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What is decluttering?

What is decluttering

March 16, 2021

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Thanks to Netflix shows like Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, The Minimalists and The Home Edit, and National Lockdowns, decluttering has generated much more interest over the last 12 months. These shows have certainly done a huge amount to raise the awareness of how our living conditions affect our mental wellbeing. 

So, what is decluttering? If you’ve lived in the same house for many years, accumulating things as time gently passes by, it’s understandable why people become ‘clutterblind’.   

Whatever it is that has inspired you to live a less-cluttered life then be warned… it can become a bit addictive! But, if you haven’t yet been bitten by the clutter-free bug, how will you know when is the right time to declutter – and actually, what is decluttering all about anyway? 

What is decluttering? 

Simply put, decluttering is the process of working through your things and figuring out what to keep, what to donate or what to sell. Or as you might have heard reuse, rehome or recycle.   

It’s often done room by room, or even in smaller categories such as the sock draw! 

How do I know if decluttering is right for me? 

So, now I’ve answered the question ‘what is decluttering’, let’s look at whether it’s right for you.

Do you spend more time looking for your stuff than you think you should?  This could be a good indication that it’s time to get organised. 

Or, specific life events might be the driving force, it could be when you’re moving house, preparing for a new baby, sorting through children’s toys and clothes as they grow out of them, moving house again, helping teenagers to learn life skills of decluttering, downsizing, and also after divorce or bereavement.   

But you don’t have to wait for these life events to start your journey to getting organised. 

How much stuff do I need? 

There is no magic formula or right number of T-shirts to have, mugs you need in your kitchen or hand towels in your bathroom, it is down to individual choice that matters here.  

What I am comfortable with may not be the same as what you need!  But one thing is for sure if you are drowning in stuff, can’t find your car keys or phone or generally feel anxious with the mess around your home, it’s time to consider how decluttering can help you have a more streamlined life! 

If you’ve read this far and I’ve piqued your interest, let’s take a look at how to figure out where to get started with the decluttering project. 

Your home – your space, your way 

Take a look around your home, is there a cupboard or a drawer or even a room that when you open or look at, it makes you feel anxious or overwhelmed and you don’t know what where to start?  This could be your starting point!  Imagine how you’d feel if you finally tackled it and it no longer bothered you.   Wouldn’t that be a weight off your mind? 

As with any project in the home, like painting the room or planning for renovations preparation is key.    

I spotted this on Facebook the other day, it’s from a sewing manual in 1949, I was genuinely curious as to how people felt about this very old-fashioned advice, comments ranged from verbal eye rolling through to who has a sewing machine these days…  I don’t, I am fundamentally allergic to any kind of needle; knitting, sewing, hypodermic… 😅   

What caught my attention wasn’t so much the sitting down with your lippy on to do some therapeutic sewing, but actually the scene setting for a preparing to do anything – clearing your mind of the daily stuff so then you can focus on what you want to accomplish. 

Decluttering takes time and energy – so when you’re preparing to declutter start small. Like that sock draw I mentioned earlier, don’t try and do the whole house in one day!! 

If you are ready to tackle a room, let’s say the wardrobe declutter, here are some steps to help you get ready for your decluttering session: 

  1. Plan the time – block time out in your diary. 
  1. Prepare snacks and water – decluttering burns the calories, mentally and physically, and you’ll need to keep hydrated. 
  1. Have your cleaning stuff to hand – you might want to hoover out a wardrobe, or wipe out draws before putting things away. 
  1. Have some bags ready – for example, things to donate to charity, clothes that need mending or the laundry basket. 
  1. Think about where you will take your decluttered items when you’ve finished, so if at all possible, it can go straight out the door at the end of the session. 
  1. When you’re ready to start – put your phone in another room to minimise distractions… unless of course it’s belting out your motivational playlist! 
  1. Get started!  Pull the items out and look at them one by one, and if you’re not sure if it’s something to keep or let go of, here are some questions to ask yourself: 
  • When was the last time you used it? 
  • Does it still fit? 
  • Are you keeping it for ‘just in case’?  If so, how long have you been keeping it for ‘just in case! 

Take the time to think about each item, and why you’ve held onto it.  Sometimes it can be something sentimental, but if that something sentimental is taking up space for essential items, ask yourself if a photograph of it would be enough. 

I hope this quick checklist gives you everything you need to get started on your decluttering project, but if you get stuck or feel overwhelmed please don’t give up, a Professional Organiser like me can help you work through the problem methodically.  So just in the same way that you might call in a plumber to fix a leaky tap or someone to fix the boiler – Professional Organisers are your go-to people to help you with your cluttered rooms. 

Need some help?

If I’ve not satisfied your ‘what is decluttering’ question or you’d like some help sorting out your wardrobe, whether it’s working through the seasonal swap over or a complete declutter I’d love to help you.  Why not book a free no-obligation consultation today. You can book one here.

For more information on Professional Decluttering you can visit the Association for Professional Declutterers and Organisers here.