Tips For Decluttering Your Home

1.  Plan
Before tackling each area get yourself 4 boxes.  Label one 'Keep', one 'Donate', one 'Sell' and one 'Throw'.  Every item you sort out must be allocated to one box and don't second guess yourself once you have made a decision. 

2. Break tasks down in to small chunks
Rather than deciding to tackle your whole house or even a whole room look for small areas that you can work on for a given period.  For example, start with a drawer or or shelf and work through each item in that area allocating it to one of your four boxes.  Don't let yourself get distracted by other areas of the room or house, focus on just that one area. 

3.  Be patient
Getting frustrated with yourself and the speed you are making progress will just leave you feeling stressed and demotivated.  The clutter hasn't built up in one hour, one day or even one week so you can't expect to have cleared it in that time.  If you work in small chunks you will make progress and it won't be long before you start to see some benefits.

4.  Be Ruthless
Have you used or looked at an item for over a year?  If not then you probably don't need it and it can either be thrown out, sold or donated. 

5. Take regular breaks
Ploughing on till you exhaust yourself is not a good idea.  Set yourself a time when you are going to stop and take a break.  If you think you will lose track of time use a timer or set an alarm.  If you don't have one you can use this helpful online timer.

6.  Reward yourself
This doesn't need to be anything big or fancy but rewarding yourself will help keep you motivated.  It can be something simple like a cup of tea or snack, watching a favourite t.v. show, treating yourself to a takeaway or having a nice long soak in the bath. 

7.  Get help
If you are struggling to tackle a task ask a friend or family member to help you.  Decluttering can be emotional, especially if you have put it off for a long time or the items you are sorting through have memories attached to them.  Strange as it may seem, we can grow attached to these items and letting them go can be a form of grieving.  Even if the items seem worthless to others there was a reason you hung onto them for so long so be kind to yourself.  Sometimes donating these items to a charity helps.  It feels less brutal than throwing them out, it's better for the environment and it is giving them the opportunity of a new life and it helping raise money for a worthwhile cause.  Items like clothing are also often accepted by places like night shelters and psychiatric units.  Ring ahead before dropping anything off as they are often limited by storage space. Toys and games could be donated to a local toy library.  Books can go to your local books for free store.  Old stationery and arts and craft materials can be donated to your local scrap store.

8.   Give every item you have decided to keep a home
If everything has a home it is more likely to be returned to that place in future and it will be easier to keep your newly organised home tidy.  Group like items together and keep items that get used frequently close to hand.  Items that get used less often can be stored out of sight. 

 

Learn more about Essential Life Skills by visiting www.essentiallifeskills.org

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