Decluttering (without getting Overwhelmed!)

Decluttering (without getting Overwhelmed!)

, by Maeve Reidy, 8 min reading time

Moving house can offer you an opportunity to declutter your home and start afresh in a new abode, surrounded by the things you love and nothing more. We understand this can be a really tough process, but we have some great tips to help you...

Moving house offers you an opportunity to declutter your home and start afresh in a new abode, surrounded by the things you love and nothing more.

Decluttering can also help you save money when you move, because you’re not paying to move or store things you no longer need.

And even if you're not moving house, decluttering stuff can be HUGELY beneficial ... not only for increasing the space you currently have, but also for your mental health by clearing your mind too (yes really!)

However, decluttering a home where you’ve collected a lifetime of memories (and stuff!) can be absolutely overwhelming. Where on earth do you start? How can you possibly get rid of so much clutter all at once? You may look around you and feel so overwhelmed with the enormity of the task that you cannot get started and keep putting it off. Then before you know it, it’s time to pack house and you find yourself shoving everything into packing boxes anyway!

We understand this can be a really tough process, but we have some great tips to help you.

You can do this!

Time ...

It doesn't matter if you're decluttering cos you're moving house, or whether you're decluttering cos your current home feels squished ... you need plenty of time to do it! Try to leave yourself ample time to declutter before you start packing to move. It is better to declutter a little bit at a time, over a longer period, than to attempt it all at once ... and have no energy left for your move. In an ideal world, give yourself 4-6 weeks before Moving Day. During this time, DO NOT BUY anything new, UNLESS it will be required immediately in your new house! Same goes if you're just decluttering your existing space - declutter and then you'll have a chance to get comfortable with your new space before you start filling it up again!

Don't Move - Remove!

Decluttering is not decluttering if you just move the clutter from one space to another. You need to get that clutter out of the house as soon as possible. For the duration of your decluttering period, have three bins or boxes set up:

  • Rubbish / Recycling
  • Donation
  • Keep

Check with your local council as to what can be recycled if you're not sure. Move items for recycling or donating to your car every day, and make regular trips to get rid of things as soon as possible. You might also consider hiring a skip for larger clean-ups.

For items you’ll keep, consider whether they can be put in packing boxes immediately. For example, you can declutter and pack out-of-season clothes, games & toys, extra linen, etc. Have packing supplies on hand right from the start of your declutter, to make packing up for Moving House that little bit easier.

Where to Start?

How do you take that first step when you’re overwhelmed?

In the case of decluttering, half-done is better than nothing done, so don’t aim for a perfectly complete job. If you get there, great! Moreover, you don’t have to work methodically or in any particular order. The most important thing is simply to start – it doesn’t matter where or how much you get done ... any and all progress is helpful!

To get going, consider these approaches:

  1. Start small with decluttering

Set yourself small, manageable goals, such as one shelf or one drawer at a time. You can even set a timer for, say, 20 mins a day. By only tackling bite-sized chunks, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and more inclined to start. Once you see your progress, you’ll be more likely to keep going.

  1. Start with the area that irritates you the most

It might be a countertop where everything gets dumped, or a drawer full of cables; but tackle the thing that is driving you nuts to look at. Once it’s cleared and organised, you’ll feel so much better and able to think about your next step. Oh, and be brutal – if it’s been shoved in a drawer for any length of time, chances are you can throw it out!

  1. Start with these quick wins
  • Wardrobes – pull everything out and discard anything that doesn’t currently fit (Yes, you only need to lose one dress size for it to fit, but have you?!), needs mending, or hasn’t been worn for 12 months. For kid’s clothes, only keep clothes in current and next sizes up.
  • Bathroom – empty makeup, toiletries and medicines out and throw away anything out of date, mostly used up or that you haven’t used in the past six months.
  • Kitchen – get rid of any containers without matching lids; appliances, crockery or utensils that haven’t been used in the past month; expired food. Try to prepare meals using up what’s already in the cupboards.
  • Gadgets – Place cables and chargers with their appliances and discard anything left over, including any gadgets no longer in use. This includes old modems, phones, computers, etc.

A Problem Shared ...

... is a problem halved!

If the thoughts of decluttering on your own is a step too far, consider recruiting the help of trusted friends. A word of caution, though. This really only works if you have a close friendship that you trust with your deepest, darkest, messiest secrets! Also, it will only work if your friend is prepared to be objective, and you can take their objective advice! Otherwise, it could end up as an ex-friendship! There is absolutely no point in enlisting the help of a friend who, when you come to your ancient raggedy, careworn childhood teddy bear, insists it should be binned - and you end up inconsolably weeping into your pillow over the loss for the next seven months! Choose a friend who understands you (if you're friends, they probably do already!) and be prepared to deepen your friendship as they help you declutter!

On the other hand, minimalism is a big thing these days. And there is a lot less stigma attached to issues of mental health (the need to keep clutter can be a symptom!) So you may be able to find professional organisers and declutter-ers to help you, if you are struggling.

Re-Clutter Time!!!

Moving house provides a great opportunity to remove the clutter in your life and enjoy living in a more relaxed, and appealing environment. But even decluttering in the home you have can give you a feeling of having moved into a spacious new place!

So, after all that hard work– don’t re-build the clutter! Become more conscious in your future purchases. If you feel the need to acquire something, make it a rule to wait a week and re-consider if you still feel it’s needed. If you’re about to make a spontaneous purchase while out shopping, stop and think: ‘if I buy this, where will it go?’. If you cannot think of a perfect place for it right away, don’t buy it!

Finally, if you do make a purchase, think about the ‘one in one out’ rule – for everything you bring in, is there something you can now let go of?

Happy decluttering, and enjoy your fresh new living space!


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