Our homes have been busier than ever this year. We’ve spent a lot more time at home and our normal living areas have evolved into multifunctional spaces, doubling up as home offices, schools, classrooms, gyms (and the rest!). It’s no wonder that we and our homes are feeling the strain more than normal.
With Spring just around the corner (and the kids going back to school) there’s no time like the present to give both yourself and home a lift by doing a bit of Spring ‘Clearing’.
Decluttering and organising your home isn't just about tidying up rooms - it's about creating an environment where you’re able to relax, switch off and focus your energy and time on doing the things you enjoy. Hopefully it's not long until we can entertain our friends and family again (hands up if you're looking forward to that) and spending a bit of time Spring Clearing is the first step in getting our homes ready for the end of lockdown and a more sociable Summer.
How does clutter impact our lives?
I believe people have different clutter tolerance levels (my term rather than an academic one), some people enjoy living in a busy or more ‘lived in’ environment whilst others prefer to have clear surfaces and more minimalist homes*. Wherever you are on the scale, if you are uncomfortable about the look and feel of your home it can have an impact on your wellbeing.
- Making it difficult to switch off & relax physically & mentally.
- Causing our senses to work overtime on stimulus (like books, unfinished paperwork, piles of toys) which aren’t important.
- Signalling to our brains that our work for the day isn’t done.
- Increasing cortisol (stress) levels.
*a recent academic study by a fellow APDO member Caroline Rogers has proven that this is the case.
To make the move from clutter to organised you need to declutter your space first. There's no point in just organising your clutter, you need to let go of the things you don’t need first and then organise.
Why decluttering is good for you Time invested in decluttering your home is time well spent, your home will look and function better.
Saving you time as you’ll find what you need quickly
Saving you money - no more replacing items you’ve misplaced
You’ll also benefit from renewed clarity in what’s important to you and the fresh start of a clutter-free home.
Taking back control of how your home looks and functions is incredibly effective, especially right now when there’s so much going on in our lives that we’re unable to control. Your home doesn't need to look perfect, it's about finding a balance that works for you and your family.
Many people feel overwhelmed or find it difficult to set aside the time to declutter their homes so I recommend seeking help from a Professional Organiser if you find it difficult to get started.
Decluttering isn’t something that we are taught as children, especially for those of us with parents that liked to ‘make do and mend’. Luckily, however, decluttering, organising and finding a place for everything is something that can be practiced and learnt.
How to start decluttering your home
Make a declutter plan
Grab a drink and a notebook and make some notes about what you're hoping to achieve by decluttering your space.
Consider what’s working for you at the moment and the areas that you struggle with.
Think about how you’d like the space to feel and look.
Set aside some specific dates/times to do the decluttering!
Having these notes will motivate you to start decluttering and will be a useful reminder of your goals if you lose enthusiasm along the way.
If you empty everything out in one go it can be overwhelming so I always encourage people working by themselves to choose one category or box of items (socks, toiletries, cutlery drawer) and work through it making decisions about what you want and need.
The feeling of accomplishment you will get from tidying this one small thing will spur you on to continue.
Declutter by Category
Work in categories of objects (tops, dresses, shoes, books, DVDs) and gather similar items together in one place.
This helps you to see the volume of things you own in that category and quickly shows any duplication. This can really help when you come to choose what to keep and what to let go of.
Keep the things you love
Rather than looking for things to discard try doing something different... pick out the things you want to keep.
Having a positive mindset as you declutter helps to curate a home full of things you love rather than things that you are keeping just in case.
If you find yourself ‘keeping things just in case’ it may help to ask yourself the following questions:
- When was the last time you used it (will you ever need it again)?
- How likely is it that you’ll use the item (be honest!)?
- How much space is it taking up?
- How easy would it be to replace the item if you need it in the future?
- How much would it cost to replace it?
- Is it perishable, will you use it before the shelf life expires?
Consider how much value you put on the space items are taking up. If you have a large object, that you haven’t used for 5 years and it’s relatively easy to replace then be honest with yourself – would you rather have the space in your home or keep the item just in case you need it?
3 Simple Organising Tips
I always recommend decluttering before buying any new storage as you won’t know what storage you need until you know exactly what you have left to store (use cardboard boxes in the meantime).
Store similar items together and avoid scattered storage. This will help you to know where to find things and where to put them back when you’ve finished with them.
When you’re looking for somewhere to store something ask yourself where you’d look for it – it’s often the simplest way to sort out your storage.
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If you’d like support with your decluttering take a look at my new 6 week course starting on 30th March
I’m Sue, a professional organiser and KonMari Consultant based in Hampshire. I work remotely or in-person to help busy people declutter, organise and simplify their homes or offices so they can get on with the important job of enjoying life. For a no-obligation chat about how I can help, please get in touch.
m: 07740 782575