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Before you even head towards that overfilled wardrobe or that Tetris stacked mug cupboard, you have to ask yourself a very important question:
What are the reasons you want to declutter?
There are many reasons to declutter. You've got to be sure why you want to undertake this task, otherwise, once you’ve finished, it will only be a matter of time before the overflow of material possessions returns.
- To be more organised.
- To find items in my home easier.
- To live with the necessary and to not get clogged down with the unneeded.
Once you've had time to reflect on your own personal reasons, you are ready to begin your decluttering journey.
The 90/90 Rule
Introduced originally by The Minimalists, this is a simple yet effective way to keep the clutter from piling up.
Review each item that you own.
Have you used it in the last 90 days? Do you plan on using it in the next 90 days? If the answer is no, dispose of the item in a responsible way. If the answer is yes, it can stay.
Ninety days not long enough? You can extend the timeframe to suit you.
An item a day keeps the clutter away.
Every day remove one unnecessary, unloved object from your home. From odd socks to unused appliances. This method is aimed at someone who works full-time, has very little free time, or is feeling overwhelmed.
There is no set amount of days. It’s until you feel satisfied with how your home looks and feels.
Hold a packing party.
No, not that kind of party, I’m afraid. Invite close friends and family round to help encourage the decluttering process. Play some music, grab the nibbles, and get packing!
Go room to room packing away all your belongings and covering furniture. It’s a perfect opportunity to explain to others how you're feeling and why you want to organise your home.
Once everything has been securely packaged and the “party” is over, begin to unpack things as you need them. After a few months, anything that’s left in boxes, dispose of.
Feeling slightly overwhelmed? Try having a packing party for a single room to ease into it.
More information about holding a packing party can be found at The Minimalists.
Paper be gone.
Folders filled to bursting with important documents? Old bills stacked in an unorganised heap? There is a simple solution to this problem.
Download a scanner! If you have a smartphone, I’ve left some suggestions for FREE scanner apps down below. Don’t panic if you don’t, you can buy some relatively inexpensive scanners from Amazon (or have a look on Gumtree or eBay for a preloved alternative).
You don’t have to have endless pieces of paper cluttering up your home, getting torn, dirty, and crumpled. Using a scanner removes the risk of damage and loss of important information.
Taking a photo is not the same as scanning! Photos can be blurred, you have to contend with folds, discolouration, imperfections on the paper and getting the perfect angle. Scanning removes all of the above problems. It rectifies fold lines, colour corrects, zooms in on the document automatically to create a crisp, clean look.
Save to a computer, phone or hard drive for easy, organised access.
You can scan anything from cards, handwritten letters to your favourite book covers.
Scannable (my personal favourite)
I hope these tips give you some ideas on how to start your decluttering journey, or at least fuel your motivation to create a simple, happy environment for home and mind.
Everyone is unique. You know which belongings bring you joy, which objects you do and do not need. Never feel like you have to adhere to an invisible, unspoken standard. Minimalism is different for everyone.