The joy of less - Part 2 - How to declutter

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Hopefully part one left you sold on why you need to declutter your life, so we thought it only fair to give you some tips on how to do it!

The first thing to remember is that there’s never going to be ‘a good time’ to declutter. There will always be things that seem more important.

We postpone decluttering because we’re working long hours, feeling emotionally drained from relationships, and would rather use any free time we have to go out with friends or sit on the sofa and unwind. We shut it out (physically, but it’s still there mentally). This all means that you wait until you really can’t put off cleaning any longer and it becomes arduous work.

We need to keep on top of it so it doesn't become overwhelming.

Here’s how. 

1.) Start small, just start:

Pick a room, or start even smaller... pick a drawer. Just clear that one area that you’ve been putting off. You’ll notice how much better you feel from achieving something and it will motivate you to do the rest. 

2.) OR, start easy, just start:

If that one thing is just too daunting. Start with something really easy that is less likely to take up too much emotional energy. How about that sock drawer? The satisfaction of finishing one job will spur you on to start another. 

tidy blankets

3.) Set a timer:

People work well when they know there is an end in sight. And even more so when there is a reward when that timer goes off. Start with 10 minutes. You’ll soon be challenging yourself with how much you can declutter in that time and it won’t affect you not getting other things done with your day either, so there is less guilt!

If a deadline is making it more stressful for you then don’t do it this way. Some people like to do things at their own pace.

4.) Enlist a friend…or a professional:

Having a friend to help you can not only help you make those decisions with you, but they can make the process fun. Do you have a friend who loves organising who could help? Or what about your fashionista pal who will force you to throw away those flares you’ve been keeping for years?

tidy mans things

If you’re really struggling, how about getting a professional to help? These people know all the tricks of the trade and can encourage you. We love ‘A life decluttered’ who are based in Edinburgh.

5.) Be mindful:

As mentioned in our previous post, we have an emotional connection to our belongings.

Notice how your possessions make you feel and don’t keep something due to guilt or obligation if it makes you feel pants.

6.) Make a plan:

Once you’ve gotten started, you’ll start to have an idea of what your refreshed, decluttered spaces will look like.

Next, plan what you’re going to do a.) with the things that you don’t need and b.) with your refreshed space.

Can you take stuff to the charity shop, can you give things to friends, are you selling any of it? This will motivate you to actually do it if you have committed to something (please recycle and avoid landfill wherever possible!). 

7.) Make it fun:

Plan out new storage solutions and how you are going to use your newly decluttered environments. Whether it’s pretty storage boxes for your condensed shoe collection or a new plant for your desk where the stack of paper used to be.

decluttered bedside table

Remember it’s not just about physical clutter. If you’ve cleared out your inbox or desktop on your computer, choose a new wallpaper that makes you smile whenever you see it. 

Don't get carried away though. Keep your decoration minimalistic in style so it remains decluttered, open and calming.

8.) Make sure it’s sustainable:

This isn’t simply a tidying exercise.

Don’t just spend your time folding everything neatly, knowing that as soon as you need a t-shirt from the bottom of the pile the whole thing will end up a mess again.

What choices can you make that are going to keep the house decluttered? Regularly used items will need to be accessible without displacing everything else. 

Try to avoid falling back into routines which created the mess in the first place. Put a routine in order so you keep on top of things.

tidy desk

Decluttering will get easier the more you do it. And when you can go through your day-to-day routine without constantly feeling stressed out, you will be grateful for it. But remember, don’t put tonnes of pressure on yourself. Take things step by step. 

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