Guide: 8 steps to declutter your home

A blog about decluttering and home organising

Hello my lovely readers,

I talk a lot about decluttering your home and your mind in this blog. But this is because I strongly believe this can only bring a positive change in our life. Now, if you are one of this super-mulitasking-high-achiever-ninja who ‘got your stuff together’, you might as well skip reading this blog. But for the rest of us, who are constantly fighting with the modern age clutter I think this blog will help you.

Here is a scenario:

You have a full time job, a hobby, a dog, a personal life and possibly a house with a few of these little wonderful but highly attention seeking creatures that called kids. Life is busy! You are exhausted and you got to the point where things got out of hand on the house front. I mean, something has to give right? I’m with you, and I’m here to help.

You need more space! Space to move around, space to think, space to breathe, space for your family. The answer isn’t always as drastic as remortgaging, adding an extension or buying a bigger house. It’s maximising your existing space to it’s full potential by decluttering.

Think about this, if all your storage spaces are full with things you really don’t need or use, how are you going to create space for the things you actually do need? Your garage is full of stuff from the 80s that you will never use how are you going to find space for your new bikes? Your kitchen cupboards owns proudly 24 Tupperware bowls but only 3 have their lids and that juicer that you haven’t even got it out of the box for the last 3 years don’t you think it is time to let go?

So buckle up and join the decluttering train! I’m here to help.

Step 1: Don’t hide the clutter, start working your way from inside out.

Stop putting things away until you decide what you want to do with them. If you are unsure about something you probably don’t need it!  We tend to fill our spaces with things that are there ‘for the time being’ until we decide what to do with them. That decision my friends will never come. What really happens is that we accumulate more and more stuff we don’t need until our storage units are bursting with stuff we will never use again. Make a decision now. Is that thing going to serve you again? Do you really need it? Does this thing make you happy? If all answers are no, throw it or give it away!

Step 2: Plan the attack!

And when I say attack, before you think I lost my mind, I mean the decluttering attack. Mark your clearing out days on a calendar. Once it’s there and planned you will know it’s coming so you can prepare yourself for it. Depending on the size of your house and storage areas, mark as many days you need to achieve this goal but be realistic. If you are living in a 5 bedroom house with a loft and a garage it will take you more time than if you living in an one bed flat. When you plan out your calendar for the days you will work on this project, prioritise the areas you need to declutter and then break these areas down. You might need to work on your kitchen cabinets, your utility room and your garage, set different days for each project. Mark the days and don’t postpone it.

Step 3: Ask for help

If you have booked your clearing out days in the calendar, then it’s easier to plan for help. You can get the family involved or ask help from friends (Extra top tip: use alcohol or food as ‘payment’ – always works!). If you get some help and don’t have to fight the clutter monster alone, I promise it won’t be such a dreadful experience. We often do these jobs on a ‘I’ve had enough’ mindset and tackle everything by ourselves. The result is we either quit midway as we realise it’s too big a job for us, or we manage to finish it but the process has made us so tired that we really dread doing it again.

Step 4: The rule of three

Try not to hold onto things that they haven’t served you for the last year. Whatever storage you tackle work on ‘piles’ of three.

  • The ‘I need this stuff in my life’ pile.
  • The ‘I really don’t need this stuff in my life’ pile.
  • The ‘I’m not sure and I’m not ready to let go’ pile.

Now the first 2 piles are pretty straight forward. For the things you care to have in your home store them nicely. The things you don’t need, give them away or sell them. The third pile, the ‘I’m not sure pile’, store it away again in a box, but mark your calendar to check how you’re doing in 6 months. If you haven’t reached for that box in six months take it down to charity or take any of the other actions I’m suggesting. Adding a reminder in your calendar is a great way not to forget things.

Step 5: Stuff you can get rid of right now, I PROMISE you won’t miss them!

  • Old school/university books and workbooks
  • Books that you read and you didn’t really enjoy
  • Broken ornaments or furniture (that are waiting to be fixed)
  • Old dvds/cds you haven’t watched/listen for the past year
  • Clothes that don’t fit you or make you feel uncomfortable
  • Cables you have no idea where they belong
  • Broken toys
  • Baby/kids clothes that don’t fit your kids anymore
  • Plastic food containers that have no lids
  • Small shower samples you collected from your travels, in fact, any samples you haven’t used for the past 4 months.

Step 6: Don’t live by the illusion…

…of ‘I prefer to live my life rather than cleaning my house’, ‘I have more important things to do than cleaning my house’, ‘I prefer going out and enjoying a nice life than cleaning my house’. I’ve heard it over and over again. And really makes me wonder, how can you have a good quality of life when your house is a complete disorganised mess? Unless you are Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City and you spending 98% of your time socialising in fancy restaurants and hip cocktail bars, then you are like most of us. You go out and you have a social life, see your friends, have hobbies but most of our weekday evenings and some of our weekends we spend at home. Creating a good quality of life for yourself starts from your home. Living in a clean organised home, surrounded by things you love but also serve a purpose is quality of life. So even if you are one of the social butterflies and love the fine things in life, don’t you think this lifestyle should start at home?

Step 7: Take before and after photos

Often when you are in the project it’s easy to forget the ‘before’ and how far you have come. A before and after photo shot can be so satisfying and will be a great reminder of how bad it was (so it doesn’t go that way again) or how good it is now (so if it goes bad, it will remind you that it can be like that again).

Step 8: Reward yourself

Tackling this task, big or small can be overwhelming, but as with every project, if you do your planning and you know exactly what to expect then the whole process can be easier. When you set your goals in your calendar also plan your rewards. This is a little trick so you can have something to look forward to and make it all worthwhile. Of course it will be worth it anyway as you will have a decluttered fabulous looking home but a little extra might help you push the mark a bit more 🙂

I hope you’ll find this little guide helpful and I’d love to hear what you think and how you got on.

Anna x

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Louise says:

    Hi Anna,
    Thanks again for another wonderfully interesting and useful piece.
    Since reading this I have noticed that my house is full of stuff I just don’t use anymore – this weekend will be spent decluttering and making space for the things I do use!
    Your blogs have helped me improve my house and my lifestyle so thank you so so much for your inspiration, ideas and help to motivate me to make these changes.
    Your blog is my now my first must-read and I get excited to see what your new blogs contain.
    Keep up the good work.
    Love Louise

  • Margely Reve says:

    Sounds good. I will try it myself and pass a copy on to two friends i know that are struggling with two much stuff, like myself.