Feb 8, 2016

How to Declutter Your Home

So, is this one of the most annoying songs of all time or what?

Not so much an earworm as a couple of hundred kilos of the very finest TNT primed and ready to go off inside the brain.

Tinnitus with a semblance of rhythm.

And yet, and yet...I can’t help but find myself agreeing with the sentiments expressed.

“Let it go”.

I mean, let’s face it. The girl is decluttering. Listen, if you can bear it, to the lyrics.

Let it go. Let it go.

Get rid of all those knick knacks you don’t want.

All the stuff gathering dust on bookshelves, in cupboards, up in the loft.

The unwanted Christmas presents, the clothes you never wear, the kitchen utensils that are as pristine clean and shiny now as they were when you bought them over a decade ago.

All of your surplus goods, your excess baggage, your personal crap.

Let it go.

Let it go.

Well, it’s something like that anyway. And you know what? The girl is spot on. It’s time to let it all go.

It’s time to declutter.

Now, let’s be honest. Decluttering has become a bit of a 21st century buzzword. It’s now, it’s hip, trendy and happening. Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. Well, OK, maybe it doesn’t work that far down the tree of life. So throw that goddam tree out. And do it now. But then let’s be honest, if you are someone or aspire to be anyone at all now, then you need to declutter. But not only that. Because when you’re not decluttering, you need to be talking about it.

It’s hardly surprising that decluttering your home has become such a hot topic. Living, as we do, in a time when material wealth is both King and Queen of the social spectrum, decluttering came about as partial rejection to that concept and partial adoption of the new must have when it comes to the home.

As in space. And lots of it.

Lots of light, lots of room and space in which we can do our own thing. Space that is unhindered by clutter. It’s meditation for the home, for, as we realise that a mind free of complications and excess information, worry and stress is a healthy one (altogether now-Ommmmmmmm) we also learn to appreciate that a home that is equally free of excess can be as equally healthy and happy.

And let’s face it, even if you don’t subscribe to all things Feng Shui, it doesn’t half save on the dusting.

If you going to declutter, then this is as good a time of the year to do so as any.

Cluttered Up Room

January and February follow swiftly on the well oiled heels of Christmas and all the excess that it inevitably brings.

Excess that means more stuff in and around the house. Stuff everywhere. You can't move for stuff.

Self styled cluttering guru Marie Kondo has had it up to here with clutter. Or rather, she used to.

On Planet Tidy she is the absolute ruler.

You can sit at her feet-or, rather, buy her book and find out all you need to know about making space in your home, clearing and creating it, decluttering and reorganising its layout to a degree of perfection that  is, quite frankly frightening-although hugely impressive in its detail. The book takes you on a tidy tour of the entire home, showing how you can declutter and organise specific items throughout, from kitchen to bathroom items and everything inbetween. It even deals with the stuff that you’d rather keep, with instructions on how to effectively fold and store items in order to maximise the space they take up. This includes shirts, underwear, socks and jackets as well as anything and everything that might be hidden away in drawers and cupboards. She also advises on moving house and all the packing and unpacking which it entails.

She’s so thorough infact, you wouldn’t put it past her to tidy up and efficiently fold away teenage children and pets as well. Yes, she’s that good.

One word she uses with reference to keeping your home free of clutter is annihilate.

I’m not kidding. Try this for yourself if you’re feeling brave.

She doesn’t believe, for example, in doing things bit by bit. Taking it one cupboard at a time for example. Oh no. No no no.

One recommendation is to sweep through the entire house, from top to bottom (this is where ‘annihilate’ comes in), grabbling every item of clothing you have before making a big pile of absolutely everything in the middle of the floor.

You might be horrified at the end result.

With that being your total and utter shock at just how many clothes you’ve got. And, as you go through them one by one, you’ll stand there whilst one dominant thought keeps reoccurring in your mind.

“I never wear this...or this...or this...and what on earth was I thinking when I bought this...and as for this, I didn’t even know I had it in the first place...”

That’s probably 60% of it. Gone. Get out of my house. I mean, red trousers? Oh do come on...

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to hard core decluttering. Adopt this process for absolutely everything in your home and, well, who knows-you might end up living in a minimalist paradise that Robert Mangold would be proud to call his own.

Or should that be c l h   wn?

You see, you’re starting to get it now.

Yet you don’t need, of course, to be obsessive about decluttering your home. Not to those levels anyway.

Here are six - yes, six rather less severe ways in which you might think about going about it.

1. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Decluttering Your Home.

Seriously. Study it. Live by it. Bedtime reading. Holiday reading. Follow the rules, and get rid of the clutter. You'll be glad you did!

2. Give each room a five minute limit.

Yep, as simple as that. Go into your bedroom for example and allow yourself just five minutes to assess what’s in there, what stays and, crucially, what goes. The time limit give you clarity, time enough, yet not too much time, to really know what you don’t want to keep-and what you do want to keep.

Multi Drawer

3. A Multi drawer

We’ve all got things dotted about the house in the most unusual of places. Batteries for examples, used stamps that are being saved for charity, an assortment of loose change or similar. Well stop right now and designate one compartmentalised drawer for all of whatever it is-in this case candles-and make it your one stop shop. No more leaving them on bookshelves, kitchen worktops, in plant pots or on the edge of the bath. There’s neat. And there’s neat. And this, my friends, is neat.

4. Roll and file those shirts.

Say no more. Wave farewell to all those teetering towers of cotton that are set to tumble out of your wardrobe and all over the floor at the slightest provocation.

5. Designate a spot for all household papers.

If you were to take a walk around your home or home office now, take it from me, you’d be shocked at just how much paper there is about the place.  Well it’s time to put a stop to that. We tend to put paper down as soon as we’ve looked at it-any time, any room, any part of that room. It could be a counter, in a drawer, on a desk, on top of the wardrobe, in the wardrobe, on a bookcase or on top of the TV. So have a dedicated paper Inbox in one part of the home with the rule that ALL pieces of paper, no exceptions go in there. You’ll be surprised how even this one little idea makes a huge difference.

Crowded Bookshelf

6. Clear a shelf.

This is as easy and as straight forward as it gets. Any shelf. It might be a shelf in a cupboard, it might be an overcrowded bookshelf. Don’t think you have to do the whole bookshelf if that is the case-just do the one. Clear away all the non-essential things and leave it looking neat and clutter free. You’ll be amazed at how good an uncluttered bookshelf can look.

How does that all sound? All good? Excellent. Now that we’ve started on your decluttering, don’t worry that we might now abandon you to it all. Far from it. The next blog will examine the subject further including features on some of the items that you can get for your home that will help make it look more spacious.

Never mind believing that a man can fly. You really will believe that less is more.

And no more so than in your very own home.