There are many benefits to clearing out your clutter: better health, more free time and potential weightloss to name a few. But getting started can be daunting. If your house is cluttered, it will be with stuff that has accumulated over time. So, to clear it out overnight is highly unlikely. Emotional baggage or items of sentimental value can be a distraction to getting rid of unwanted or unneeded belongings. Sometimes, the sheer volume of stuff to clear out of your home can seem like too big of a task. However, we’ve got a few tips to help get you started.
1. Start small
Decluttering isn’t a job that you can do overnight. It will take time. However, if you start small and focus on one area at a time, you’ll start to see progress. This could be a whole room or a small cupboard. Little and often is the key to progress. You might set yourself a challenge of 15 minutes a day or 3 times a week. The headway you make will motivate you to keep going.
2. Create a system
Once you’ve decided on a room, an area or particular space in your house, it’s handy to have a system. We suggest finding 5 containers that you take with you when decluttering each area. These can be boxes, or bags; nothing fancy is needed, just what you can find to hand. These recepticles are for the following purposes:
Designate one basket, or it could be a bin, for items that are simply rubbish—things that can go into the bin immediately.
This bin is for items that need to be recycled, such as paper, plastic or glass.
This container is for items that you want to keep but aren’t in their correct storage space. This could mean a toy in the kitchen or a jumper in the bathroom. By putting them into a box you won’t need to leave the room, which means that you can keep focused on the area you’re dealing with. These are items that you can put back in their correct storage spaces later.
If you have unwanted items of value, you may wish to sell them on Ebay or Gumtree. However, unless you are really organised, you may find it hard to get around to dealing with this pile. An interesting article in the Guardian, with tips from a professional organiser stated that “A lot of my clients have an eBay pile. Most of the time, when I revisit the house a few months later, the eBay pile is still there. So I encourage people to give back to the community as much as possible.”
This leads on to the fith box; donate.
We all have items that we don’t need or don’t want. Instead of sending stuff to landfill, charity shops are grateful recipients of good quality goods. These should be things you can imagine another person wanting or needing.
There is only one big don’t when you donate household items to charity, and that is to make sure what you donate is only clutter to you, and not to the recipient of your donation. For example, shops aren’t going to appreciate broken or dirty items that they won’t be able to sell.
However, re-use is better than recycling and by donating to charity you are helping a good cause AND the environment.
3. Use Gone for Good to get your donations to charity, collected for FREE!
We appreciate, that similar to an ‘Ebay pile’, a pile of stuff to take to charity is yet another thing to add to the to-do list. It can sit in the boot of your car or hallway for weeks. Good intentions are one thing but following them through, in our busy lives, is another.
The Gone for Good #CharityVan is a FREE courier service that makes it easy for people to donate stuff to charity. We can pick up preloved possessions from your doorstep and take them to a charity of your choice. Our vans collect unwanted clothes, electrical items and small household goods. We do not collect rubbish!
Many of our partnering charities rely on volunteer labour to help sort through donations, or must pay employees to do the task. Either way, respect the costs involved and present items in the way it makes it easiest for the charity. Please see here for the do’s and don’ts of donating stuff to charity.
At the moment the #CharityVan is a pilot scheme, trialling in the London area. If you live within the M25, our vans can collect from your home address.
If you live elsewhere in the UK, we can pair you with a charity that can collect. Find out more here.
4. Stay focused
It’s easy to get distracted when clearing out clutter. If you have only allocated 15 minutes of your day to declutter, make every minute count. Stay focused on your task at hand. If you’re putting away clothes that shouldn’t be in the kitchen, don’t start going through your wardrobe – that’s a whole other job in itself.
5. Avoid paying for storage
Although it can be tempting to rent storage for the bookshelf ‘that will come in handy one day’ or the sofa that you inherited from Great Aunt Julie, our advice is to be ruthless. Paying for storage can be false economy and become another burden that sits in the peripherary of your life. Read more here.
6. Don’t struggle, hire a professional organiser
If you find it really hard to get started, or to make headway, why not hire a professional organiser for a few hours. The investment will really pay dividends.
APDO is the Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers. It has over 270 accredited experts across the UK. They can guide and support you in organising your home, office and life. If you’d like to find an APDO member in your area, you can search here.