Source: My Good Times, 2020
Starting Fresh: Decluttering your Home
Ringing in the New Year can bring all sorts of new thoughts, including anxieties and worries.
A great way to lessen this is to try to manage what’s around you. Studies show the environment you spend the most time in can have a significant impact on your physical and mental health.
This particularly includes your personal space. What better way to take charge of the year by getting rid of the unnecessary in your home?
Everyone is guilty of that little pile up in the corner of your room. Whether it be that cheeky chair that has all your loose clothes on it or that no-go zone of your closet with random bits from over the years. It’s time to put excuses aside and face that clutter head-on before you tackle the new year.
They say an efficient way to tidy up a noisy and frenetic mind is to start with the space around you.
Organizing old items and clothes can be empowering and therapeutic for yourself; it can provide mental clarity over what’s important and what priorities you want to bring into the new year.
There is never any shame to admitting that you’re a bit of a hoarder - whether this be mentally or physical things.
We have all done it and we will probably do it again, but it’s important to know when the time’s right to refresh and rejig your space (physically and mentally).
In lieu of this cleansing journey, we’ve simplified the process into ten simple steps to guide you through cleaning out your living space so new opportunities and ways of thinking can move in for the new year!
1. Set a time frame
Especially if you’re new to decluttering, the best way to tackle this grand task is by giving yourself a date by which you want to complete everything.
Be realistic with your time period - can you really do it within one week with your workload and other commitments? Know your priorities before you start cleaning out your house so that you can manage your time better.
For example, if you want to finish it within a week, it’s good to allocate at least thirty minutes a day where you tackle a certain part of your home. Or if you simply want to declutter by the end of the month, spend five to ten minutes a day organizing a part of your house.
Source: OneCMS, 2000
2. Get help from a friend
It’s great to have an extra set of eyes that can be harsh when the time comes to it. They can be straight with what you really need and help you figure out what’s really important to have in your house.
Choose a friend who you know will cut to the chase, they may come to be your saving grace when you find it hard to part with certain items. Or you may even discover that some items could go to their home, where it’s really needed.
3. Create a cleansing checklist
Sit yourself down and be real with yourself. Where do you feel is a problem in your house that you need to tackle as soon as possible? You can create separate checklists for each room and then number it with number one being the most urgent.
It’s a lot easier to declutter your space when you have a visual representation of what you need to do. It also serves as a visual reminder if you stick it up on your bedroom wall or in your office space so you see it everyday and are reminded of what needs to be done. Not to mention the satisfaction of striking something out of your list should help the process along.
4. Give one item away each day
If you’re decluttering over a month, this is a great way to cleanse your space plus also leading a more zero-waste lifestyle. A new home means a new life for your old items or pieces of clothing. If you’re finding it’s getting too easy giving away one thing a day, increase this to five or a bag full of stuff.
Make sure you do this with intention. Don’t simply dump things in a bag and fling it anywhere to anyone; think about where it’s going! Will this item serve its purpose and truly give someone else joy?
If you’re doing this over a week, use each day to fill a bag of donations for each room. Be strict with yourself.
Source: The Spruce, 2020
5. Get rid of all those clothes you never wear
This can be hard, because you can always tell yourself: “oh, but I might want to wear this for this occasion!” But let’s be real, are you really going to? Let’s Marie Condo and be really harsh with what pieces of clothing really spark emotion in you.
Also think: have I done justice to this piece of clothing? If you really haven’t, chances are you have too many clothes and it needs to be given away.
If you feel like you’ve really worn something, it might be time to share that joy and donate it, so someone else can share in the beauty of the item of clothing.
Source: Akamaized, 2020
6. Adopt the four-box method
Get four boxes and label them: bin, give away, keep, or re-locate. Go into any room in your home and place each item into one of the following boxes. Don’t skip a single item, no matter how insignificant you may think it is. This may take days, weeks, or months, but it will help you see how many items you really own and you’ll know exactly what to do with each item.
With the items you want to bin, look into how and if you can recycle them. We often forget just how much waste we’re contributing to when we’re in pursuit of cleaning out our house, but it’s important to keep our binning behaviour in check, so that we don’t keep being part of the problem!
7. Look at your home with a fresh pair of eyes
Walk into your home and approach it as a first-time visitor. This can be hard as it is easy to “forget” what your home really looks like as a visitor. What’s the first thing you notice about your home? Is it messy in a certain area? Does one room look better and more organized than the other? Why is this?
If you’re struggling with this, use your “phone a friend” option and ask them straight: what’s something that stands out (good and bad) about my home? Write down your first impressions and get your friend to and compare notes.
8. Take progress pictures
Often an image of what a room really looks like can put things into perspective for you. By monitoring the progress of your room’s space, you can literally see how your space is changing. It’s also a great way of seeing how your space could like and motivate you more to get the job going.
Sometimes a little picture can be all the encouragement you need.
Source: Upscale Living Mag, 2021
9. Be smart with your storage
If you find you are a person who has piles of things, research ways in which you can store things more efficiently.
After you declutter, look at potential places in your house that could store those essential things.
Would you do well with some under-bed storage? However, when doing this, be mindful that you’re not just finding clever ways of actually keeping more things than you need.
Part of decluttering is learning how to store your essentials better and maximizing your space in a way that balances the amount of material goods you have and being space efficient. You’ll know when you find yourself being cheeky with what you really need. Part of cleansing is being strict with yourself for a good reason!
10. Have fun with it!
This doesn’t have to be a struggle - make it enjoyable.
Make a ‘decluttering’ playlist where your friends can contribute and add funny songs that you listen to whilst you get the job done. Invite people over who will actually help (maybe not your hoarder friend…)
Reward yourself with an episode of something or a baked good when you’ve completed something on your checklist. Make it amusing by documenting yourself decluttering with a glass of vino. There are so many ways to make it less drab.