Decluttering your home is a big job. It requires planning, time management, organisational skills and, at times, a little bit of emotional detachment. Because of this, a lot of us end up avoiding the task altogether. However, with just a little bit of knowledge, you’ll find that cleaning out your house isn’t as hard as it seems.
To help you, we’ve listed five simple tips for decluttering your home.
Keep in mind that we will only be discussing pointers that involve the organisation of your house. If you need help with tasks like disposing waste or dangerous goods, we recommend hiring rubbish removal specialists.
Benefits of decluttering
There have been plenty of studies done on the relationship between our mental state and the quality of our surroundings. In 2010, a study found decreased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) in married couples that considered their home to be decluttered. More recently, another study found a link between increased procrastination and a cluttered home. From these studies, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that a clean home can lead to a clearer and more productive mind.
Of course, a decluttered home also brings tangible benefits. If everything in your home is stored properly, you shouldn’t have trouble finding your car keys, your nail clippers or even your guitar pick. Decluttering your home also gives you the opportunity to downsize and rethink the importance of your possessions.
Downsizing will make your home a lot easier to clean and organise. With a change of attitude towards material possessions, downsizing could even save you some money as you won’t feel the need to buy new things constantly.
- Do it gradually
When decluttering your home, don’t feel that you have to do everything in one weekend. Cramming everything into a short amount of time will just overwhelm you and make you feel anxious. Due to this anxiousness, you might not get half the results that you were hoping for. Even worse, you might even put off the job for another day.
As such, it’s best to give yourself a realistic timeframe. Perhaps you could declutter your home over the course of four to five weeks.
Giving yourself time to get things done will give you the opportunity to focus on the details. You can go through each of your possessions and really think about whether or not you still need them. Additionally, you’ll have the time to change your mind about certain possessions. For example, you might realise that it’s better to donate old musical instruments to a non-profit instead of selling them or throwing them away.
If you’re still struggling to find the motivation to declutter your home, try to set yourself small, achievable goals. For instance, you could set aside five minutes of your time each day and dedicate it to decluttering your home. With low-effort goals, it’s a lot easier to create momentum.
- Create a room-by-room checklist
We recommended basing your checklist on each room of your household. The major rooms to consider are the bedrooms, the living room, your kitchen and the bathroom.
For your bedrooms, the main parts to focus on are your drawers, cabinets and your nightstand. Receipts, pens and empty perfume or cologne bottles are common clutter culprits to look out for. In your living room, throw out any old magazines and unused items that are on your coffee table and TV rack. When it comes to the bathroom, get rid of all the empty bottles that have collected on your vanity and in your cabinets.
The kitchen is probably one of the trickiest areas to declutter. We recommend finding simple ways to store your most commonly used utensils and appliances. A pegboard or a series of hooks can help you store your spatulas, wooden spoons and pans. Open shelving, on the other hand, will help you clear your countertops of bulky kitchen appliances.
- Use the five bins strategy
To make the process even easier, you can also use the five bins strategy. This involves getting five different containers for five different purposes: relocation, recycling, mending, donations and waste.
The relocation bin is where you put everything that needs to be stored somewhere else in your home. The things that need to be cleaned or fixed should be placed in the mending bin. The recycling, donation and waste bin should be self-explanatory.
If you’re following the room-by-room strategy, it’s best to set up these bins near the room that you’re working on. Otherwise, try to find a central place in your home that you can easily access. This could be the living room or a hallway.
- Get a friend to help
Some people find it hard to let go of certain things because they’re not sure if they’ll need it in the future. In this case, it’s good to get a second opinion. See if you can get one of your friends to provide an objective perspective on the possessions that you’re torn on.
An outside perspective can also be useful if you’re feeling emotionally attached to some of your possessions. You might find that it’s hard to get rid of things that evoke sentimentality. With the help of a friend, however, you might be able to see the advantages of moving on from such attachments.
- View your home as a visitor
When you’ve lived in the same home for years, it’s easy to overlook little details. This can make you somewhat complacent about the cleanliness of your home.
If this is the case for you, think about the next time you’ll have visitors over. What would they think of your home? Would they feel comfortable? If you’re trying to impress someone, what would you change?
Use this hypothetical scenario as a catalyst for your decluttering efforts.
Hopefully, you’ve learned something useful from the tips we’ve listed above. If you feel that you need assistance, you can always hire professional organisers or rubbish removal specialists. It’s important to take the time and effort to keep your home environment free of clutter and chaos. Indeed, a clean home leads to a calm mind.