- Why Should I Declutter?
- What Do I Need to Start?
- Get Familiar With Clutter Points
- Get to Know Your Sorting System
- Your Decluttering Guide: A Room-By-Room Helping Hand
- Lounge/Living Room
- Playroom/Kid’s Rooms
- Your Home Office Space
- Loft or Attic
- What Should You Do With Your Sorted Items?
- What To Do With Items Once You’ve Sorted Through Them
- How to Keep Your Home Clutter-free - Positive Steps
- Final Thoughts
Decluttering - it’s one of those tasks that we say we’re going to make a start on, but life inevitably gets in the way. Then, before you know it, every room in your house is overflowing and everywhere you turn there’s just too much stuff. Decluttering is a practice that we should address at least every month - they say it's good for the mind and the soul, as well as your wallet. But where to begin? In this blog, we’ll take you through the decluttering process, with our comprehensive, step-by-step room guide.
Why Should I Declutter?
Why is decluttering so important? Well, let’s start with the obvious: Decluttering regularly means you can create more space at home allowing you to live in a more enjoyable and organised space. It makes it easier to find things and it makes your home more efficient and visitor-ready!
There are also genuine mental health benefits too, with studies showing a correlation between living in chaos and mental health conditions. And for those looking for a little bank balance boost, there’s the potential to secure some fiscal benefits from decluttering - after all, you never know what you might find in those boxes of junk that you banished to the loft all those years ago.
What Do I Need to Start?
One of the most common decluttering errors people make? Not having the right approach or the right equipment at the ready. So let’s begin with a simple list of items that will make your decluttering process easier to manage, we’ve separated them into two sections.
Boxes and Bags: You’re going to need somewhere to put all the clutter and the items you no longer need during the decluttering process and to be able to transport them easily. Having sturdy boxes or strong bags to hand will keep the process streamlined and help you keep to your sorting system
Pens/Markers: You’re going to need to label those boxes and bags clearly to reduce confusion and to stop the wrong item from being placed in the wrong box
Cleaning Supplies: Clutter loves dust, so having some simple cleaning items on hand to spruce up your home as you go is ideal. Some disinfectant spray, cloths and a vacuum cleaner with various attachments will help
Labels/Label Maker: If pens and markers simply aren’t enough, then you have the option to label and create your own. These are useful if you’re labelling boxes or baskets to keep your decluttered items more organised
A Playlist or a Podcast: For keeping your energy up and making the process a little more enjoyable
A Helper: Working through this task with a friend or family member for support is a good idea. They can help you with heavy lifting, keep you from getting distracted and help you with those tough decisions!
Get Familiar With Clutter Points
Clutter points, every room in your house has one. Whether it’s the side table in the hallway, that drawer that never fully closes in the kitchen or the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, these areas gather clutter and junk quicker than others, therefore it’s important to make a beeline for these clutter hotspots and put organisational solutions in place to keep them tidy in the future.
Get to Know Your Sorting System
Jumping into your decluttering session with a gung-ho attitude can seem like a strong way to begin. You’re feeling less sentimental about certain items, are eager to make progress and you’re in the right frame of mind. Unfortunately simply throwing things away and dumping them in boxes and bags will only get you so far. To keep your decluttering on track, you’re going to need one of the most crucial elements of any decluttering session: A sorting system. In this system you’ll need five boxes labelled with the following categories:
Throw Away: This box or pile should be the biggest. You’re decluttering remember!
Keep: This box or pile should be the smallest. These are the items that you use every day but need to be a little more organised with
Sell: There’s plenty of financial potential in some of the items you’ll have cluttering up your home
Store: Some items only come out once a year, such as your Christmas decorations, garden toys or even clothes. It’s important to make a list of these items as you go
Your Decluttering Guide: A Room-By-Room Helping Hand
Now you have your tools and your sorting system in place. It’s time to dive in. Let’s go.
Clutter Points: Shelving and Boxes; floor-to-floor-to-ceiling junk; items inside other items.
Often a dumping ground for all those items you have no idea where to put, your seasonal items, tools, broken objects and things you’ve long forgotten about, a simple garden shed or garden building clear out can be (thankfully) completed fairly quickly!
Step One: Empty the entire space. You have the luxury of this being a small room. And the added luxury of being able to use your outdoor space to put your sorting system to use.
Step Two: Reorganise your current storage solutions. If you have shelving, make sure it's clean and clear and in good condition. Is there space for more items on the walls such as bikes? Add hooks, or storage boxes to keep things tidy. Ensure the space is ready to accommodate the items you wish to keep.
Step Three: Clean the space. This will also help keep your items in a better condition and make the shed a much nicer place!
Step Four: Begin the sorting process. Be realistic about what will be used again and what you can store in the shed. Don’t be tempted to hang onto items with the idea of “eventually” repairing them or using them. Utilise your sorting system and be realistic.
Clutter Points: Junk drawers; food cupboards; cupboard under the sink; countertops.
The kitchen is a hive of activity and often the beating heart of any home. Unfortunately, that also makes it a magnet for junk and clutter. Decluttering your kitchen can be a long process, so consider the tips below to ensure this is done efficiently and well.
Step One: Always begin with a “little victory” and head straight for those clutter points. Start by emptying these cupboards and drawers and sorting the items accordingly. Check the use-by date on cleaning products under the sink or the condition of other cleaning materials. Dispose of or store away accordingly.
Step Two: Go through those junk drawers. Getting rid of old manuals and instruction booklets that we stuff in these places should be quick and easy - remember you can always find these documents online. Old phone chargers can be thrown away, along with batteries (please dispose of these safely) and accessories to electrical items you no longer own.
Step Three: Empty your food cupboards. Whether you’ve accidentally purchased more than one of the same item, or you’re harbouring out-of-date herbs and spices, emptying and decluttering your food cupboards will reveal much more space and highlight where you could be saving money! Again, you can keep or throw away items, but if they are in good condition consider donating them to a food bank.
Step Four: If you have shelving in your kitchen, it's time to strip them back and declutter. Old cookbooks, dusty plant pots, mismatched wine glasses. Don’t be afraid to be ruthless.
Step Five: Clear your kitchen sides. Find new homes for things like house and car keys. Get rid of documents and bits of paper that consistently hang around. Clear away recycling, even the kids' toys that find their way into the space.
Step Six: Once you’ve decluttered this space, it's time to clean. The inside of cupboards can become surprisingly dusty and grimy so make sure they’re not neglected. Don’t forget to wipe down your kitchen sides and dust those shelves.
Clutter Points: Console tables; coat stands and hooks; bottom of stairs
The entrance to your home should set the precedent for the rest of your property. So if it's a more cluttered and disorganised space, then the same could be said for the other rooms of your home. It’s important to declutter your hallway, as keeping it clear ensures it's safe, looks pleasant and also keeps issues like mould and dampness at bay. Let’s take a look at the steps:
Step One: Head to those clutter points. If you have coat hooks or a stand, then it's time to take the items off and decide which you will keep, throw or even donate. It's easy for coats and scarves and other items to pile up, and as we replace old items with new ones, it’s easy to forget to dispose of your older jackets, kids' coats that no longer fit and gloves with holes in them.
Step Two: Your console table should be clear and clutter-free. However, if everyone simply dumps everything on it when they come home, it's all too easy for keys and important items to become lost in the chaos. Consider storage options for keys like a bowl or a little hook. If there are drawers to your table, go through them and get rid of anything that is no longer needed or deemed useful.
Step Three: The bottom of the stairs is often where we place items in the hope that someone will take them up with them. However, if you’re living in a cluttered home, things have likely piled up here. So, make a point of no longer leaving items here. It’ll be safer and less cluttered
Step Four: It’s time to clean. Muddy boots, wet feet, dirty pushchairs, smelly coats. It’s time to give everything a good clean down.
Clutter Points: TV unit; bookcases; sideboards.
The living room is where families gather to spend time together. It’s also where clutter likes to accumulate, making the room feel stressful and overcrowded. You’ll need some time to tackle this room and our helpful steps:
Step One: Head to your main clutter culprits. Starting with the TV unit. You’ll find all sorts in here. DVDs you don’t even have a DVD player to watch on. Cables and chargers. Games console accessories and games. Not forgetting board games and the kid's toys. Pull out all these items and let your sorting system do the hard work. Are these cables needed? Do the kids play these games or are all pieces missing from that jigsaw? Clear out, sort and reorganise.
Step Two: If you have a bookcase in your living room, it's time to declutter. Getting rid of old books that you haven’t looked at in years or have no intention of reading is cathartic. And makes more space for cleaner lines and surfaces. Consider rearranging the order of your books so it looks more satisfying and less dumped together.
Step Three: Your sideboards also need attention. We’re all guilty of stuffing these drawers and cupboards with things we’re not sure what to do with. So, now is the time to empty it and remove everything that has no purpose. Keeping drawers and cupboards for specific items will help you manage clutter in the future.
Step Four: Don’t forget surfaces like the window sill. Where junk and rubbish tend to be placed. Old birthday cards, toys, batteries and remote controls. Find new homes for items you need to keep and dispose of everything else.
Step Five: Clean! Break out those dusters, cleaning polish and carpet refresher. Don’t forget to turn up your favourite playlist or podcast.
Clutter Points: Under the bed; cupboards; drawers; toy boxes
If you have little ones, chances are you purchased boxes or storage solutions for the specific purpose of keeping your kids’ toys and games contained and organised. Unfortunately, if you want to declutter your home and keep it that way successfully, you need to regularly declutter these areas to keep on top of broken toys, things that are no longer played with or items that could be passed/sold on.
Step One: Begin with decluttering toy boxes and storage. Start by sorting through toys that are broken or those that your child has outgrown. These can either be thrown away, donated or even sold for a profit. When reorganising the remaining toys, consider grouping similar toys together so that they can be easily found.
Bonus Tip: Remember you can rotate toys regularly to keep things fresh and fun for them. You’ll have to be organised and make use of your labels and boxes.
Step Two: Don’t forget to declutter their clothes. Kids grow out of clothes even quicker than they do toys! So keeping on top of this clutter is important. Go through their wardrobe or drawers to see what no longer fits or if anything can be donated. Consider storing seasonal items such as coats, gloves and hats in other specifically chosen places to keep clutter to a minimum.
Step Three: Under the bed, you’ll probably find an eclectic mix of jigsaw pieces, building blocks, doll accessories and of course, rubbish. Don’t be surprised if a scrap of paper with a squiggle on it holds some kind of sentimental value to your child - it might be best to declutter this room when they’re at school.
Step Four: Again, windowsills can also attract junk, books and bits of paper. Try to keep surfaces as clear as possible. When this is completed - it’s time to clean and freshen up this newly clutter-free space.
Your Home Office Space
Your desk and its drawers; shelving and cabinets.
Not everyone has a home office space, but if you work from home the area you use isn’t immune to clutter and the accumulation of junk. From old notebooks and broken pens to plates, mugs and even old technology - it’s important to keep this area decluttered so you can stay proactive and efficient.
Step One: Starting with your desk, take a look at the surface. Get rid of all those old pens that don’t work, those filled and spent notebooks (assuming they have no important information in them) and clear away anything that doesn’t belong, such as crockery or even the kid’s toys that may have found their way to your workstation.
Step Two: Take a look at your drawers, any old tech, cables, extension cords, broken headsets, batteries, mouse devices or dead printer cartridges need to be disposed of correctly. Who knew you had so much room at your office desk?
Step Three: If you have shelving, complete with box files or client files, then it’s time to take a look through these documents and dispose of anything that is no longer needed. Use a shredder if preferred. Perhaps you have old paperwork from an old job or documents that are now digitised, keeping on top of this will help you be more productive.
Step Four: Clean. Your desk and laptop accumulate a lot of dirt and bacteria, so keeping the area clean will encourage you to keep clutter to a minimum.
Clutter Points: Bathroom cabinets; the space around the bath; under sink storage.
The bathroom is a high-traffic area, so it's only natural that clutter should accumulate here. Whether it's old beauty and bath products, bath toys or old medicines, keeping your bathroom clean and clutter-free will help create a soothing and relaxing bathroom space you’ll want to spend time in.
Step One: Head to the bathroom cabinet. You’ll find all sorts of clutter here. Check each medicine carefully and if required, check how to dispose of them - in some cases, you can return unused or unopened medicines to your local pharmacy. If you have a first aid kit, it's time to go through it, again checking the use-by dates on these products to keep clutter to a minimum and to ensure you can find what you need quickly in an emergency.
Step Two: The area around the bath is often piled high with shampoo and conditioner bottles, unfinished shower gels and near-empty bath foam products. Perhaps here you could separate these items so that the almost empty bottles get used first, or if they’re past their best - dispose of the products and recycle the bottles where appropriate.
Step Three: If you have children, then bathroom toys can quickly become a clutter issue. Firstly, check if they’re still hygienic - many bath toys can’t be cleaned properly which allows gunge and mould to build. If in doubt, bin these items and keep bath toys to a minimum, storing them sensibly in a box or under the sink and keeping them dry between uses.
Step Four: Your bathroom needs regular cleaning. However, when was the last time you cleaned down the inside of your cluttered bathroom cabinet or shelves?
Clutter Points: Bedside tables; dressing tables wardrobes.
The bedroom should be a place you can retreat to at the end of a busy day. But if your bedroom is in serious need of a decluttering session, it can be difficult to relax and enjoy any time there. Clutter accumulates here because it’s in the bedroom that we get ready for the day and it's where most of our personal items can be found. When we keep adding to these items without regular decluttering, it’s all too easy for things to become overwhelming. Let’s explore some decluttering steps for your bedroom space.
Step One: Take a look at your bedside tables. Ideally, these should be junk and clutter-free. Allowing you space for a lamp, or perhaps a book - even your phone. Remove anything that doesn't belong, which is usually cups and mugs, makeup and accessories and either throw them away or use your sorting system to file them accordingly.
Step Two: If you have a dressing table, again these places attract clutter. From makeup and old bottles to broken brushes, empty perfume bottles, discarded makeup wipes and other products. It’s time for a good clear out and to get rid of anything that is past its use-by date or no longer used. Rearrange your beauty table so you can easily find things so you won’t be tempted to purchase more items.
Step Three: Your wardrobe doesn’t just house clothes. It’s also a place where we throw jackets, shoes, boxes and other items we don’t know where to put. Start by sorting through all your clothes and make some brutal keep or donate decisions. Then look at the bottom of your wardrobe, see what else is in there and remove anything that doesn’t belong. Consider keeping boxes of shoes or seasonal items together and your current clothing on the rail so it's easier to locate on a morning.
Step Four: There’s nothing better than deep cleaning your bedroom space. Open the windows and let some fresh air in. Change your bedsheets and dust all those clutter-free surfaces.
Loft or Attic
Clutter Points: Everywhere!
The loft or attic is somewhere we throw just about everything that doesn’t have an everyday use or purpose. Unfortunately, it can become a dumping ground for those who don’t want to declutter fully. Let’s explore how you can tackle this.
Step One: Make sure the area is safe, especially if you’re walking along beams or trying to move heavy boxes around. Get someone to help you here.
Step Two: Start in sections, focusing on one area at a time. Use your sorting system to quickly rid yourself of items that you don’t want or had no idea you were keeping hold of!
Step Three: Again, the loft is a great place to store your seasonal items such as Halloween and Christmas decorations, and even larger items like wedding or occasion dresses or suitcases. However, it's all too easy for other items to make their way up to this crucial and limited storage space. Organise your seasonal or larger items separately and make them easier to find.
Step Four: Going through this space you’re bound to find items that you’re tempted to keep “just in case” bits of old furniture, broken toys, and even family heirlooms. If they don’t serve a purpose today, get rid of them.
What Should You Do With Your Sorted Items?
Your sorting system will have already helped you decide what to do with your items and where they need to go, so here are some tips to get you started:
Give the items to others
Often, the simplest and easiest option is giving your unwanted items to family and friends. Snap a photo of anything you think they might be like – or will be able to make use of – and send it over to them. This way, you’ll know which items to set aside for them before you start donating or selling your items.
Donating items to charity
You might not need or want an item, but if it’s still in good condition, there’s a good chance that someone else will. There’s a feel-good factor to this option, too – you can give to a good cause of your choice, whilst giving others the opportunity to buy an item at an affordable price.
Research charity shops in your local area and pick the one that’s within an easy distance or that resonates with you the most. If you’re unable to transport your items, many charities offer local collection services.
Sell your items
By selling your decluttered items, you can make some extra cash and fuel the circular economy. It’s a win-win all round. These days, the sheer number of online marketplaces means it’s easier than ever to sell your stuff.
eBay is a good option for almost everything, Vinted and depop are the go-to marketplaces for old clothes, and a good old-fashioned car boot sales is great for low value knick-knacks. However, the easiest option is to pack up your bits and send them to Vintage Cash Cow – we’ll value your items and send you a no-obligation quote for the lot.
Recycle or throw away
If donating or selling your item isn’t an option, the next best thing you can do is recycle. Every local authority has different rules on what you can and can’t put in your recycling bin, but anything made from cardboard, paper, metal and glass is generally good to go.
But there are other options, too. For example, some shops, including H&M and Marks & Spencer, will collect your unwanted clothes in-store for recycling in return for a store voucher. As for makeup, you could look out for Maybelline Recycling drop-off points at your local Tesco, Sainsbury's, Superdrug and more.
Simply do some research into the type of items you’re looking to recycle and you may be able to find a local scheme or collection service to help you dispose of your items responsibly.
What To Do With Items Once You’ve Sorted Through Them
One of the key positives of decluttering is creating a cleaner, clearer space in your home. However, once you’ve sorted through your rooms and successfully decluttered, you may find yourself left with multiple piles, boxes or bags of junk that you intend to throw away, sell or donate - which in turn still leaves you with clutter. You may not be able to get rid of all these items straight away, so the question remains - what to do with them in the meantime?
Thankfully, you have a few options here. The key is not to feel demoralised and to get these items out of your home as quickly as you can, but if this isn’t doable straight away then you’ll need to consider some of these ideas which will help keep you organised and clutter-free.
Store these labelled boxes in a tidy place where you won’t forget about them
Consider adding reminders to your phone to encourage you to get rid of your clutter
Add dates to your diary, dedicated to heading to the dump, visiting charity shops to make donations or spending time selling items online and posting them to buyers
How to Keep Your Home Clutter-free - Positive Steps
You’ve worked so hard to declutter each room, sticking to your sorting process and getting rid of your unwanted items. But without the right mindset and practices in place, it won’t be long before your home is overrun with junk once again. Consider the following suggestions to keep your home a stress and clutter-free paradise for good.
Clear out regularly: To stop piles of unwanted items from accumulating, set time aside every few months to dispose of the bits and bobs you no longer use. Popular items include photos, piles of papers, children’s toys, books, and sentimental items. As a rough rule of thumb, if you haven't used something for over six months, you're probably safe to get rid of it.
Give everything a home: Once everything has a clear home, tidying becomes significantly easier. Top tip: If you have more items than you can at home, introduce additional storage, e.g. under-bed boxes, a console or a storage chest.
Put everything away: Following the previous idea, once you’ve finished using an item put it away in its home. This principle works for clothes, kitchen appliances, gym equipment, you name it. And the more you do it, the sooner this idea will become a habit.
Live within your means: Let your home dictate your lifestyle - not the other way around. For example, if a bookcase is stacked high with mountains of books, consider getting rid of the volumes you no longer read instead of buying a larger bookcase.
Store items smarter: By taking some time to thoughtfully arrange your items in the rooms they'll be used most frequently, you won't need to walk between rooms to find and tidy them.
Go digital: Do away with those piles of papers by storing your documents digitally. Plenty of apps can help you, while some, like Evernote, allow you to search records by certain words.
Always maintain a junk drawer: While most items should have a home, it’s worth accepting that some items never will - pencils, pens, string, twist ties, etc. So, instead of spending time creating homes for every individual thing, just scoop all your odd little bits and bobs into one junk drawer.
Ask yourself if an item sparks joy: The final question to ask, if you’re unsure whether to keep an item, is whether it sparks joy. Of course, we can feel a sentimental bond with many things, but ultimately, if something doesn't spark joy when you look at it, we recommend against keeping it.
An overly cluttered home is incredibly common and it’s not a source of shame or embarrassment! Taking some time to regularly declutter and follow our decluttering tips and helpful advice will help you keep on top of your property and create a peaceful, organised home you’ll love spending time in.
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