Is de-cluttering one of your New Year resolutions? Getting on top of all our things at home can be quite challenging especially if you have accumulated too many items, large and small, over the years. The sheer thought of tackling this mammoth task makes most of us feel overwhelmed; the result is procrastination.
However, having a tidy and uncluttered home makes most people feel good. Getting rid of physical things will free up your mind to concentrate on your priorities. And you can enjoy your home much more, your place to relax and re-energise.
In this article, I will share ten tips with you how to overcome the hurdles of de-cluttering and stay organised in style.
Tip 1: Make de-cluttering a priority and establish a routine
Scientific research shows that establishing a routine is the most powerful tool to get things done. If you want to lose weight you need to do exercise regularly. If you want to write a book, you need to make time to write daily. If you want an organised uncluttered home, you need to tidy up regularly.
Make de-cluttering a priority, then schedule a time that suits your lifestyle to get started, and, most importantly, show up and do it!
Once you stick to your routine, you will realise that at some point, you gain momentum and achieve the results you want.
Tip 2: Tackle your things in categories
One of the most efficient methods to tidy up is de-cluttering by categories. The Japanese organisation specialist Marie Kondo introduced this method, called KonMari method, initially. It is very effective if you have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. Categories, for example, are clothes, books, kitchen utensils, paperwork, etc. By de-cluttering one category at a time, you will free up space at multiple places throughout your home simultaneously, as most people disperse their storage throughout the house and keep things in the same category in different locations.
Gather all items from one category in one room and decide which ones you want to keep or give away. The question you have to ask yourself for each item is: Does this make me happy or spark any joy in my life right now? If the answer does not come easily, consider letting it go. The items we carry with us over years and years are the ones that anchor us in the past.
Tip 3: Use the 4-piles-method and follow up with action
The good news is that not everything you do not want to keep needs to be thrown out. Once you have decided for each item what to do with it create four piles:
- Things that go straight in the bin
- Items to sell
- Items to donate
- Items to keep
In my book Downsize with Style, you will find a list of suggestions and websites where to sell, donate, or swap beloved items. Once you have finished one de-cluttering session, make sure you get the piles out of your way. Don’t park them in your garage, as often they find their way back inside.
Tip 4: Donate and make other people happy
A few years ago, we decided to purchase a new lounge and give the old one to a charity. I had cleaned the seats and washed the cushion covers. After the charity had picked up the item in the morning, I received a phone call from their staff to thank me. They were delighted with the furniture piece and assured me that it would find a new home quickly.
This act of kindness motivated me to donate more items and made it much easier for me to part with them.
Tip 5: Select items that are worth selling
If you own many designer clothes, you might want to sell them at a second-hand boutique, a market, or online. Antique and vintage furniture or decorator items are welcome at antique and design emporiums, which usually take pieces on commission. Give them a call first to inquire about the conditions.
Sometimes, an ad at the local supermarket’s notice board or in the school newsletter can do the trick.
Tip 6: Display your treasured objects
Who does not have that cupboard or drawer where we keep beloved treasures packed away for years and years? They hold precious memories and belong to our life.
Why not taking them out – and freeing up storage space at the same time – and displaying them proudly in our home? Think about how you can repurpose things you have multiple times? Vintage coffee cups, for example, make stylish tea light holders. A collection of hats, plates, or bags can make an eye-catching wall decoration. Find inspiration in magazines and on blogs to get started.
Tip 7: Let your family and friends know about your new lifestyle
Don’t be afraid of telling your family and friends that you decided to de-clutter and live with less. Ask them not to bring random presents if they don’t know what to give you. Make a list of things that you would appreciate, or make a donation for your birthday instead of collecting physical things.
To listen to people, who downsized and decided to live with less, tune in to the Downsize with Style podcast.
Tip 8: Invest in quality
Let’s face it: we all like buying new things at some stage, even if we have de-cluttered and reduced the amount of stuff we own. Shopping means engaging with the world around you and can be a fun outing, especially if you have a good friend by your side. With a mere change of mind, you don’t have to feel bad about your shopping trip. Commit to buying only quality products that stand the test of time. Instead of buying a packet of ten cheap pens that won’t last very long, for example, invest in a beautiful writing tool that brings you joy every time you touch it.
Tip 9: Tidy-up regularly and find a place for your belongings
Allocate time during the week to quickly tidy up each of your rooms. Get on top of things on a regular basis to avoid overwhelm and frustration.
The trick is to find a dedicated place for everything. Then, keep your things in this place, religiously! For example, one of the decorating essentials I recommend in Downsize with Style is a chest or console in the entrance area. Here, you can keep all your belongings you take with you on a daily basis, such as your phone, keys, glasses, money, etc. When you come home, leave those items on your chest and do not place them randomly somewhere else. It will save you time when leaving home, as you can retrieve everything you need quickly.
Tip 10: Use the power of colour
Colour is the most powerful tool when it comes to decorating. Ask a colour consultant for assistance to create a colour scheme that radiates a serene and uncluttered atmosphere. Use colour to link spaces or emphasise areas. Curate your bookshelf by colours to create a sense of organisation and style.
If you would like some assistance in de-cluttering, downsizing your home, or finding the right colour scheme email me or fill out this contact form.