How to declutter


With cold winter days here, there's plenty of time to spend inside get yourself organised and with less of us moving why not cheer yourself up by making the house look fresh and bigger! It's also an opportunity to find all those items you'd forgotten about and sell them to get some ready cash!

So lets get started:

  • Start now - stop prevaricating and set aside a day to get started.
  • Start small - don’t attempt to do the whole house in one go! Start with one area such as your papers, clothes or maybe a room and set a time frame, reward yourself when its done. You may want to target the dining room so you can entertain in style.
  • Enlist the help of the whole family, you will need to work together to ensure what you do today lasts or invite a friend round.
  • Know what your goal is – you should be able to see the floor, know where to find your utility bills, be ready with the recycling ready for collection days!
  • Set yourself a target date - Easter, a family celebration ...

Getting started  

  • Some recommend you assess what you have and set targets, this can just make you feel worse!  So try these ideas ...
    • Look for like things and pile them together, then you’ll know the full extent of the problem and won’t be tempted to duplicate.
    • Go through each pile and make a judgement  - do I really need this, will I use it again, when was the last time I used it. Put it in one of the following three piles.
    • Recycle – I really don’t need it but it may be of use to someone else or can be recycled.
    • Throw away – this is the real rubbish - just be careful of papers that have your personal details on - burn or shred these.
    • Keep – I will use it! We all like to keep some mementoes, so start a memory box, once it is full nothing more can go in without throwing something out.

Now what do I do

  • For recycling items, check out our recycling pages to get ideas of where you can send items no longer needed, or sell them on ebay - think of all that money you could make!
  • Bag up the ‘throw away’ pile and take to the dump NOW, you will feel great! 
  • Items to be kept, organising what you want to keep is the key to success:
    • Invest in some good storage – bookshelves, boxes, and know where everything is.  Label them if necessary (photos of shoes on the outside of the box sounds great but maybe taking it too far)
    • Pack items away – we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time so pack away those we don’t need for this season - ne need for summer clothes at the moment!
    • Start a momento box – when its full something has to go!
    • Invest in a dirty clothes basket (even a bag on the back of children’s bedroom door can work).
    • Storage options are limitless and they don’t have to be expensive, there are some great bargains at there at the moment – try IKEA for cheap and cheerful shelving, wardrobes, boxes and baskets, high street stores like John Lewis, Debenhams and Lakeland or online for the Holding Company and Cotswold Clothing Company or for the 'Green Alternative' find secondhand furniture or make sure you buy products made from recycled items. Look for storage items for sale in the local paper - in the current climate everyone is thinking about saving money
    • Putting items in self storage or in the loft is NOT tackling the issue,  it’s just putting it off for a later date!

and lastly keep it up

  • As soon as you have finished with something, put it away, recycle or bin it and deal with the paperwork as it arrives, move to direct debit for your utility bills (you may even save money). 
  • Get yourself on the mail preference service to stop the junk mail.
  • Start a list of jobs that need to be done, try and allocate time each day or to do 5 things a day,  tick them off and treat yourself to a reward – say a meal out, but NOT something to clutter your home.

Try some of the following to get you started

  • Try using those kitchen/DIY gadgets you bought on an impulse, do they still work – are you really going to use them - maybe someone else would use them?
  • Get the children to go through the old videos, toys and computer games – will they really use them any more now they have had a new set for Christmas?
  • Makeup and medicines have a shelf life – check them and dispose of old products - start the New Year afresh
  • Go through your wardrobe, separate summer and winter clothes so you can see what you have and stop kidding yourself you will be able to get into that size 8 skirt (or 30inch waist)!
  • Exercise equipment – use it, it's time to get in trim for the summer and loose those Christmas pounds. How many people buy equipment that after the initial flurry of activity ends up gathering dust in the corner?
  • Mend or throw away all those items in the 'repair' pile. 

When you’re done, brighten the place up. A quick lick of paint, scented candles or a vase of flowers will make the place seem different again, but keep it simple and fresh. a

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