It’s officially spring in the Southern Hemisphere, which means lots of light, lots of friends and opportunities for entertaining. In our home that also means time to look at all the junk we’ve managed to pile up in the dark corners. But decluttering is not only aesthetic but also talks to a way more fundamental need we have to create space in our immediate environment in order to think and function effectively. Always eager for tips we’ve compiled some we think are rather clever.
1. Give yourself 5 minutes on a Timer. Leo Babauta at Zen Habits recommends 18 different 5-minute decluttering tips. Pick one a day. Anyone can commit to just 5 minutes a day, right?
2. Give away one item a day. That will have the horders amongst us seeking therapy.
3. See how fast you can fill a rubbish bag full of stuff to throw out and one for goodwill. the trick here is to do it as fast as possible so you don’t have time to over think it.
4. Try the Oprah Winfrey Closet Hanger Experiment. hang all your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction. After you wear an item, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the correct direction. After six months, you’ll have a clear picture of which clothes you can easily discard.
5. Make a list of the places in each room that need decluttering. Begin with the easiest and work from there. Give yourself a reward once you’ve finished a room – try not to make it edible though or you may have trouble fitting through the door to get to the next room…just saying.
6. Take the 12-12-12 Challenge. Find 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their proper place. Make it a fun competition within the family – just don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater in the race to win.
7. Change your perspective. There is nothing like organising a get together with the gals to help you notice clutter you have become blind to. Having a toddler over will do a similar thing. Arbitrary ornaments beware!! Imagine that your favourite interiors magazine is coming to photograph your home for a spread in the next edition. How would you feel about the way your home looked then? still not working for you – take some photos with a camera or even your phone and look at them. You’ll be surprised how what you thought looked tidy looks well umm – not that tidy. With all of the examples, the hope is to cause you to see your home in a new light.
8. Finish what you started…immediately! Nicole Anzia decluttering guru says Of course you will need to sort things into categories (e.g., toss, recycle, donate, give to friend, put in deep storage). But here’s the crucial part: Once you have decided where something is going to go — take it there. Never keep bags for charity or boxes for friends in your home to deliver later. Do it now. Finish the process. Take the bags and boxes out to the trash or recycling immediately. If you’re donating something or giving something to a friend or family member, put the items in your car or make arrangements for dropping them off. You’ve done so much work getting this stuff ready to take out, complete the deal!
9. Good Enough is Enough. Very few people have closets and drawers that resemble those in catalogues. Even after we’ve totally reorganized a space, it doesn’t necessarily look like an ad for House and Garden. It looks great and works properly, but it is a space that is used by an actual human being, not one that has been carefully staged by a team of stylists and marketers for a non-existent resident. You will ultimately be disappointed if perfection is your goal. The goal is to set up a space that works well for your needs. That is success.
10. Do You Love it? Look at all the furniture and collectables each in turn. Do you love them? Do they express the people you are or are they more about the people you were, or do they express the people someone else thinks you are, or are they hand me downs that don’t speak to you at all. If so, get rid of them. You can’t let new things into your life without getting rid of the old things that are cluttering your space and your mind.
So there it is folks. Sounds simple. I’m off to do my 5 minutes. x
Thanks to Joshua Becker author of The More of Less and, Nicole Anzia owner of Neatnik.