De-cluttering your home is surprisingly therapeutic and gives you the chance to claim back much-needed space and even undertake a home makeover. Think of how different your house would be if you could remove even 25 per cent of the clutter?
Most of us suffer from clutter blindness syndrome. This is when we get so used to the clutter around the house that we no longer notice it. For example, we all have a cupboard or a space in our house that is full of insignificant items such as tinsel from 2004, shoes that you’ll never wear again, phone boxes and chargers that are no longer used or last year’s voucher book. This is called clutter and it’s time to let it go. Follow these five tips on how to declutter your life.
1. Start small
Plan which room you will tackle first and give yourself a five-minute task in that room on the first day. For example, you could start off with a bookshelf in your bedroom. Sort through all the books and decide which you would like to keep and which you would like to give away. This could be a good time to arrange a book swap with friends or, better still, donate the books you no longer want to House of Prose in Jumeirah Plaza. On day two, give yourself another five-minute task, and so on.
2. Change your perspective
Stand in the centre of a room in your house and look at each spot in turn. Let’s begin in the kitchen: start with a corner and look at the work surfaces in that corner. What is residing on that work surface that does not really belong? Cereal? Knife holder? Pots of vitamins? Microwave? What is and what isn’t essential out of these items? Imagine you were inviting people over for dinner and you were looking at that particular area through their eyes. How would they see it? Better still, invite your friends over to tell you honestly what they think is unnecessary clutter. Or, for a completely different perspective, invite a toddler to your house; tiny tots have an amazing ability to discover anything that isn’t put away.
3. Cut the emotion and beat the clutter
Sentimental hoarders have a tough time with decluttering. When you attach emotion to an object, you’re never going to throw it away. With the exception of family heirlooms or antiques, you need to seriously assess how important it is for you to keep that hat from the 2001 New Year’s Eve party! Keep the end goal in mind and acknowledge your emotions towards objects. Ask yourself, “How does keeping this [object] enhance my life? What does it really mean to me?”
If we’re honest, most of us wear 20 per cent of our clothes 80 per cent of the time. If you’re smiling and nodding at this statistic, then you need to do the “Oprah Winfrey Closet Hanger Experiment”. This is when you hang all your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction. Then, for the next six months, whenever you wear an article of clothing and hang it back in the closet, turn the hanger the correct way. If after six months you have clothes hanging back to front you need to either get rid of it or donate it. You need to be ruthless with clothes; think of what you’re gaining (space and new clothes even!), rather than what you’re losing. Alternatively, if you’re not ready to completely get rid of an item of clothing, put it in another cupboard or somewhere you can’t see it and, if in another six months you’ve completely forgotten about it, get rid of it.
5. The Four Pile Rule
This is a technique that you can carry across all of the things in your home. Each item in every room should be placed into one of four categories: Throw It, Donate It, Sell It or Keep It. You can make four labelled piles if you prefer (advisable when dealing with drawers/clothes) but nothing should be missed out. Each item must be considered individually. If you find that your Keep It pile is the largest, then go through it again. If you have large items such as motorcycle equipment or ski suit for example, then consider renting a small storage space to keep it in. This is a time to be ruthless and reclaim back your home. Be strict, stick to your plan and stay committed to your goal.
Less clutter means less to clean and less to organise. It simplifies your home and your life and gives you the freedom to reinvent your home. It’s time to minimise.