How to declutter

by Zena-Marie on 20 February 2012

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Living with less clutter in your home will make your life less stressful it will make your home more appealing and crucially it will make it easier to keep clean.

One of the main reasons clutter builds up is due to our own procrastination. When we get undressed we chuck clothes at the end of the bed ready to put away later. We get letters and put them on the side ready to deal with later. This propensity to put things off until later leads to a build-up of clutter and the more clutter that accumulates the harder it is to find the time to deal with it all.

One of the main ways of dealing with this type of clutter is to action things straight away. When post arrives open it immediately and either file it trash it or action it. By doing things straight away we eliminate the piles of clutter that can often become overwhelming.

It may sound corny but the age old adage ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’ really works. It sounds simple and it actually really is. It is so much easier to put something away if you know exactly where it goes and consequently so much easier to find it when you need it.

One of the other major causes of clutter is our emotional attachment to objects. Perhaps you have things that have been collected from your travels or gifts from parents or children. People also hang on to things “just in case” they may need them in the future. This can be a very strong reason to hold onto objects especially if they are in good condition but clutter has its cost. It costs us both time and money, the very things most of us want more of.

If your home is really cluttered it can be a little overwhelming just knowing where to start. If this is the case it is best to start small a good place to start is by de cluttering your desk. A clear desk free of visual clutter allows you to focus more clearly on what you are supposed to be doing.

First of all set aside some time an hour is good but half an hour is fine if that is all you have.

If you have piles of paper on your desk collect them up into one pile (we will deal with them later).

Next clear off everything from your desk except your essential items such as computer, phone, printer etc.  Put everything else in a box.

Now go back to your pile of paperwork. Go through each piece of paper and make an instant decision as to what needs to be done. Either file it, throw it away or if it is something to be actioned write it down on a to do list or pop it in your in tray for immediate attention.

Once you have been through all your paperwork go back to your box of stuff cleared from your desk and decide what to do with each item. Ask yourself is this item essential?  Do I love it? If you do not really need or love the item you have to question whether or not you want to keep it.  Anything that is in poor condition should be thrown away and anything in good condition can be given to charity.

Remember you may need to be ruthless. Be honest with yourself remember the object of the exercise is to clear as much stuff as possible so you are left with just the items that are essential and the things that you really love. The less unnecessary clutter that you have will mean that you can find things easier and cleaning and tidying the house will be quicker and easier. This will then free more of your time to do more of the things you love rather than constantly tidying up.

Once you have cleared your desk start on the drawers. You can set aside as little as 15 mins per day to clear out a draw or cupboard at a time.

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