There has never been a better time to take control of your house. We all suffer from clutter at some point, as it is common for us to accumulate more than we have space for.
Having too much in your house is overwhelming and can cause a lot of stress, which is something we do not need any more of at the moment!
If you find that your home is constantly a mess, regardless of how many hours you spend tidying, - this guide is for you. We are going to provide you with the best decluttering tips to help you along the way.
This can feel like a stressful task, especially if you have never tackled it before, but we are going to break everything down into easy steps so you can get back control and have the clean, clear space you have been dreaming of.
Why You Should Declutter
You might be someone who likes to keep hold of everything they own and feel quite happy with this decision. Yet research says that the benefits of reducing items can impact everyone and we think that you should give it a go.
If you suffer from stress, anxiety or feel like there aren't enough hours in the day, then you may want to keep reading and see our decluttering tips. While you might not yet understand the use of reducing clutter for these issues, our tips should help you.
When your home no longer feels like a safe sanctuary, and you are spending too much time organising and cleaning, you need to declutter.
The removal of unused items, clothing you don't wear, and things that no longer bring you joy, as cleaning expert Marie Kondo says, is the main focus of this task- but through our tips, you will soon see that there is so much more that comes with this task.
There are options out there for support and help, such as hiring a professional organizer or a cleaning team, so don't feel as though you are alone. However, if hiring help is not an option, this is something you can do by yourself just as easily with the tips in this guide.
A good way to get started is by working a little every day decluttering your home, says experts, by taking time each day to put away items and clean your space.
If you take up this regular practice, it will help you create and maintain a comfortable space you can enjoy. After all, there is no use clearing out your closet and working on your space if you are only going to fall back into bad habits again!
Before you can put these habits into use, we need to take a look into why you behave like this in the first place.
The Reason Why You Are Struggling With Clutter
There are many reasons why we hold onto items that we should throw away. The more items we hold onto, the more clutter we have to deal with.
If you find yourself losing space to items like broken decor, paperwork, clothing that no longer fits and so on, you are not alone! Clutter is something that we all suffer with at some point. Those who have created a regular practice will ensure that their homes are clutter-free permanently, which is something you can put into place following our tips.
For some people, the idea of throwing away anything fills them with dread. It is common to think, 'but what if I need this item again?' or 'I paid a lot of money for it, I can't just throw it away' when organising, however, for some people things can be more serious.
If you find that you are really struggling to get started, and the idea of removing anything fills you with dread and anxiety, you may need to deal with those internal issues first. For some people, therapy or counselling may be required to work out why you have an attachment to things, but for others, you can reflect alone.
If you are concerned about the anxiety, you feel when trying to get rid of something, then think about or journal your concerns to see what the issue really is.
- How does this make me feel?
- What does this item really mean to me?
- What is the worst thing that will happen if I get rid of it?
- How will I feel when this space is clear and clutter-free?
Once you have dealt with your underlying issues when it comes to your attachment to things, it will be easier to declutter your home.
Decluttering Tip: There Is No 'One Day'
One of the biggest things that holds people back when it comes to reducing what they own is the concept of 'one day'.
You might find yourself holding onto clothing that you no longer wear or kitchen gadgets you have never or hardly used because 'one day' you might want to use them again.
The best decluttering tip that we can provide is to forget about 'one day'.
It is likely that the day when you need an item you have gotten rid of will never come, so don't give up precious space to a 'just in case' item.
If you really can't put this idea out of your head consider borrowing an item again should you need it instead of giving up essential storage space, is the advice of minimalists and other decluttering experts.
This is the most sustainable option too!
How To Declutter Your Home
Now that we have gone over the basics and provided some beginner decluttering tips, it is time to get into the main part of this guide. You do not need to be a professional organiser or have any special skills to start to declutter your home, but there are some items you might find useful.
During the decluttering processes, storage boxes (cardboard boxes will do) and trash bags are good things to have on hand. Once you have finished your decluttering process, you can start to think about the best storage cabinets or bookcases to have in your home once you can see what is left to organise, but for now, the main focus is removing what you no longer need.
Decluttering your home is a large task, which may feel overwhelming to you. However, in this guide, we are going to make things easier for you by tackling each room in the house independently and the items within each different space that you can work through to help keep your organised.
We will also be looking into what professional organiser Maire Kondo says about the process to ensure you stay on the right track.
Decluttering Tip: Keep Organised
One of the best decluttering tips we can give you is, ensure that you are working in organised piles.
No matter which room you are working in around the house, make sure you have separate cardboard boxes for items that you are donating, items for the bin and for those you are going to keep.
Make sure you can easily recognise which items you are going to be getting rid of, whether that is throwing away or donating, and the ones you want to keep. After all, you do not want to go through this entire process only to have just as much stuff as you started with!
Once you have filled boxes or bags with the items you are getting rid of, remove them from your home immediately. If you need to donate items, remove them from your newly cleaned space by keeping them in the trunk of your car. This will prevent you from being tempted to go back through your donated items in storage 'just in case' which we have all fallen victim to before. This also makes things easier when you do have a chance to run to the thrift store or donation centre!
Whatever you do, make sure the items you are donating are removed from your home to avoid looking back through the bags and boxes of items you are getting rid of. Even if you think you have great willpower, you may be tempted to look through the storage containers once more, and end up adding once-decluttered items back into your closet. Keeping them out of your home will prevent this from happening.
Make sure you are firm on your decisions and don't look back!
Get Started: What Does The Ideal Space Look Like?
Before you start, a good way to get into the right mindset for decluttering is by imagining what your ideal space will look like. In this guide, we are going to tackle each room independently and offer the best decluttering tips for every room in the house to help you keep a clear mindset.
Visualising what you want is something to do before tackling each room in the house.
Consider what the ideal living room, the ideal bedroom, and the ideal kitchen will look like for you. Even if you are not usually one for visualisation, do not skip this step! It will give you a chance to consider what a room really needs to have in it, what items are the main source of clutter and therefore should be easy to throw away.
For example, the ideal living room needs to be a comfortable, open space for all the family to enjoy. So, what actually needs to be in this room of your home? Comfortable seating, a coffee table and you may want an entertainment system.
Little else is required to create a comfortable space, and having this clear image in your mind before your start to declutter your living room or any other room is a great way to see what needs to be thrown away.
Decluttering The Bedroom
The bedroom is often the easiest place to get started with decluttering, as it is full of personal items and may become cluttered very easily.
As we have mentioned before you even start to move things around to declutter your bedroom, think about what this space is used for and how your ideal bedroom will look.
A bedroom should be a calm, tranquil place that is designed for rest and relaxation - what is required for this?
Take a moment to look around the room to see what stands out as items you use, and items that cause clutter and stress. What needs to be thrown away or put away in order to make this the calm retreat from the world you desire?
Items To Declutter In The Bedroom
The easiest place to start when it comes to decluttering the bedroom is in your closet. Most of us have too many clothes, as we only wear the same few items over and over again.
Chances are, if you have not decluttered your home in a while, there will be items in the closet that are years old and no longer fit the way they should, which can be easy to get rid of.
It is important that before you start to declutter your clothes, you gather all items within this category from around your home.
This is one of the best decluttering tips given by professional organiser Marie Kondo, whose book 'The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up' changed the world.
She recommends gathering all items of one category, in this case, we are tacking your clothes, from around the home and placing them outside of the closet where they normally live.
Make sure you have visited the laundry room and gone through any other piles of laundry, so you have all of your clothing from around the home in one space.
Even though we are talking about clothes for this particular point, the process of gathering items and placing them outside of their standard storage is something you should do with all items around the home. Whether you are tackling the kitchen cabinets, office, or kids playroom pull everything out of their normal space to easily see everything you own.
Once all of your stuff is out of the closet and laundry pile, make sure you have a box ready for items to donate, a box for trash, and a box for recycling if this is relevant.
In some cases, it might be a good idea to set aside a separate pile or box for 'maybe' items that you can come back to later if this will speed up your process.
How To Organise Your Items
Once you pull everything from your closest, drawers and shelves to create a pile of items, you should work on decluttering them.
Make sure to go through each item individually, so you can see exactly what you have and truly consider whether you want to keep an item or not. This is a time-consuming process, but it will prevent you from going back on your progress in the future because you will have considered everything you own carefully.
Hold the item to see how you feel about it, but items like clothes that can be tried on should be tried on to see how you really feel about them.
Declutter Your Living Room
The living room is perhaps the busiest room in your home, as it is a space where all the family comes together and brings their stuff.
Living rooms should be the hub of your home, a space for entertaining and relaxing with your family at the end of the day. But this can be hard to do when you are surrounded by things that you don't use, don't like and have no place for.
The living room is the part of the home that can benefit the most from storage cabinets and shelving, which will make it easier to put away things at the end of the day.
When it comes to decluttering living rooms, make sure to put special focus on areas that gather a lot of clutter. Although all homes are different, furniture such as the coffee table and console are likely to gather the most clutter. If you have a coffee table and find that its only purpose is to gather items, then perhaps it is time to declutter it entirely.
Storage is vital in the living room, but there are other options that will work better than a coffee table and not show as much clutter. Items such as an ottoman that doubles as a storage box and unique shelving makes it easy to put away items you use, without creating too much clutter.
With the right storage boxes and solutions, you can still keep all the items you use and love in your living room while keeping cleaning easy to complete!
Declutter Your Kitchen
When it comes to creating a clutter-free kitchen, the first step is to think about the things you actually need in this space.
Mealtimes can be stressful if you are cooking for a large family, which is why having a clean kitchen is so important. However, instead of tackling the real issue in this room of the house, we instead tend to bring more things into our lives because they claim to make things 'easier'.
How many of us have bought kitchen gadgets that claim to make our mealtimes easier, only to feel stressed by how much cleaning they require and the lack of storage space we have for them?
To get started and declutter your kitchen, bring out all of the stuff you have for this room. Bring out every cardboard box, gadget, and utensil you can find that was bought for the kitchen.
Once you have everything out, and emptied every cupboard you can see what tools you use to create meals for your family, what things help you in the kitchen as well as every single bit of clutter that you no longer need.
Clutter from the kitchen can also include food, spices, seasonings, and jars that have been gathering dust for years in your cabinets.
Also don't neglect the laundry room when working on the kitchen, as this can also be a hub for clutter! The same rules that you'd apply to your kitchen can also work for the laundry room and any other space that might be forgotten, such as the garage or medicine cabinet.
Organising The Space
Much like the living room, storage is essential for the kitchen as it can help keep things clean and organised. When you work through your clutter, make sure to keep piles ready for the recycling bin, garbage and to donate as well as what to keep (which should hopefully be the smallest pile!).
Once you have determined what things you need and are going to keep, you want to store them in easy ways. You want to make sure that the things you have decided you need will be in use, which is why the correct storage and shelving systems are so important.
Questions To Ask When Decluttering
When it comes to deciding what items to keep and which to get rid of, there are some questions you can ask. These can apply to everything in your home, whether you are working on the living room, kitchen or bedroom.
- Does it fit?
- Do I like it?
- Have I used it in the last six months?
- Do I have the space for this thing?
- Is it still in date? (This is a vital question to consider when working with food or in the medicine cabinet)
- Is it easy to clean?
If you answer no to any of these questions, it is time to get rid of the item you are considering.
Decluttering Tips: FAQs
Learning how to get rid of items and keep your home clean is tough. We all have our own issues with clutter, and it can take a long time to work through your things to get the space you desire.
While everyone's journey with decluttering is different, there are some frequently asked questions that continue to come up whenever we offer decluttering tips. To help you tackle clutter and remove everything that no longer serves you, we are going to address the most common questions that come with organising your home.
1) Can decluttering your house really make you happier?
Deciding what items to keep and which to get rid of from your home can be a stressful event, so it makes sense that you want to determine whether the long-term effects will be worth it. There are so many positive effects that can come with having a clutter-free space.
Many studies have gone into the effects of clutter on our physical and mental health, and you would be surprised by how much the things in your home can impact other aspects of your life!
Sure, there is some stress to be had when you start to declutter as it can be hard working through the emotional attachments you have to the items, plus the concerns of how to get rid of them and where to store them. However, the benefits of having a clean space at the end of it outweigh any issue here.
One study says that decluttering can improve your mental health by removing potentially negative associations you have with things out of your home.
With fewer items comes less stress, as well as fewer reminders of the past - and whether these are good or bad, this can improve your mental clarity drastically.
Another study says that clutter actually increases cortisol levels in the brain, which raises blood pressure and stress. Too many things in a space make us feel uncomfortable and makes it harder to concentrate.
With fewer items in your home, you not only have less stress, but you also have more time that you can put into meaningful activities. Instead of wasting your weekends cleaning the living room for a third time that week and reorganising items, you can spend quality time with loved ones and do activities that light you up. This improves both your mental and physical health, and results in a happier you!
2) How to start decluttering your home?
When it comes to a big project like decluttering your home, the hardest part is getting started.
The best decluttering tips we have found for getting started come from professional organiser Marie Kondo. Regardless of what room you are working in, Marie says that the first step is to pull everything out from its normal space so you can see everything you have.
She says that this is why working in categories rather than rooms is the best way to declutter, as you can work through everything in your home and keep organised at the same time.
To start, go through all the areas where you store clothes, for example, and pull everything out. Take everything out of your closet, collect clothes from other hiding spots around the home and do not forget the laundry! Once you have gathered everything, place them on the bed or the floor.
Do not keep clothing in the closet when trying to declutter, because you will not be able to see everything clearly.
It will help you to remove items from their normal space when trying to declutter as it will give you a clearer image of how much you actually own. This is something Kondo says in every interview and book she has published, and for good reason. We expect to see clothing in the closet, so are less likely to notice everything for what it is and therefore the clothes that we no longer want because we are used to seeing them in storage this way. We cannot fully see the extent of the clutter if it is hidden away as we'd expect.
Pulling everything out, piling them somewhere new and considering each item one by one is something Marie Kondo says to do, and it is the best way to start.
3) Why is decluttering your home important?
As we have mentioned, there are many benefits to decluttering your home and having a safe, clean space to retreat to.
Excess clutter in your home can result in stress, anxiety, depression and cause a range of physical health issues alongside these. When you keep hold of everything you have ever bought or been given, you will find that there is nowhere to store items and you are spending more time maintaining them rather than enjoying them.
A lot of us have underlying issues when it comes to our attachment to things, which can take over various other habits in our life if we do not start to confront them head-on.
For example, some people may find a lot of security in what they own even if they do not have the store space for it. You only need to watch one episode of Hoarders to see the kind of physical and mental mess that too much stuff can create.
It is possible to get help with your issues surrounding attachment to things, which can help make a start on decluttering. However, nothing will help you more than taking the plunge and working on removing stuff from your closet, kitchen and garage.
We all deserve to have a safe, comforting and inviting space to retreat to. Your home should be a sanctuary from the world and somewhere that you look forward to being in after a day at the office or work.
Having less in your home can increase how relaxing it is to be in your own space. Seeing clear surfaces brings a sense of calm and tranquillity into the mind, which is exactly how you should feel in your home.
This does not mean that you have to throw everything away and have absolutely nothing in your home! But decluttering allows you to value the things you do have more and creates a sense of peace that you will feel in all areas of your life.
If you want to start your decluttering journey, take this quote from William Morris with you:
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
Not only will your home feel more inviting and safe with only these items in, but you will be taking less stress into other areas of your life too, and that is why decluttering is so important.
4) Can decluttering help anxiety?
There are many ways that decluttering can improve your health, and everyone who has gone through this journey says that reduced anxiety is one of the main benefits.
When you fill your home with only what you need and use, you have more room - both literally and mentally. Clutter has some horrible effects on the brain, says scientists, including discomfort and stress.
Think about a room or a storage space in your home that is cluttered. Perhaps it is your office, with papers strewn everywhere so you can't find anything, or maybe it is the medicine cabinet that is full of expired pills, and you don't even know what is in there anymore.
Notice how your body has changed, just thinking about this room. It is likely that you are experiencing signs of anxiety, simply thinking about this space, so imagine what happens to you when you are in this room!
Imagine that clutter is a physical representation of your mind. If you find yourself constantly overwhelmed, stressed and unable to meet deadlines is this because your space reflects that?
Do you work in an office that is unorganised and messy? Do you rest your head at night in a bedroom that is full of clothes that you need to step over to get to the bed?
Even if you are lucky enough to live in a space that is not lacking much in storage, research says that any amount of clutter can result in anxiety. Considering clutter can cause anxiety, doesn't it make sense then to remove the cause and put things away?
When you are faced with clear surfaces and are surrounded by only what you use and enjoy, you will notice a massive shift in your stress levels. This is something everyone says when they begin decluttering because even the smallest changes make a difference.
You will no longer feel like it is a big task to get something out of the closet or find an item that is missing because decluttering makes it easy to put everything away properly.
Another great way that decluttering reduces anxiety is by creating more time.
With less to clean and put away, you will have more time to do activities that improve your life. You can use this new-found time to create, relax, and play.
Decluttering not only clears your home but can also help you clear your schedule too, which will reduce anxiety.
5) How does decluttering improve your life?
One of the biggest ways clutter impacts your mind is the fact it distracts you from what really matters.
For example, say you are sat in your bedroom, trying to relax after a hard day in the office. However, every time you try to close your eyes, your mind keeps turning to the overstuffed closet in the corner and all the laundry you have to do and how messy your space is. With all of these distractions, you will never be able to relax and get the rest you need to be productive the next day.
With this in mind, decluttering can create more space in your life that you can put to better use.
Not only does throwing away things create literal space, but everyone who has undergone a decluttering process says it is the mental clarity that is the best benefit. When you choose to keep only what you love, need and use, you are not only giving yourself the physical room to move as required, but also the mental clarity required to just be present.
No longer will you be distracted by the items around you and their maintenance. This can improve your life in so many ways, as it not only improves your mental wellbeing but will also give you more time to be with other people.
Without distractions, you can be present with your loved ones and give them your undivided attention. There is so much that can distract us and pull us away from the present moment these days, so don't make your home one of them!
Instead, declutter and create clarity that you can use to be present with your loved ones. This is why decluttering can improve more than just your physical space, as the mental benefits will help you feel better and will allow you to develop better relationships with others too.
How Decluttering Reduces Stress (And Why You Need To Do It)
We live in very stressful times, with constant battles for our attention coming at every corner.
It is hard to get through the day without the constant notifications coming from your phone, people asking for your attention, and a to-do list that just keeps getting bigger.
While there are some things you cannot control, what you own is something you can. These decluttering tips should help you take control of your space, your closet, and your schedule by giving you a chance to focus on what really matters.
Once you start removing the items that are no longer of use to you, decluttering may impact every other aspect of your life. Marie Kondo says this, as have many other known minimalists over time.
- Easier To Maintain
Having less in your home will make it easier for you to maintain your space. Everything will have its place, as less storage is needed. Once everything is in suitable store space, it will be easier to find when you need, which can reduce stress.
Being able to store items easily makes your home comfortable, clean and stress-free. You will also have fewer things to maintain after a declutter and more time to enjoy them.
- Save Money
Once you have spent weeks organising your home, you will not want to get it back in that state again. This will impact the way you shop and what you choose to buy because you will only be looking for what you really need.
We have all fallen victim to retail therapy at some point, and while it makes you feel good in the moment, it usually ends in tears. Not only do you now have new items that you now need to maintain and store, but chances are you have spent money that could have been put to better use.
Decluttering can help you save money, which will drastically reduce the stress in your life.
Monetary concerns are one of the biggest causes of stress, and by having less, you can increase your savings and become a more conscious consumer.
- More Time For You
How often do you find yourself saying that you 'don't have time'? This is something almost everyone says when they are asked to do something, but it doesn't have to be this way.
If you are always someone who says that you don't have time or says you are struggling with your schedule, decluttering can help you take back control.
With fewer things, less time is required for cleaning and organising, which can save you so many hours in the week.
Once you have the hang of decluttering your items, you may want to tackle your schedule and remove the things that no longer 'spark joy', as Marie Kondo says.
Even the smallest action can improve your mental clarity when it comes to decluttering. Getting started is the hardest part, as everyone says, but a few weeks of discomfort as you begin your journey will be worth the lifetime of peace and clarity.