Easy Home Decluttering Tips
, by Maeve Reidy, 7 min reading time
, by Maeve Reidy, 7 min reading time
Hurray! The clocks have gone forward! And you can emerge, eyes blinking in the unaccustomed sunlight, from your hibernation!
You’ve happily ignored the state of the house all through the winter. But now the sun is shining (or will be!) through the windows … and you realise the house needs a bit of, um, reorganising and (oh the horror!) cleaning and decluttering. And it's quite often really difficult to find the motivation to keep a clean and organised home. Oh, and let’s add in the home-working area/growing pile of bits of paperwork that we’ve had to incorporate into our homes too!
One thing that could be getting in the way, and hindering our motivation and productivity is household clutter. It is pretty well known, and there are a number of studies showing that clutter can have a negative impact on our mental health, and leave us distracted and overwhelmed. When our environment is cluttered, this chaos can restrict our ability to focus, and can limit our brain’s ability to process information.
Tackling small decluttering tasks each week can help up to feel calmer and more in control in these uncertain times. I am the first to admit that I struggle with clutter. But there are some easy ways to start clearing all that built-up clutter that can take less than ten minutes to complete …
So yes, I’m the first to admit I struggle with clutter. And I’ve had my struggles with my mental health. I doubt that one caused the other, but in the last couple of months (since September, I think?) I’ve made a real effort to sort through all the clutter … and my mental health has improved considerably!
There are lots on Guides/You-Tubes out there on how to clear clutter and have a calm, inviting, clutter-free home. But to be honest, when your Anxiety is constantly through the roof, and you’re so depressed that managing to brush your teeth counts as a “good day”, it can be sooo daunting to decide where to start. So start small! Every small little action builds into something bigger!
For some reason, there is an unwritten rule that every household in the country has a stash of lonely socks missing their other half. Your mother did, your granny probably did too. I don’t know why they don’t teach this at school in Home Ec. class, along with proper useful advice about what to do (doing yet another load of washing and hoping the errant socks will reappear rarely works!) And unless you enjoy wearing just one sock or completely mismatched pairs of socks (in which case I salute your Style Icon Status and suggest you skip this part!) It’s time to grab a bin bag and get rid of that sad tragic sock pile once and for all! If you’re feeling overwhelmed about getting rid of them all, you might decide to keep some of the heavier thicker socks and use them as dusters … but first, ask your Mum/Gran how this worked for them! Chances are this approach didn’t really work either. So the best place is to put them in the bin!
Bonus Decluttering Tip: If you’ve managed to do this, perhaps you could consider looking at your sock drawer while you’re in this great frame of mind?! There’s a good chance there are pairs of socks with holes, threadbare heels, or plain uncomfortable socks in there. The bonus? You’ll clear plenty of space to go and buy some new fancy socks! Win-Win!
Paper clutter is easily the biggest clutter-maker but can be easy to get under control. Just start small! Grab your wallet or purse and clear out old receipts, old loyalty cards etc.
Junk mail is called “Junk Mail” for a reason! I’ve trained myself to go outside to my postbox, and stop for a moment at my green bin to get rid of it before it even enters my house.
Bonus Decluttering Tip: Most of us have “A Spot” where all the papers/paperwork goes. Sometimes it’s the hall table. Sometimes it’s a drawer. Wherever it is (and accept you may have more than one Spot!) take a moment to go through it and get rid of whatever junk mail is there. It is perfectly ok if you don’t feel able to set up a whole paperwork filing system. But a simple 2-pile system of “to be done” and “done” can also help you keep on top of any unpaid bills. Even if you don’t feel able to do this at the moment, the fact that you’ve got rid of all the junk mail/old newspapers/old magazines will make your space feel instantly calmer.
We all have them! A collection of dried out pens scattered on desks or countertops or junk drawers that are taking up space! And more often than not, you’ll pick up 10 in a row … and they’re all dead with no ability to write at all … and chances are you’ll put the pens back exactly where they were! STOP!
Broken useless items can be the most irritating form of clutter. Time to get rid of it RIGHT NOW! Set a timer for 10 minutes, put on some feel-good music and see how many pens you can collect around the house in those 10 minutes. Check desks, drawers, and common areas like the living room and kitchen. Sit down, check to see if they work, and if they don’t, bin them! Gather up any remaining working pens and put them in a container. That way they’re all in one place. and it will save you time and hassle when you need to sign something quickly in the future!
Believe it or not, old towels and bedlinen is another common form of clutter. We’ve all been there. You open the hot press or the linen cupboard, and there’s inevitably an avalanche! You’ll probably have old towels and bedsheets that are worn, stained … and that you’d never allow guests to see, never mind use! So why are you holding on to them for yourself and your family? Don’t you deserve to treat yourself as well as you’d treat a guest?
Towels and bedlinen can take up a HUGE amount of physical space, so it’s likely you’ll see an immediate benefit by getting rid of everything that is threadbare and worn. Don’t feel able to put them in the bin? A lot of vets and dog shelters will accept worn towels and bedlinen for the animals in their care. But check first before landing on their doorstep with a stuffed carload!
This task may take a little longer than 10 minutes, but you could break it up into smaller chunks by, say, just tackling the towels; and eventually working your way through the duvet covers, pillowcases, blankets etc.
I totally get what it’s like to live with clutter. And how it often doesn’t appear overnight but instead seems to “breed” over time. And how easy it is not to notice it as it grows and grows around you!
One of the things that makes You be You, is that You are You. So if you’re not the type of person that gets up at 5am to wash the grout of the kitchen floor tiles, that’s perfectly ok! Those that know you, and love you, want to know you and love you precisely because You are You!
These tips are provided in case you’d like to declutter; or you need to declutter, but are floundering over where to start. You are not in any way trying to create a “New Show Home in 24 Hours” like some of those programmes you see on TV! But by doing small manageable tasks, you’ll find your environment (and your mood/mental health!) improve right before your eyes!
And once you have your clutter under control, you may feel able to follow a simple daily routine to keep your home clean, inviting and (relatively!) clutter-free!
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