If you live in an Instagrammable home with gleaming surfaces and drawers with carefully organised items, then this article’s probably not for you.
If you have at least one ‘junk drawer’ stuffed full of strange items.
If there’s at least one large cupboard in your home that you have to shove shut with your bum because it’s so jammed with stuff.
And if there are countless piles of clutter strewn on every surface in the house, then read on to find out our top (realistic) tips to declutter once and for all.
The bin bag force
If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start when it comes to clearing the clutter take 10 minutes and 2 bin bags.
Pick a drawer, cupboard or room.
Spend the 10 minutes popping all the things that can go in the bin in one bag. Put all the things that can go to charity in the other.
Don’t dilly, dally. Just sort. If you do this 10 minute exercise every day for a week then you’ll soon have made a dent on the clutter.
Use the 3 question technique
If you’re finding it hard to let go of things then use this 3 question technique as you sort through your stuff. For each item, ask yourself 3 questions:
- Do I truly need it?
- Do I truly adore it?
- When was the last time I used this?
If the answer’s no to either of the first two, or ‘ages ago’ to the third, then it can go.
Every item you clear leaves a little more space and this makes you feel a bit more peaceful.
Sort by things not by rooms
Often when you declutter you start with one room. Decluttering this way takes so long and is such momentous effort that after you’ve cleared one room you are too knackered to do the next.
One of our tips to declutter is not to sort by rooms but instead tackle it by items.
Start with the big things that make the most clutter and take up the most of your time trying to keep on top of. Usually these are toys and clothes. Then work your way across other items.
Tackling the toynami
Gather ALL the toys in one room into an almighty heap.
Be armed with bags to clear any that are broken, tatty or useless to be thrown out.
Also put aside any that have not been played with for ages to be given to charity.
Clear out when the kids can’t see
One of our top tips to declutter is to have an almighty clear out when the kids aren’t in the house.
If they see you doing it then they’ll find it hard to part their with toys.
This is even with toys they haven’t played with for years and which they’ve completely forgotten they owned.
Clearing out clothes
Again start with one person’s clothes and make a gigantic pile of EVERY item.
Pick up each one and ask yourself when you or they they last wore it, if it actually fits and if you or they even like it. Get rid of anything you or they haven’t worn in the last year.
Be ruthless. It might be a lovely item but if it doesn’t quite fit or doesn’t suit you then it’s pointless keeping it just to take up space in your wardrobe.
Another one of our genius tips to declutter is when you hang things back in the wardrobe, place all the hangers in the reverse direction. For everything you wear from that point on put it back with the hanger facing a different way.
At the end of the year you will know that all the clothes on the backward facing hangers were never worn and these can go to charity too.
Be ruthless with the kid’s artwork
Keep the best and make sure you have a special drawer, folder or album that you place the most treasured drawings in.
For the rest, if you need a keepsake then take a photo of it and pop it in the recycling (when the kids can’t see you!)
Keeping control of kitchen clutter
Another room that can make your head hurt with cupboards and drawers filled to the max, is the kitchen. Over the years and through house moves you amass so much stuff.
Do you really need 28 forks and three whisks? Do you really need 57 different tuppaware pots, many of which don’t have lids?
A radical way to clear kitchen clutter is to get a big box and tip every single utensil into it. Over the next four weeks take out any utensil you need and pop it back in it’s drawer or place.
Anything left in the box after a month can go straight to charity.
Give away one item each day
Set yourself a challenge to give away one item to charity each day. Pop it in a box in the hallway.
At the end of each month take it to the charity shop. Over the year you will have removed 365 items from your home. You will have made quite a transformation by letting go of things one item at a time.
This daily trick also teaches you to be more mindful of clutter. You are focused on clearing things you no longer need, use or like, so you are less likely to buy more items to take their place.
Set the 12-12-12 challenge
This one of our tips to declutter is for the whole family. The more you can do to sell it as a fun challenge, the better it works.
Give everyone bags or boxes. Set them a certain amount of time to seek out 12 items to throw away, 12 items to give away and 12 items to put away.
Before you know it everyone has quickly organised 36 items in the house and restored a bit of order.
Messy house? You’re probably a genius
If you feel a bit glum about the fact that you have a cluttered house then take comfort in this scientific study that proves that messy people are really geniuses. Who are we to argue with science?