Last week sometime I mentioned on Instagram stories that over the last few weeks I decluttered our home, as in every single cupboard, basket, nook and cranny. This is something I do every January and it makes such a difference to our home in so many ways. After sharing that I did this, I go so many messages asking how to declutter your home, where to start, how I find time, etc. There were so many messages that I decided the topic needed a full blog post, and so here we are!
Before we get into the “how”, let’s chat about the “why” because I can’t even begin to describe what a difference it makes for us.
The less stuff you have, the less you need to tidy up. There’s a difference between cleaning up and tidying up; there will always be cleaning to do (laundry, washing, vacuuming,etc) and that amount will more than likely stay the same. But when you start to declutter, you will have less tidying to do; less clutter to put away, less toys to pick up, less things taking up space. What an actual pleasure.
When there’s less stuff, there’s more mental clarity: It’s amazing what a significant effect decluttering has on your mental state. Once you have removed everything from your home that you don’t need, it frees up space in your mind, it’s like you have a bigger capacity and things don’t feel so cluttered in your brain. It’s an incredibly freeing feeling.
Your kids will play more: Seems like a bit of a contradiction right? Surely the more toys they have, they more they will play? Nope, in our experience the opposite is true. As soon as we do a massive declutter of the girls toys, we have a lot less “I’m bored” moments and a lot more unstructured, care-free playing. It’s wonderful! I’ve read a little bit about this and long story short, when kids have less toys, they feel less overwhelmed by choice and so they play much easier.
So, how do you actually get around to declutter your home when life just carries on at it’s normal speed-of-light pace? The answer is simple: take your time, there’s no rush. I literally took three and a bit weeks.
There are many ways to tackle the clutter but the way that I go about it is literally room by room, cupboard by cupboard. When choosing which room to start with, go with the least daunting and the cupboard in that room that is the least cluttered. By starting small, decluttering will feel more like a molehill and not like a mountain.
Take everything out and then start sorting: one pile for keep, one pile for donate, one pile for trash. My rule of thumb is that if I haven’t used it for 6 months, it doesn’t serve a purpose for me anymore and so it goes into a pile to leave our home.
Place all of your donation items into boxes or bags (those endless Woolies bags will get put to good use!) and store them in one part of the house. I did a charity store run once a week just to keep the clutter to a minimum and also because the more it piles up, the more of a mission it becomes to load it into your car and cart off. If you have very large items or don’t mind the donations piling up, I know that Hospice will do a collection and I’m sure many other charity stores will do the same.
Now that you know what you’re keeping from that particular cupboard, store it in a way that makes sense to you, making sure that everything is accessible. When things are stored all the way in the back of a cupboard, out of sight, that’s when clutter starts to build up. You can absolutely go out and buy some lovely storage options, but if it’s stashed away and no-one can actually see the storage, I try to find things at home to use such as ice cream containers and shoe boxes, they work like a charm. For kitchen items I love lazy susans, I have one in my grocery cupboard for snacks and another in my spice cupboard. For bedrooms and the living areas I adore baskets, I usually pick some amazing ones up at second hand stores but also just keep an eye out for good deals at decor stores like Mr Price Home, etc.
A system you might want to consider putting into place in your home is a specific spot where you keep back stock. Back stock are all the full items you have that will replace current items once they’re empty. I have two spots; one is for groceries and then another for everything else. The grocery one is in a box in the cupboard and the other is for toiletries, etc and those are in a box in the linen cupboard. Having all of these items in one spot in the house really helps to minimise clutter and I’ve also found that I don’t double up when grocery shopping because I check the back stock before adding items to my shopping list.
Decluttering can be very overwhelming, especially if you haven’t done it in a very long time, but once you are into it, and get into your sorting groove it actually becomes a lot easier and when it’s done (even just one room) the relief that you will feel and the change it makes to living in your home is amazing!
I hope that this blog post has helped you feel a bit more at ease about tackling the clutter in your home, let me know in the comments which room you plan on starting with!
PS: If you’d like to see my blog posts on how I spring clean/deep clean the home, you can find them here.