As we enjoy the occasional spring sunshine and get excited for the summer, it’s a great idea to start thinking about getting your house organised.
There are some good reasons for this:
- You might want to host summer parties or barbecues, but you’re embarrassed by the mess.
- There are more daylight hours, meaning you will feel more energised and motivated to do a big declutter project.
- You might have kids who will have long summer holidays, and if you don’t organize the mess beforehand, they will probably add to it!
- Selling your home in the spring and summer increases your chances of a sale, as we’ve covered here.
Controlling your clutter
Hoarding doesn’t start off extreme, but it has to start somewhere, and letting your clutter get on top of you is one of the early symptoms. Let’s start with motivation.
Finding the inner strength to avoid hoarding
A huge declutter project can increase anxiety if you approach it wrong, so it’s important not to look at the whole property as a mess, but set small, realistic goals, such as working room by room until everything is better. Make a plan of which rooms you will tackle first, and which will go last, but don’t do this the easy way – start with the most difficult room. Once you’ve got the toughest room out of the way, your motivation will increase and you will see the whole project as easier to accomplish.
If you look at your clutter and think ‘this will take weeks to sort out’, start by dedicating one hour a day, and not trying to do it all at once. Baby steps.
Having a system is important
Working room by room, it’s essential that you have a good system for your plan of action. Organisation piles are one way of doing this, such as:
Remember: Try not to be sentimental, and if you’re struggling with what pile an item should go in, pick it up for 20 seconds and make a firm decision. Once this decision is made, be sure that it is the right one, and don’t change your mind.
Sentimental, Instrumental and Intrinsic
All of your clutter falls into these three categories. Either it has personal value to you, you see it as useful for daily life, or you just think it looks nice. You need to learn to challenge these beliefs. Something you see as instrumental, may only get used once per year, or, you have several of the same thing, and don’t need to hoard multiples. Surplus items are the easiest to get rid of, so work from easiest to hardest in terms of how much you value your clutter.
To simplify: Start in the messiest room, throwing away the easiest items.
Decluttering is good for you
Embracing minimalism is one way of cutting down on clutter, and another is the ‘one in, one out’ system, but we are not encouraging you to just throw stuff away for the sake of it. We want you to recognise what you do or don’t need, and why it’s a valuable exercise to cut down on the unnecessary items.
Do any of your friends or family comment on your home, your mess, or how much stuff you have? These people will make great accountability partners, so be sure to get them involved, and beyond being supportive, they may offer to help. A problem shared is a problem halved!
What to get rid of
Here are some things you can probably do without:
- Plastic bags. Most people have a cupboard, or a bag that they keep all other plastic bags within; get rid of them, and use bags for life for your shopping.
- Expired food.
- Tupperware that you don’t use.
- Chipped or broken plates, bowls and glasses.
- Old medication bottles.
- Expired lotions and creams.
- Extra towels that never get used
- Old/spare toothbrushes
- Odd socks
- Unused clothes, accessories and bags
- Clothes that don’t fit or are damaged beyond repair
- Old underwear
- Christmas gifts you didn’t really want, and have gathered dust ever since
- Things that even you know are junk!
- Books and magazines you don’t need anymore
- Old phones, cables and outdated technology
- Empty batteries
Ready to tackle your hoarding habit? Good luck with your declutter project!