In the 21st century, many homeowners find themselves becoming overwhelmed by their possessions. Wardrobes are filled to bursting point with clothes that are rarely worn, bathroom cabinets overflow with toiletries gifted at Christmas, and some patches of floor don’t see sunlight for months.
If your home is filled with clutter, it undoubtedly affects your stress levels. An untidy house is a sign of an untidy mind, as the adage goes, and you may find it hard to relax in a cluttered home. This prevents you from fully recharging at the end of each day, which has a negative impact on your overall happiness.
To win their home back from clutter, many people are turning to a school of thought called minimalism. This philosophy, which was gaining traction for years before Marie Kondo’s hit book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying truly took it into the mainstream, extolls turning your back on hyper-consumer society in favour of only owning the items you need.
While you may have no desire to become a minimalist, you can almost certainly benefit from decluttering your home — the practice of going through everything you own and jettisoning everything you no longer need or like.
Read on for our complete guide to decluttering your home and destressing your life, in which you’ll find out:
So, you’ve decided to organise your home by decluttering it top to bottom. But where do you start? First, you need to decide which decluttering method is right for you. There are two paths you can go down, and the best one for you depends on your personality type, how much time you have to dedicate to the process, and how many things you currently own. Here’s our quick guide to finding the best decluttering method for you.
The first and most extreme form of decluttering is the ‘everything at once’ method. This simply involves collecting every single one of the possessions in your home together at once and sorting through them in one go.
In practice, there are a number of ways you can do this. The first is to literally make a pile of all of your items, but that isn’t particularly practical for most people. A more convenient method is to mark a weekend on your calendar where you’ll go through every room in your home one after the other, considering every single item in each and whether or not you still need it in your life.
One very effective take on the ‘everything at once’ method can be throwing a ‘packing party’. This process, which was popularised by Ryan Nicodemus in a blog post on The Minimalists blog, involves packing up everything you own into cardboard boxes as if you were moving home. You then live your life as usual, unpacking items as and when you need them. After a specified amount of time — Nicodemus gave himself three weeks, although you might be more comfortable with a longer timeframe — you get rid of everything still left in the boxes. The amount of things you end up getting rid of can often be incredibly surprising.
The second and more common way of decluttering a home is the ‘bit by bit’ method espoused by Marie Kondo, among others. Rather than tackling every item you own in one go, this involves cutting back on your clutter gradually, often over a period of months.
With this method, you pick a manageable space — a drawer, a shelf, a desk — and declutter only that. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, especially if you’re a natural hoarder and decluttering is totally new to you. Breaking your clutter down like this can help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and giving up.
A popular twist on this method is the ‘one item a day’ method. This involves getting rid of a single possession every day for an entire year, leaving you with significantly less stuff twelve months later. Of course, there’s no need to restrict yourself to one item a day, but this rule keeps minimalism at the forefront of your mind and helps prevent you from slipping back into the old habits that result in a cluttered and untidy home in the first place.
No matter which method you choose when starting off on your journey to home organisation, the act of decluttering is always the same. While you could just walk through your home throwing things out as you go, we would strongly recommend you be a bit more organised about the process. Here’s the best way to declutter your home:
The process of decluttering is a simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s not unusual to get emotionally attached to your possessions, making it hard to get rid of them even if you know you no longer need them. If you’re new to the process, start with an ‘easy’ area — perhaps somewhere that contains a number of items you’ve been meaning to get round to disposing of for some time, or somewhere that contains very few items you’re likely to be emotionally attached to, such as a toiletries cabinet or a cleaning cupboard.
While you can deal with your clutter however you want, here are a few principles you should stick to if you want the process to make as a big an impact on your life as possible:
Decluttering your home can often take a weight off your shoulders, making your living space a more pleasant place to be and helping you find things when you need them. However, old habits die hard, and if you’ve spent a lifetime accumulating clutter and living in an untidy home, you may find clutter beginning to take over your house again after as little as a few weeks.
However, there are few easy steps you can take to maintain a clean and tidy home and prevent clutter from building up again. Firstly, if you enjoy living in an uncluttered house, you should take the minimalist mindset with you while you shop, as you’ll defeat the object of decluttering in the first place if you immediately go out and replace the items you’ve thrown away with new ones.
Everyone has their own ‘sweet spot’ when it comes to minimalism, so don’t feel the need to deprive yourself of items you really want in the name of home organisation. However, consider every item that you go to buy carefully: do you actually need it? Do you already own something that could do the job just as well? Do you have the space for it?
Alongside cutting down the amount of things that you purchase, the other way to maintain a decluttered home is with a practical home organisation system. Use the process of decluttering as a chance to consider if you’re making the best use of your available space, and think about clever storage solutions when you’re finding a new home for your possessions. This way, you’ll not only be cutting down on the amount of things you have to store, but also be storing them in a more efficient way, saving you even more space.
Here are some clever storage solutions to help you make the most of every room in the house and make it as easy as possible to keep your living space clean and tidy with the minimum of effort.
The living room offers ample storage opportunities that few people fully utilise. If you have the space for them, bookcases can make a great storage solution — not just for your paperbacks, but also for any ornaments and photographs you want to display.
If you have an ottoman, it makes a great place to store everyday items you need frequent access to such as throws, remote controls, and DVDs or video games that you’ve chosen to keep. A coffee table is another great extra storage solution, especially if you get a unit with pull-out drawers or space for baskets. Purchasing the largest TV unit your living room will accommodate is another great way to get more storage out of the space, especially if you choose one with drawer space to keep your items hidden.
Lastly, if there is a gap underneath your sofas, consider utilising it with some underbed storage boxes. Of course, your living room needs to be stylish first and foremost, so make sure that you choose a box that can’t be seen until it’s pulled out from underneath the chair. Furthermore, if you’re looking for any storage solutions that are going to be on show, choose something easy on the eye such as a rattan basket.
While decluttering, you might have come across a number of items that you’re sentimentally attached to and don’t want to get rid of. As the heart of your home and the space where you’ll entertain guests, your living room is a great place to display them — much better than having them hidden away in the attic.
While you may have significantly reduced the amount of clothes you own during your declutter, they can still take up the majority of your bedroom space. Here are some clever storage solutions to help you fit the most items into your bedroom without compromising on style.
If you have the space, a blanket box at the bottom of your bed can give you ample room to store your spare bedding and an off-season duvet. You can also purchase a headboard with inbuilt storage, giving you even more storage space. Underbed storage boxes will also utilise the space underneath your bed as well as possible.
Fitted wardrobes will make the absolute most of your available space, as they’ll be custom made to your room’s dimensions. If you have the money, they can be a great investment. However, you may be lucky enough to have a space that fits a pre-made wardrobe unit perfectly, so make sure you shop around before you opt for the more expensive option.
If you have a large collection of shoes, shoe storage boxes can really come in handy, while a bookcase with glass doors can make an attractive and practical display feature of them if you have the space. Jewellery storage boxes are also great for keeping dressing tables tidy, and preventing items from getting lost or damaged.
For many people, the kitchen can be the hardest room to declutter due to many kitchen appliances being big and bulky. This makes intelligent storage even more important in this room.
While you may have been able to clear a lot of your utensils and kitchen accessories out during your declutter, you may not have been able to get rid of as much food. Check out our food storage tips for ideas on how you could be doing this more efficiently.
An easy and affordable way to instantly make your kitchen more organised is to transfer dry ingredients such as pasta and rice into labelled plastic food storage boxes. You’ll then be able find the ingredients you need at a glance, and you’ll always know when you’re running low on each item. They can also be stacked to get the best use out of the space you have available. Plastic cereal containers are also great for storing pet food as well as cereals, and you’ll be able to see when you need to stock up.
Another great way to save space in your kitchen is by utilising your wall space. A floating shelf makes a great place to store your cook books, and adding hooks to the bottom will give you somewhere to store mugs so they’re always to hand. A wall-mounted spice rack will save you much-needed cupboard space, and a magnetic knife rack will remove the need for a knife block taking up counter space.
An area many people don’t consider when they’re looking for storage solutions is the inside of their cupboard doors. Attach hooks there for a great space to hang utensils, or use a magazine rack for storing your foil and cling film.
If your kitchen features corner cupboards, fitting them with pull-out shelves is the best way to utilise the space — this is a great place to store your pots and pans.
You’ll no doubt have cut down the mess in your bathroom during your declutter, but storage space can still be at a premium in the bathroom, as it’s rarely one of the larger rooms in a house. It’s therefore important to be as clever as you can about the storage in this area of your home.
If you’ve any wall space, make use of it with wall-mounted cabinets. Consider replacing your bathroom mirror with a mirrored cabinet for even more storage space.
If your bathroom has the space to accommodate it, a freestanding storage unit can often include enough space to contain all of your toiletries and spare towels. For smaller spaces, consider more compact bathroom storage drawers.
Improve the storage options in your bathroom by picking up a set of bathroom storage drawers from our store.
While you may have wholeheartedly embraced the tenants of minimalism and disposed of the majority of your possessions, it isn’t fair on your kids to enforce the same on them if they don’t want that. Children’s bedrooms are therefore likely to be the most cluttered in your house, making home organisation even more crucial in these rooms.
If you have young children, the trick to keeping their rooms organised is with lots of well-labelled storage boxes. Get a set of clear plastic boxes so it’s easy for your child to find the toy they’re looking for.
Another great storage solution for young children is using plastic drawers to organise their Lego bricks by colour. Stuffed animals can also be stored in the corner in an ‘animal zoo’ that retains their favourite toys with bungee cord, making them easy for your child to access. For older kids with lots of video games, a DVD storage box can help keep them tidy.
As space may be at a premium in your children’s rooms, you should make sure to use up every available inch of space. Hanging storage on the back of the door will give you quite a bit more room for toys, while displaying your kid’s favourite and most used toys around the room will keep them to hand for when your child needs them.
When organising your children’s rooms, make sure as many of their toys are within easy reach for them as possible so they don’t always need your help to get them. Furthermore, avoid putting large and heavy items on shelves that are in your children’s grasp, as they could hurt or injure themselves trying to reach them.
If you fully utilise the space in an attic or a garage, it can add loads of extra storage space to your home. As you won’t have to worry about aesthetics in these spaces as you do in the main rooms of your home, you have a lot of scope to use the available room in the most practical way possible.
As you’re unlikely to have any furniture or windows taking up wall space in an attic or garage, you can afford to line all of the available space with shelving or free-standing storage units. This will significantly increase your storage options for items you only need every so often.
As attics and garages are prone to damp, it’s a good idea to protect the items you store in them by placing them in plastic storage boxes. They can be stacked and therefore utilise the available space in the most efficient way possible, and they’re durable enough to last you for years. Get clear boxes so you can find what you’re looking for at a glance, and group related boxes together to make it as easy as possible to find what you’re looking for when the time comes. You can view our full range of transparent plastic storage boxes here.
Keep these tips in mind when you come to declutter your home and you’ll not only get as much as possible from the process, but also find it as simple to maintain a tidy and organised living space long into the future.
If you’ve any questions about organising your home or any of the products in our range, get in touch with a member of our team today.