How to de-clutter your home (and why you should)

July 30, 2016

In 2011, researchers from Princeton University Neuroscience Institute published a study that showed the effects of clutter on the brain. They reported that a person who is surrounded by clutter will be more distracted as it restricts the ability to focus, and it will also limit your ability to be able to process information.

This is proving a point that most of us are already well aware of; too much clutter around the home can be overwhelming and stressful. But knowing you need to de-clutter and actually doing it can be two very different things. A good place to start is by making a firm commitment to de-cluttering your home. Organise the rubbish bin hire and once that’s paid for, you’ll be motivated to do a good clean out so that you don’t waste money.

Here are some more tips on how to de-clutter your home:

Start small

A huge part of not being able to start de-cluttering comes down to the feelings of overwhelm when there’s just too much to be done. That’s ok, start small and just take one step at a time. Pick a room, or a corner or even just a drawer and get started on that and that only. Once you have finished with that one spot, you will feel good and will be motivated to tackle the next space.

Item in, item out

The ‘item in, item out’ method can be very effective and it’s very simple; every time you buy a new item, throw an old one out. This can be anything from kitchen utensils, to shoes to decorative items. Let’s take your wardrobe for example; the next time you buy a new item of clothing, go through your wardrobe and choose one item to throw away or donate. Once you are in the habit of doing this, you can start to think about it before you even purchase the new item. If you find a new top that is on sale, before you buy it ask yourself what you need to throw out from your current collection in order to buy it. If you find yourself struggling to choose something to get rid of, you may realise that what you are about to buy isn’t all that important after all.

Take a photo – then ditch it

Often the reason we hold onto old things is because there is a memory attached. It might be ticket stubs, an old dress we wore on a first date, or a now-broken cooking dish given to you by a much-loved Aunty. What you need to remind yourself is that memories are not really attached to items, memories live within you. You don’t need to keep stuff to remember a life well lived. If something is important, take a photo of it that you can store digitally and then move on. Donate the item, or throw it in the bin.

YouTube as inspiration

If you are still unsure where to start, head to YouTube. It can be a gold mine of information on all manner of topics and de-cluttering is no exception. And the best part? Because it’s all online, it means you don’t need to bring even more clutter into the home by buying books and magazines on the subject. Try watching videos by ClutterBug or AtHomeWithNikki.

Don’t buy anything before you start!

Once people have decided to de-clutter, they are tempted to run out and purchase containers before they’ve even started. STOP! Don’t buy anything else and bring more stuff into the home until you know for sure what you’re going to need. And the only way you’ll know, is to just get started on clearing the clutter first. The only thing you should consider investing in before you begin the de-cluttering is a skip bin, so all of the rubbish can be removed from the house straight away.

Ask yourself some questions

If you are finding it hard to decide whether or not to keep certain items, it’s time to ask yourself some questions. If you were to lose this item, would you go out and buy it again? If you never owned this item in the first place, and you saw it in a shop today, would you buy it? If so, how much would you be willing to pay for it? Answering these questions can help make it more clear in your mind how much value you put on these items right now and whether they are worth keeping, selling or donating.

Challenge yourself

If you hit a lag or you are getting bored, try turning the job into a game. Take the 12-12-12- challenge. This is where you choose 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate and 12 items to put back in it’s proper home. By the end of the challenge, you have organised 36 items in your home! Do the challenge again the next time, but set a time limit for yourself. Soon you’ll be de-cluttering faster than ever.