How To Declutter Your Home in 5 Practical Steps.
Raise your hand if you're a serial Declutterer. I AM! It's another one of those random therapeutic things I do. Even as a child, I remember often giving away my clothes and shoes. My mother would return from a trip and I would have given away a dress or pair of shoes she so lovingly bought for me. I'm so sorry, mama! *covers face*
Many years later, I'm now married to a man who is even more deliberate about clearing out than I am so you can imagine what we're like together. We actually derive pleasure from cleaning the house together. Who says date night/day has to be in a restaurant? Hah! We live a pretty minimalist lifestyle already but one of our 2017 goals is to be more intentional about it. I will tell you more about that in a future post. We spent the last week doing our first declutter of the year so I thought to share our process with anyone interested in making space and possibly putting a bit of cash in the purse as a bonus. I don't know anyone who would say no to extra cash especially post Christmas-shopping-craze. This is a room by room approach that you can complete in an hour, 5 hours or over 5 days depending on how motivated you are and how much stuff you own. So let's start with:
1. THE BATHROOM FLUSH-OUT.
See what I did there? Ahhh! The bathroom cabinets are usually a good place to start. It's easy to see what's cluttering the space. Empty bath and beauty product bottles, pill packets and containers, old toothbrushes, full waste bin etc. If you are a product junkie (hey afro natural hair sister! I'm talking to you), consider doing away with some of those products. You may not have even opened some of them. Why not give them away or for that extra cash I talked about, sell them! Nobody needs four different shampoos, conditioners, body washes or deodorants. Come on now, I'm sure you can afford to let go of some things!
2. The Closet Clean-Out.
Start with those cute Christmas jumpers and hats! The likelihood that you'll wear them again next festive season is small. The children (if you have any) definitely won't! If you're a mum like me there are some clothes in your closet that you probably won't wear again for various reasons. For example, I breastfeed so anything in my closet that I can't nurse in is just taking up space and needs to go. So comb through your closet and donate some of those items to a charity shop or put them in a charity bin. Every now and then, I get charity collection bags through the mail with specific pick up dates and I use those as an opportunity to declutter. You may also have valuable yet underused clothes, shoes or bags, why not consider listing them for sale? I wouldn't think twice.
3. WHITTLE DOWN THE TOYS.
This is low-key my favourite step because I really don't like having too many toys in the house. I have found that with young kids it's useful to do toy decluttering often for two reasons. The first is that they grow fast and their needs and tastes constantly change. What's the point keeping a baby rattle when your child is 18 months old? You may say you're keeping it for your next child but I can tell you from experience that unless it's some kind of heirloom or highly valuable item, your next child will probably not use it therefore you can afford to let it go. The second reason is that they break and lose things all the time. Makes no sense to keep a puzzle with half the pieces missing (unless you want to repurpose them for something else, in which case go ahead and add them to the keep pile). Go through your child's toy boxes, bin the damaged stuff and list the valuable stuff on a resale site.
4. THE KITCHEN TIDY-UP.
It's easy to accumulate all kinds of rubbish in your kitchen especially if you buy and cook in bulk or if you're a gadget freak. We always start with the fridge and freezer. The freezer almost always has some forgotten food item in there. We found an ancient tub of ice cream the other day. No way I'm eating that! As for gadgets, do you really need all the stuff you have in your kitchen? How often do you actually use that *insert practically useless kitchen gadget that you impulse-bought on sale*? Just sell it and put a few quid in your pocket or exchange it for a shredder for the next step.
5. Shred The Papers Already!
After the kids toys, this is my second favourite step because I love to shred paper. Try it, it's oddly fun! No but seriously it's so easy to be drowning in paper. We hold on to a lot of them because we reckon we might need them at some point but here's a quick tip. If you're not sure about the importance of a document, scan and save it unto your computer and insert the hard copy into a shredder and say, "bye bye!"
I'll let you figure out all the other spaces in your home that need decluttering. In my case, I paid extra attention to my bedroom and my kids' room. I found my jewelry box needed decluttering. I've never really been much of a jewelry wearer and I'm even less so now. Dangling earrings and a curious infant don't go together. So I went through it and got rid of some items. For you it may be a never worn pair of shoes, an old camera, or some unused batteries. What about textbooks or unused notebooks? Last year I sold my textbooks to Fatbrain. It was quick and easy and they have a nifty app, which I recommend. Sort through gifts you've received that were never or hardly used. If you really took time to look through your home, you'd probably find a few things you can throw away, donate or sell.
My favourite resale sites are eBay and Preloved. I've also used the resale app Shpock a few times. I absolutely love it because there are no fees and you can sell or pick up things from people who live close to you thus eliminating postage and packaging costs. I picked up a practically unused toddler car seat for a steal a few months ago. You can also try Facebook Marketplace or find local Facebook groups dedicated specifically to bartering items. If there isn't one in your area maybe you can create it. Whatever we can do to reduce waste, let's do it! And while on the subject of waste reduction, don't forget to RECYCLE! My empty plastics from the bathroom were washed out and put in this recycle bag ready to be picked up on bin day.
So dear friend, I hope I have inspired you to do a clear-out. If you're also a declutter-freak, what other tips can you add? If you're outside the UK, can you recommend any resale sites or apps in your country? Please share in the comment section and if you liked this post, share with your friends! DECLUTTERERS UNITE! *fist pump*