Marie Kondo has taught us the magic of decluttering, and now we all want tidy, minimalist Kondo-style homes. But, let’s be honest, this kind of thing is a lot easier said than done. Here’s our guide to cutting the clutter and turning your home into a space Marie would be proud of.
Do you really need this item? Truly? When was the last time you used it, touched it, or even noticed its presence? You may feel that some things have sentimental value - but remember that sentimental value can change over time. That novelty corkscrew you bought on holiday, for example. You and the girls thought it was hilarious at 3am on the Kavos strip - but is it still that funny in the cold light of a British kitchen? Harden your heart. Ruthlessness is the key to a successful declutter.
Think of the others who could benefit
Lots of people have sentimental feelings about their personal items. That’s perfectly normal. For some, these feelings are stronger than others. If you are the kind of person who struggles to let go of items - however ‘useless’ or inconsequential they may seem - it may help to think about the people who will appreciate them in the future. Items which you don’t use any more could still bring a lot of joy to others. Donating stuff to charity shops, homeless shelters etc can give your items a whole new lease of life. Don’t think of the items you’re giving away as being thrown on the rubbish heap. Think of them going to new homes, to be used and loved anew.
Devise a system
Decluttering can seem like a daunting task at first. Many people get paralysed by the sheer enormity of what they’re attempting. Where do you even start? The best way to get over this is to devise a system. Are you going to work room by room? Are you going to sort items into categories and work through them on that basis? If friends or family members are helping you, will they be assigned specific tasks? Once you’ve broken the job down into systematic chunks it will become much easier to get stuck in.
Visualise your house as you want it
Picturing the tidy, spacious, minimalist living quarters you’ll be left with can give you the boost you’ll need to power you through. Imagine yourself twirling around freely in all that extra room you’ll have. Or just sitting on your sofa and enjoying a glass of wine without your eye getting caught on a hundred and one things that need tidying away.
Hire a skip and/or organise a charity collection
Getting ‘rid rid’ of things is an issue which puts many people off decluttering. Disposal of items is tricky - especially if you don’t drive. So, why not make life a bit easier for yourself by getting someone else to take your stuff away for you? Plenty of charities will happily send volunteers to collect items which are suitable for selling on and, for the rest, what about a skip? You don’t need to get one of those big industrial skips - there are companies out there who will provide smaller containers for landfill and collect them for you when you’re ready. Don’t forget to recycle what you can, though!
Cultivate clutter-free habits (for the entire family)
Now that you’ve finished your declutter and your house is spick and span, you don’t ever want to have to do a large-scale declutter again. The best way to avoid this is to cultivate clutter-free habits for yourself and your family. Encourage family members to put (or throw) things away when they’ve finished using them. Don’t buy new items unless you really need them. Gift experiences rather than useless ‘stuff’ at Christmas and on birthdays. Maybe even introduce a ‘one thing in, one thing out’ policy for certain items (for example, no new item of clothing may enter the wardrobe unless an old item of clothing is given away to make room for it). Building a clutter-free household is always a touch-and-go process, but it’s worth it if you like your living space with room to manoeuvre!