I am a big believer that clutter causes chaos, and that by decluttering your home you can stay organised and in control.
If you have been accumulating clutter for many years (a lifetime even!) then trying to work out how to declutter your home can feel overwhelming. These simple steps will help you take control of clutter and get rid of it once and for all.
NOTE: If you’d like a more thorough guide to decluttering then I suggest you check out the book Clutter Breeds Chaos and Tidy Transforms. It takes you through the process of how to declutter your home step by step, including checklists, and also deals with some of the psychology behind clutter and the barriers to decluttering your home. It will help get you motivated and keep you on track if you a serious about an “all in” declutter of your home and your life.
Recognise WHY you keep clutter
Before you can really declutter your home you need to work out why it became cluttered in the first place. Is it because you can’t let go of things for sentimental reasons? Are you struggling with the idea of wasting things or telling yourself that you might need it one day? Before you start to work out how to declutter your home, thing about what it is that holds you back from letting go of your stuff.
The reality behind the idea of “maybe needing it one day” is that if you keep everything you might need one day then by the time you need it you either won’t remember you have it or you won’t be able to find it. Don’t keep things “just in case”.
Start by decluttering the rubbish
I speak often about the idea of a “chuck it challenge” here on the blog. The idea behind this is to go through your home and start by getting rid of rubbish. The reality is that much of the clutter in our homes is actually rubbish. Random paperwork, things that are broken, samples we collected from various places.
Before you can declutter your home, you need to get rid of the rubbish. Start at the front door with a giant garbage bag and go through each room, throwing out anything that is rubbish or really not good enough to give away.
Declutter your home by category not room
My approach to decluttering is different to most of the suggestions out there. I am a fan of decluttering by category (eg shoes, cookbooks, cutlery, glasses etc) rather than by room. My reason for this is that you will be more thorough in what you get rid of. Organise by room once you have finished decluttering your home by category.
You’ll find that the more time you spend decluttering your home the easier it is to be ruthless with what you keep. My motto is:
Do I use it?
Do I love it?
Does it serve a genuine purpose for a genuine need I have?
Am I keeping it “just in case”?
Declutter your home all at once
Many approaches to decluttering favour the idea of a little bit at a time. Whilst it isn’t necessarily possible to declutter your whole home in a week, it is best to declutter your home thoroughly once rather than trying to delclutter a little bit each day forever. Once you’ve thoroughly decluttered your home you can then maintain it a little bit each day. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to keep your home tidy and clutter free when the whole home is decluttered. If you only do certain areas you’ll be tempted to move the clutter from your clean areas into your cluttered area until eventually it expands and takes over again.
Keep clutter out of your home
Once you’ve finished delcuttering your home, you’ll want to keep it clutter free! The best advice I can give here is to stop clutter coming in at all. Go straight from the car to the bin, get rid of junk mail, file paperwork, don’t put things down on flat surfaces or pile them up. Make it a habit to put things away straight away. Clutter breeds clutter and tidy breeds tidy.