Steph, from Adelaide-based Neat Professional Organising, states “there is no magic number of items a person should have. But when your clutter starts to affect your life, if it makes you constantly late or causes you stress, something should be done.”
These ten tips will have you living free from clutter:
1. Live within your means
Don’t keep buying things if you don’t have space for them! Let the size of your home dictate what you bring into it, not the other way around.
This will keep the clutter under control and save you some money. If your cupboards are bursting, cull items rather than sourcing more storage.
2. Throw, Donate or Keep
Throw away anything broken or damaged. Donate anything still useful that you are not using yourself – books you won’t read again, clothes you haven’t worn in the last year etc. Keep anything you use on a regular basis or that enriches your life, not acts as a weight.
Steph says “my go-to tip for clients is: If you can justify your love or need for an item, it can stay. If the words ‘just in case’ or ‘maybe I’ll need it’ come into play, it has to go.”
3. Do a Daily Purge
You can get a lot done in ten minutes. Use five minutes to do a general tidy and the other five to de-clutter a drawer or shelf. Repeat the process every day in different parts of the house.
Choose a time when you know it will work. Make it part of your morning routine, a straight-after-work task or last thing at night when interruptions by children or phone calls are
4. Have a Place for Everything
If you find your tables and benches are cluttered with books, papers or vases etc, you might need to create more places. It could be as simple as keeping all documents in a filing cabinet, sorting through your bookshelf or culling some of your glassware. When everything has a place, it’s easier to put away.
5. Change Your Mindset
Start to believe that life is about the experiences you have, not the stuff you have. Don’t buy the latest ice cream maker. Go out with family and friends for ice cream. You’ll create a lovely memory and not have to find a place for the appliance.
7. Use the One in, One Out Rule
Every time you bring a new item into your home e.g. toy, book, clothing etc, another item must go. Easy!
You’ll think twice about whether you need the new item and if you have space for it. The money you save on not making the purchase can be put towards something more valuable that everyone can enjoy – a dinner out or a family holiday.
8. Set Realistic Goals
Decluttering can be an overwhelming and emotional process.
Steph says “the first step is to figure out what you would like the result to be. This acts as a constant motivation. It could be something simple like sitting in your favourite chair without seeing a big pile of stuff in front of you.”
9. Make it a Game
Challenge other family members to see who can throw away or donate the most items. If you want to get serious about decluttering, try a minimalist 30-day challenge. Throw away or donate one item on the first day, two on the second etc until you have reached the 30-day period.
You will be forced to consider how valuable things are to you. Even if you don’t make it all the way to the end, you home will look remarkably different.
10. Follow the Golden Rules
De-cluttering guru Peter Walsh says these quick-fire rules will help you keep the clutter under control:
If you take it out, put it away
If it’s full, empty it
If you finish it, replace it
If you open it, close it
If it’s dirty, wash it
If it’s rubbish, throw it away
Your home should be a welcoming sanctuary where you can relax, rest and be inspired to live the life you want.
Steph says, “decluttering is about making your life easier and better by being surrounded by the things you genuinely love and need.”