a reason you bought new stuff so let the old stuff go.
Break it down
Break everything down into manageable chunks; it’s amazing how much can be done in 10-minute time slots. By setting a few quick ‘have to’ chores every day, you’ll find you keep on top of the clutter. For example; one load of washing each day, a ‘once-over’ of the bathroom and the kitchen ‘re-set to zero’ before bed as a basic daily plan.
Get kids involved
If you have kids, make sure putting away is easy for them. If it’s easy for them, then it’s easy for you. This can be things like labelling everything including shelves and tubs. Have containers without lids (laundry hampers, toy bins, kitchen bin etc.), so it’s a one-handed task.
A home for everything
This is a tip you’ve likely heard, but it’s amazing what a difference it makes when everything has a home. You don’t find yourself returning an item to wherever it fits; it just goes where it belongs.
Car keys, bags, shoes, sports bags…they’re all the things that often get left lying around. But establishing a ‘launch pad’ area near where you enter and leave the house will take care of this because it’s where these things go. Get in the habit of putting things there in preparation for the next day.
Yes, I’m a professional organiser and am passionate about creating strategies and visions to make life more simple, but I’m not an advocate of paring lives down to capsule wardrobes or a life with just one knife, fork, and spoon. That type of minimalism is not for me. But there’s a lot to be said for decluttering and removing the excess from our environment. It brings with it a particular type of freedom, allowing us to concentrate and spend time on what really matters. And who wouldn’t want that?
A guest post by Louise Weavell from Zen Organising.