With the winter behind us and spring on its way, now is the perfect time to put the house back together again after a long few months of hibernation. But, if you're like most people the sheer prospect of decluttering and reorganising your home can seem overwhelming and may feel too daunting to even attempt.
But don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be as painful as some make it out to be and the results can be life changing. Read on to discover our tried and tested techniques that will guide you through room by room, to help you to start clearing the clutter and take back control of your home in no time.
The Benefits of De-Cluttering Your Home
Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago discovered a substantial link between procrastination and clutter problems. An expert in the causes of clutter and its impact on emotional well-being; he advocates that the level of clutter in a home will negatively affect how satisfied the people that live there feel about their lives.
This example of how clutter negatively affects your life can feel down-heartening but if you are serious about alleviating your stress, then the best way to motivate yourself is to think about the positives that a clutter-free environment will bring.
A tidy home is a space to feel proud of and once the clutter has been organised, you will be able to clearly see the home that you love. A calm and comfortable environment, a little bit of organisation will help to create a space for you and your loved ones to enjoy together.
Having a place for everything will also allow you to spend more time doing the things you love, rather than focusing on the visual ‘to-do list’ that clutter can create in our minds. As cleaning is already enough of a chore, having less to work around will make tidying the house much less stressful. Finding things will suddenly become easier, leaving you more feeling calmer and more in control.
Decluttering your home will ultimately make you happier… so where in the world do you begin?
1. The Bedroom
Often a room that is off limited to guests, the bedroom can quickly become a dumping ground for things that need to be 'tidied away'. Possibly the most important room of the home to keep stress free, a cluttered bedroom will see you start you day preoccupied and can also affect your quality of sleep.
Start off by making your bed. This is both an achievable first step and will also give you a large surface area for sorting other items on top of. Next begin by picking things up off the floor remembering to lift any rugs, look behind the curtains and root underneath the bed to rediscover items that so often get lost. Place these items on the bed, grouping them into things that belong in the bedroom and strays that belong elsewhere. A useful tip is to place these strays into a separate box that can be taken with you (or given to someone else) to deliver back to their rightful homes.
Next group your bedroom items into subgroups like clothes, shoes, cosmetics, paperwork etc. By approaching things section by section, you will feel a little buzz of instant gratification every time you manage to finish putting away a pile. Be strict with yourself about discarding anything that is broken and also create a 'fix me' box for items that need to be repaired. This grouping method also helps when approaching your closet as you will find it easier to part with certain items when you are face to face with 8 identical pairs of blue jeans.
Another great way to work out what you are actually wearing day to day is to turn your hangers the opposite way around. Once you wear an item, replace it back in your closet with the hanger facing the opposite way to show that is has been worn. You can do the same with placing little stickers on the labels of folded items of clothes that you can remove as and when you wear them. Six months later, you will have a much better idea of what items you have worn and what items can be donated to charity or gifted to friends.
2. The Living Room
A space that is used by the whole family, the living room is often a chaotic mixture of everybody’s things, so this is not a space to tackle alone.
Begin by rallying the troops to remove items that belong in their bedrooms and to take their dirty dishes into the kitchen. This initial cleanse is very important as the sheer volume of things in a family room can very quickly feel too overwhelming to tackle.
Next create three boxes labelled Put Back, Throw Away and Recycle and start placing all your living room items into these boxes. To achieve a thorough decluttering of your home, it is important to assign each item to a box as after seeing your living room completely empty of things, you will be able to be far more decisive over what gets put back and what doesn’t.
If you have the time and energy, an empty living room is a rare opportunity to give this well used space a deep clean. Include washing the curtains, blinds and upholstery as looking after your fabrics properly will help them to stay looking newer for longer.
It is also a great time to repair any internal damage to walls or skirting boards and if you are feeling brave, give everything a fresh coat of paint. It might sound like a lot, but the absence of objects and maximum space that a declutter provides will make redecorating a much quicker and easier job.
3. The Kitchen
The home of all those wonder-gadgets that promised to make your life less stressful, the kitchen can be full of items that you don’t actually use but continue to keep just in case you might. Possibly the most disruptive de-cluttering exercise but certainly one that will quickly sort the useful from the useless, start by removing every appliance from the cupboards and place them out in the open. This can be on the dining table, a work surface or into storage boxes.
Over the next few weeks replace the items you use back into their rightful cupboards. The longer you can put up with this temporary chaos the more thorough the de-clutter will be. If you have time, ‘fake plan’ a dinner party to evaluate less frequently used items to ensure that you cover all scenarios.
Also home of the infamous junk drawer, we understand that every household needs one but just as long as it doesn’t live up to its name. Storage for all things useful, it is important to regularly purge the junk draw of objects that no longer function or cease to be useful. The key here is to be strict as throwing away more redundant items this time round will mean less to sort through the next.
4. The Bathroom
The one space that you want to keep clean and stress free as you rush to get ready on time in the mornings, the bathroom is often the smallest room in the house and is frequently short of storage space. This means that clutter can easily build if you don’t keep on top of it.
To begin, designate a couple of hours out of your day to pamper yourself. Collect all your beauty products together into one place and give yourself a makeover, starting with the products you use every day and moving on to those reserved for special occasions. As you sample each product, honestly ask yourself if it suits you.
If it isn’t the right shade or doesn’t fix what it claims to (even if you wish it did) then it is time to get re-gift of get rid. Place your newly slimed down beauty range back with the most used items at the front to ensure that opened items are used up and thrown away before unopened ones are started.
Items such as medication and towels can be quick wins. Within minutes you can reduce your first aid supplies into a more manageable stock by separating out of date items and combing three open boxes of plasters into one.
Enforcing a maximum of two towels per person plus one for each guest will help you get decrease your linen collection. Repurpose them as cleaning rags or donate them to a local animal shelters to be used as bedding.
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Joseph R. Ferrari research paper cited in Current Psychology (2018)