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Ok people, it’s 2020 so let’s get our houses in order, it’s time! And as my New Year’s gift to you, here are eight tips to help you get on your merry way.
Make a List
The best way to start the process is to plan ahead. Make a list of all the spaces in your house you need to declutter and then, you’re going to need to decide when they will get done. In the words of life guru Gretchen Rubin, “things that can be done at any time, are often done at no time.” True right? So after you have listed the tasks, make sure you also allot a time when you’re planning to do them. I write one job into my diary each fortnight. It may seem counterproductive to put off dealing with the kitchen junk drawer until the first week in March, but at least I know that when we are ringing in 2021, I’ll be able to find the sparklers.
Pick a space and commit
Controversial, I know. But I actually disagree with Marie Kondo’s concept of culling by categories, as opposed to decluttering one room at a time. Mostly because I’m the type of person who makes a huge mess when I’m cleaning and if the whole house is trashed, I’ll just feel stressed. I also like to give myself two weeks in each space before I move onto the next. Kind of weird but so much of the progress happens after I think I’m finished. And for that entire two weeks, I keep a bin, some cleaning wipes and an op-shop box in the room, that way I can just do five minutes at a time.
Use the ‘box method’
The box method is the concept that you fill what you have space for, and chuck the rest. For example, if you have a shelf in your kitchen for cookbooks, put your faves on it and donate any that don’t fit. Then just run a one-in-one-out policy. This stops the cluttery habit of buying more shelves or storing cookbooks in the lounge room. It also is a simple concept for kids to master. You can pour all of the toys on the floor and get them to put their favourites in the toy box until it’s full. Then the rest get donated. Simple.
Make three piles; keep, donate and unsure. The ‘unsure’ pile is actually the most important one because it enables you to keep the process moving. Decision fatigue is the hardest part of decluttering, so if you can avoid it, then why not? When the space is looking awesome, organised, decluttered and cleaned, you can revisit the ‘unsure’ pile again. Deal with it in time, but don’t stress about it, it’s ok that it exists.
Use External Storage
So much of the stuff in our houses only get used at certain times of the year, like sports equipment, Christmas decorations and Winter gear. These are the types of things you can put in storage. Companies such as Hire Storage are great to use. It is a secured facility that is monitored 24/7, centrally located and accessible 6 days a week, has the convenience to store from a few days to years, and is affordable. The removalists collect your belongings, safely store it, and will return it to you when you are ready. It makes moving and storing that much easier and less stressful knowing you have professionals to help you out.
Donate, donate, donate!
I know how tempting it is to sell things on Marketplace, and it can be a great little earner but if decluttering is your aim, then just get it out the door and into the op-shop. Even those nice shoes that have only been worn a couple of times, that’s the stuff that the op shop actually needs. They make money, someone gets a bargain and you get good karma. Winning. I like to put my boxes straight into the passenger seat so I have to prioritise dropping them off. If I didn’t, they will end up on a 6 month holiday in my boot. Make exceptions for designer gear, but just ditch the rest.
Don’t forget the dog pound
So many people don’t know this, but lots of pounds take donations of towels, bedding and pillows. Call your local pound and ask them what they take before you declutter your linen cupboard. It’s so much easier to part with that slightly-stained-but-still-good doona if you know it’s going to give a puppy a comfy bed to sleep on.
Google ‘Swedish Death Cleaning’
Just do it, it will be totally worth it.