5 tips to help you declutter in 2017

Planning to clear out your home this year? Follow these top tips for maximum decluttering success!

Set goals

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight or train for a marathon, you’ll probably have set a couple of goals; I want to be this weight by this month, I want to run this far in this time and so on.

Goals give us something to aim for and keep us motivated, both of which are crucial for effective decluttering.

So, before you start randomly picking up stuff and throwing it in the trash, think really hard about what you to achieve by decluttering. Do you want to make more room in a specific room? Do you want to make cash?

The more specific your goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. Here’s a non-specific broad goal:

Declutter my whole house

That’s a pretty big ask, right? But let’s break it down…

Declutter the bedroom
Declutter the living room
Declutter the kitchen

Suddenly, it seems a lot more achievable right? You can break those goals down even further too…

Declutter the drawers and wardrobe in the bedroom
Declutter the CD and DVD tower, and the bookshelf
Declutter the kitchen drawers and pantry

We’ve gone from decluttering the whole house to decluttering a few puny drawers. Setting specific goals makes decluttering much easier and saves you a whole bunch of time too!

Talking of time, you should probably set a deadline too to keep yourself on track too. The key to a good deadline is to make it reasonable without being too reasonable. A couple of months is generally the upper limit when it comes to decluttering, although it depends on how cluttered your house is!


Make time

Everyone is busy. Can you remember the last time you made plans with friends and settled on the first time suggested? It literally never happens!

Although, it turns out not everyone is as busy as they think. Last year’s American Time Use Survey found that the average American spends nearly 8 hours watching TV for every 10 hours they work. The chances are, when you really think about it, you actually have quite a lot of free time.

Therefore, ‘lack of time’ is not an excuse to avoid decluttering. It’s pretty easy to make time; just get a calendar, pick a date you’re free and write in ‘decluttering’. You don’t have to declutter that whole day, but spend at least an hour on it.

And then, pick another date and do the same thing. By scheduling in time, you avoid falling into the ‘no time’ trap and hopefully you’ll fall into a habit too. Which is especially handy when you have to…

Keep it up

Even if you carry out the most efficient decluttering session in history, the chances are your home is going to fill up with unwanted stuff again at some point. It’s just a part of life: today’s prized possession is tomorrow’s potential clutter.

With that in mind, it’s really important to declutter at least once a month. That way, you don’t have to face the horrors of decluttering a year’s worth of stuff in one go next year. Plus, the more you declutter, the less you’ll have to do each time. You may even find your maintenance decluttering sessions only take a few minutes!

Question everything

There’s a strong chance you already know what you need or want to get rid of before you start a decluttering session. These are the easy wins, the stuff you can pick up, sell or give away and feel good about.

You shouldn’t just declutter the obvious objects though; you should question everything you own. It sounds crazy, but you may be surprised how useless you find something or struggle to think of the last time you used it when you really think about it.

Marie Kondo’s KonMari method is a good way to approach this. She suggests picking up everything, holding it in your hands and asking “does this bring me joy?”. You could also ask “is this useful?” or “when was the last time I used this?” – whatever you find useful.

Get inspired

Marie Kondo, who we mentioned in the previous section, is kind of a big deal in the decluttering world. She wrote The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a bestselling guide which has sparked wide interest in the positive benefits of a tidy home and a tidy mind.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a great read if you’re planning to declutter soon, but it’s not the only one. There are tons of books and blogs on decluttering out there, most of which offer useful tips and motivational advice. Reading one every now and again could give the impetus to declutter your own home!

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