Are you stufficating – drowning in ‘stuff’– in your home? Do you run for the hills at the thought of decluttering? Organising doesn’t have to be a dreaded task, in fact, it will likely be one of the most rewarding things you have done for yourself this year!
Words: Donna Donaldson – Professional Organiser & Image Consultant
After years of being a clutter bug, I made the decision to change my habits, and turn my home into a tranquil, organised space. I even made a career out of it. I now find more enjoyment and enthusiasm in getting rid of unnecessary stuff, than I used to in accumulating it! So, now it’s your turn to create the space you want for the New Year. With these decluttering tips, you too can transform your space from chaotic to calm.
Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire. ― Wendell Berry, Farming: a hand book.
Keep what you love, use and need
Are you programmed to keep stuff because of unrealistic, emotionally-loaded reasons like:
- “It cost me a lot of money.”
- “It was a special gift given to me by my Mum.”
- “I might need it one day.”
Instead, try asking yourself these questions when deciding what stays, and what goes:
- “Do I really love it?”
- “Do I ever use it?”
- “Do I actually need it?”
It’s not about “the stuff” but what sort of space you want to create in your life.
One in one out rule
To help get on top of having too much stuff, start with the “One in One Out Rule”. Every time you think about bringing something into your home, think about what you are prepared to get rid of to make room for the new item. This way, you aren’t stockpiling, rather replacing or upgrading.
Finish what you start
One of the quickest ways to clutter up your home is to start multiple jobs and not finish them. Do you have baskets or piles of stuff lying around your home – laundry, documents, photos? Try to schedule starting your jobs to allow you enough time to finish them. If you’re going to do the laundry, make sure you allow enough time to wash, dry, and most importantly time to put it away.
Like items together
Are you guilty of buying multiple items you regularly need, but can’t find, like potato peelers, scissors, tweezers, sticky tape, black t-shirts? Always put your like items together so it’s easy to find what you are looking for. Why not create a stationery draw? This reduces the need to buy multiples, and saves on space and money.
Maximise Prime Real Estate
Imagine having everything that you need in your home at your fingertips and your cupboards all in order. It really not that hard to achieve! Start by working out what is the Prime Real Estate in your kitchen cupboards – these are the areas that are easiest for you to access. Put the things you need and use the most together in your Prime Real Estate and the things you use the least in the harder to get at places.
Set up preparation areas as Work Stations
Are you frustrated with going from one end of the house to the other to find all of the things you need to complete one task? By having Work Stations, you can simplify the process, reduce stress, and save time. Have a preparation station with everything you need in one area. An easy one to start with is a tea and coffee station, to make mornings less of a stress by having all the main items you use together.
Three clutter monsters: Clothes, Papers, Toys
Kill the monster while it’s small. It is the best cure for taming the worst offenders. Small tasks can bring great satisfaction, not to mention reduce your workload. Start with cleaning out your hand bag, or a draw. I find that filing papers on a horizontal surface only invites an invasion of a whole family of papers, resulting in paper piles. For the kids,create a designated play area where the toys are sorted into like items. Putting toys into containers makes it easy for the kids to put them back.
HINT: If you need someone to help out with decluttering your space, avoid asking friends or family. These people can share the same emotional attachments to your stuff and make it harder to shift it out. Head to provoke.com.au to find out how Donna can help you get started.
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