- Start with the easy wins
No matter how large or small your house is, I can guarantee you have a Monica cupboard or drawer that is home to every odd item around the house that doesn’t have a fixed home.
To start simplifying your home, tackle these areas first. You will feel the instant benefit from decluttering your spaces, and will be motivated to continue on around the house.
- Get a bin bag or two, and start by getting rid of everything that you haven’t used in over a year. Recycle or rehome, but make sure it goes.
- When you have finished, put everything back in an organised fashion.
- Revisit the site in a months’ time. You might find that after four weeks of living a simpler life, you have a different outlook on what you perceive as necessary to have in the home.
- Three box rule
Go around your whole house one afternoon with three boxes, one for recycling, one for binning and one for rehoming or charity stores.
- Look at each room from the doorway. Think carefully about what it has in there, and what is actually needed.
- Open up the drawers, remove the clutter.
- Tackle the kitchen, I mean do you really need that souvenir bowl that you purchased five years ago that’s taking up valuable kitchen space?
- Think honestly about what you want from each room. Do you need to display all your books that might never be read again, or can you pass them on to friends and family members who will enjoy reading them?
- If you haven’t used it in a year, and it isn’t sentimental, think twice about keeping it.
- Cable chaos
I used to be the worst for keeping so many cables, chargers and adapters ‘just in case’. I had a wicker basket for them that I kept in a cupboard under the television.
The reality was though, I would get out this basket once a month, and I would rummage through it all looking for an adapter I needed to find it wasn’t there. I came to realise that if I actually used the device regularly, the charger and cable would probably be with it and plugged in around my home, rather than hidden away in a basket of cables for later use.
Think honestly about whether you need those four Blackberry phones you’ve been keeping ‘in case yours breaks’. You can donate them to a local charity for people who really do need a mobile phone, and reduce your clutter at the same time.
Do away with the cable chaos, and you will never think back to it again.
- Less Excess
This is an easy task to do, as you can separate it into areas to tackle each week or month depending on how motivated you are feeling.
Try to reduce the excess in your home and you will feel you have so much more space, that your life is less cluttered, and that you slowly come to realise how little you need to live happily on a daily basis.
In turn, this will free up your purse strings and time to allow you to do the things that will actually make you happy and stress free.
Areas where you probably have excess:
- Towels – think seriously about how many you need (including if you have guests) and limit yourself to this. I have just six towels (three body, two hand and one face), and it is always more than enough.
- Bedding – One on and one spare per bed. I know people who have cupboards full of duvet covers and pillow cases, when really it just isn’t needed. If you also try to buy neutral, you will be able to keep them no matter what room you use them in. Assess your bedding situation today, and give yourself even more cupboard space.
- Cups and Mugs – I am certain most households have excess drinkware, get space savvy today and get rid of those chipped, novelty or space hogging mugs!
- Pens – I mean, a handful should be enough. Plus if you put them in the same space, you won’t lose them as regularly.
- Old magazines – If you haven’t reread them regularly, recycle them.
- Books and DVD’s – If you probably are not going to read or watch them again, get rid. Especially if you have a Netflix or NowTV subscription.
- So many samples
Look around your bathroom and bedroom drawers. Do you have lots of little lotions, potions and pots of free samples that you have collected from hotel stays, magazines and event nights over the years?
Think about how often you actually use or benefit from these little additions. If the answer is not very often, then start removing them, and stop collecting them when you go away.
Then move on to the bigger items. We often have way more bathroom, beauty and hair products than we actually use. Be a little tough with yourself and keep the items you use regularly. You will soon find that you don’t even think about the ones you got rid of if they are not in eyesight.
- Straight to the recycling
Do you ever get a flyer through the door for a local takeaway to pop it in a draw and then only ever look for menus online? Me too.
I would then find that the drawers in my welsh dresser were overflowing with local magazines, pizza menus and flyers for events that I might want to attend.
I made a resolution to spend an extra minute a day sorting through the post when I got home, and instantly recycling anything that I didn’t have to action or deal with. If I really did want to keep a flyer, I pinned it on my notice board. When that got full, I had to address the board and ensure everything on there was actually useful.
Filter your mail before you cross into the house, and this way you will have filtered your home at the same time.
- Clear those counters
A kitchen is often the hub of a home, and as a result it quickly becomes one of the most cluttered places.
Look around at your surfaces, and decide if everything that is out, actually needs to be on display. It takes just a minute to take out a toaster and plug it in, and yet it takes up so much space.
We often feel that we need to display our favourite items to feel happier in our homes, but the reality is we tend to feel happier when things are simpler. Try to declutter even a little today, and see how you feel in a week.
- Whittle down that wardrobe
Instantly go to your wardrobe and bin ten items that you no longer want or need. If you can do this easily, you probably have too many clothes that you no longer use.
The items that you are keeping in case you grow into or fit back into, take them to a charity store. Start loving the body you are in, and making small steps towards a healthy weight goal instead of setting yourself clothing targets. The size doesn’t matter, it’s how you feel inside that does.
Each day, remove something else. If you haven’t worn it in a year – it has got to go.
Going forward, start buying clothes you love rather than throwaway trend items. If you invest in a good pair of jeans, they will actually save you money in the long run, and make you look great at the same time!
I now have one small suitcase of clothes and one rail of dresses. I still feel it is probably a little excessive considering how often I wear some of the items, but it is a long way from what it was.
- Take back your surfaces
Go into your living room or bedroom and assess your surfaces. How full of unnecessary decorations are they? Do you have much wall space or is it all full?
Take some of the items dotted along your shelves and pop them in a box. Store this away for two months and if you think of any item and want it back out, go and get it and put it back. If you don’t think about any of them, the reality is they are just cluttering up your space.
- Remove the ‘what-ifs’
I used to be the worst for keeping things ‘just in case’. I mean I had four rolls of Sellotape in one draw. What did I think was going to happen? A mass present wrapping evening whereby I would need all of them at once?
I also had three vegetable peelers, ribbons, jars and so many old pairs of ‘decorating trousers’. I could have filled a wardrobe with things I kept ‘just in case’.
Since getting rid of most of them, I have actually found I don’t need them or think about them anymore. Now I buy things as and when I need them, and it has saved so much space and money.
Try and remove some of your ‘what if’ items today, and see if you actually ever needed them again!