My OH tells everyone I’m a hoarder. I don’t believe I am, because I do declutter every so often. More often for some items than others admittedly. But I do have a lot of stuff and there’s definitely not enough room for everything despite us living in a large 3 bed house. It’s more noticeable because the OH doesn’t really have anything apart from clothes, a smartphone and tablet, shoes. And a few farming books and magazines.
Add in having a 5 year old child who seems incapable of tidying up after himself and the house does generally look a bit of a mess.
In the past I’ve always decluttered due to need or a burst of energy. I’ve done a couple of kitchen drawers, or my clothes, or N’s toys. But I’d never done the whole house or used a specific method. Until last year when I discovered Marie Kondo’s The Magic Art of Tidying.
Last summer I blitzed through N’s clothes and my clothes – which are still looking neatly folded with plenty of space. I also folded the OH’s clothes so they aren’t too bad (the ones which are actually put away, because he rarely does). And my hundreds of books were culled, although I couldn’t do N’s because I believe children should see and have access to lots of books. The toys were cleared out a bit before Christmas but having a big birthday party did bring a lot more in after that as well.
I’ve still not made it through the paper and miscellaneous sections in the house yet. And this is where I’ve stalled because I just never have the time and these will take a long time because it involves potentially scanning a lot of documents, and a lot of rooms. All of downstairs – living room, kitchen, back/toy room, utility room and larder. The kitchen and utility room will be painful, in particular the utility room. That’s the room the OH moans about the most, because it always looks full and having no shed or garage (the double garage was never a garage but a 2 bed ‘annexe’) means all outdoor bikes, toys and more gets left in there much to his consternation. My plan is to get a shed to move the outdoor things into (and my camping equipment), but he’s fussy and no doubt I’d buy the wrong type of shed even though he’ll not input into the decision.
The plan after decluttering is to do something about all the things that need repairing or fixing, redecorate the house, add curtains and do something with the garden. So hopefully by the end of the year, I’ll have decluttered the last 2 categories I need to finish.
In my decluttering journey I’ve come across a lot of tips and guidance, so here’s my tips and some ideas from others.
Different methods of decluttering
In the order of impact
1. Do the Konmari method
This method is based on focusing on certain types of items at a time. It’s harsh, but it works – especially if you can do it all in one go. If you’ve not got kids, take a week off work and blitz it. Or get someone else in to do it for you.
2. Declutter by room
Doing it old school and working round the house does work. But you have to keep it going, and it can be hard to find homes for items if you’ve not decluttered the room they need to go in.
3. As it needs doing
I can’t say I’ve found this particularly successful long term. It’s my belief you need to do a decent amount in one go otherwise you’ll not see the benefit and then go back to old ways. One way it could work, is setting up a list of small areas that need decluttering and do them in turn, a bit every day until it’s complete.
The one thing to remember is to keep going and be strict while you’re doing it. No buying new items to clutter the house until it’s complete.
Tips on how to declutter
1. Choose your method and stick to it. Find what works for you.
2. Work out what time you have and who’s going to do it. Blitz it or do one area a week or month. You need to make time for it (my failing)
3. Have 3 or 4 bins or areas for outgoing item -sell (online, car boot sales or garage sales), giveaway to friends (hold a swishing or clothes swap party, handmedowns to younger children), donate to charity (shops, clothing bins or freecycle), recycle, throw out. But do think about having items hanging around if you’re planning to sell. A car boot sale or garage sale is best because you’re clearing out in bulk. Online selling can take a long time to do, sell and package up. I just got rid straight away apart from a couple of expensive items to sell…which are still in a pile having not been sold! I should just give the last bits to charity.
4. Join a challenge. There’s challenges for everything online, but why not set up a challenge if you can’t find one. Challenge friends or work colleagues, have prizes and rewards for completing different stages.
5. Take photos of before and after. Just like weight loss, having photos of pre and post declutter can motivate you to keep things tidy and uncluttered.
If you want to find out more about people who’ve decluttered and gone minimal to various levels (I salute anyone who can go minimalistic with kids), check out the following:
Have you decluttered? How did you do it? What benefits have you found?
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