You’ve seen this ‘decluttering’ term so many times, which brings the idea of being minimalist and owning only the absolute need.
There’s a huge misconception where many people think: Owning less = boring home
When what we’re really trying to say is: Owning less = Cleaner home = Happy you = Healthier you
And this has nothing to do with interior designing style or lifestyle! The hard fact is, subconsciously, we know that there might be a potential feeling of regret that will come when letting go of our materials – which brings us not to start decluttering at all (guilty).
The simplicity of having less to clean and organise would mean less stress on you and anyone living with you. Listen to this: declutter because you deserve a better quality of life.
A home should be a place of your rest and comfort.
Drive your motivation towards the idea of more peace at home. Enjoying the process is a must! Challenge yourself to declutter your home in 30 days. It IS possible, if you put your heart to it.
WHERE ARE MY CLUTTER HOTSPOTS
When we have stayed at a place for very long, we get comfortable. It’s normal. It’s weirder if I hear someone saying they feel awkward in their own home.
What we don’t realise? We got comfortable with the mess we have compiled throughout the years as well.
Bring a pen, paper and your phone with you and stand outside your home. Erase your familiarity as the owner. Come in as if you are visiting your home for the first time ever.
What would your first thoughts be when you first enter someone else’s home? You would wonder:
- How does his home look like
- How clean is his home
Start taking notes of the clutter hotspots – the location and the things that are causing the clutter. And start snapping pictures of them. This is to prepare you for your 30 days decluttering journey.
The flat surfaces, like your coffee table or kitchen countertop are guilty clutter magnets. Note that down. Be critical and rank the clutters in the hotspots. Which places would need more time to declutter? Prioritise based on your own ranking.
GOAL SETTING & THE 4 BOX SORTING METHOD
Prior to your decluttering journey, get 4 large boxes or bins prepared:
Setting yourself a 30 day completion deadline means you have to have the discipline to work on it. Every. Single. Day. You’ve already highlighted your clutter hotspots to work on. Begin day 1 with what you have already prioritised to focus on first.
Remember, you have to be willing to do it. For me, I schedule it to my calendar along with the number of hours I have to commit every single day. Everyone has different commitments. Be reasonable with your goals!
Along the way, either of these 2 questions must stick to your mind like a chanted mantra.
- When was the last time I wore/used this?
- Does this thing belong here?
CLUTTER HOTSPOT 1 – THE BEDROOM
I started off with my bedroom because my biggest nightmare, which also happens to store my favourite clothes, is my closet. Here a tip, begin from the bottom, then move upwards.
Use boxes to organise your things. Repurpose back, cut out your cereal boxes, shoebox or any delivery boxes and use them as storage boxes. Each box should have its own purpose like your socks, shoes, belts and label them if you’d like.
Image Source | IHEART ORGANISING
You might feel pained to let go of the clothes that you bought with your hard earned money but when you realised you only wore it 5 times a year (or less), let it go. Only one possible bin to dump in – the sell/donate bin.
Organise your seasonal clothes together in another box and label it. Only keep the frequently used clothes hanged and within sight.
About the dressing table, besides the essentials, it’s best to keep to just a maximum of 5 things on top. Nothing else.
CLUTTER HOTSPOT 2 – THE KITCHEN
Get rid of the old newspapers, magazines, letters piled on what it seemed was your countertop.
If you are one to refer to your cookbooks often, organise them neatly by having its own rack where you can drill on the side on a cabinet. Do you need all 15 cookbooks in the kitchen? No, you don’t. Leave the rest in the bookshelf. Keep just a couple of them in the kitchen.
Image Source | TULIP DESIGN CO.
Clutters in the kitchen are mainly a numbers game. The plastic containers. Your pots and pans. Fridge magnets. Small appliances. Can you bring the number down to the absolute necessary?
Only the most frequently used appliances get to stay on top. The rest of them should ne stored away neatly in the cabinets. My most frequent ones are:
- Coffee machine and its grinder (I can’t start my day without coffee)
- Mini toaster
- Electric kettle
This is a good time to find out if the appliances you have are still in good working conditions too! Same rules apply: sell or donate if you don’t really use it. That space you have can be better used.
CLUTTER HOTSPOT 3 – HOME OFFICE
Keeping this place neat is essential to maintain your productivity level, especially for those of us who are working more from home these days. The problem people have in their home office is a battle with papers that began with poor or no filing system in place.
Arrange the papers, sort them accordingly to ‘file’, ’to do’ and ‘trash’. Make it a point to look into these files at the end of every week. Keep the ‘trash’ pile empty and the other two minimally little.
You will need to invest in files, filing boxes or drawers in order to prevent another paper clutter from appearing again.
Some business owners keep filing papers for documentation purposes. File them up nearly and relocate them to your store room or your garage. You need to keep them but not access them everyday so you don’t actually need them hanging around in your office.
Between table top organisers versus drawers, I would recommend the drawer because once again, we want to keep our laptop or computer area as clean and minimal as possible. If you still prefer a table top organiser, I suggest you find one that does not take up too much space!
Wrapping those cords and wires neatly helps to keep the place clean as well.
See the difference after you make the changes and I can assure you, you’ll be able to focus so much better at work.
CLUTTER HOTSPOT 4 – THE GARAGE
They say the bigger your space, the bigger the mess. Unfortunately, the garage will usually take the biggest hit of a mess. If you have a garage, this will most probably take the most time to declutter, so we have to thread along smarter to avoid the feeling of dread.
DIVIDE & CONQUER
One zone at a time, fill the trash bins first. Get rid of the things you don’t need, chanting the two mantras consistently. If you don’t use them often and the garage is the only place for you to store this, the only option left is to let go!
Once you have made sure whatever that stayed are what you would still use, it is time to really organise them. Arrange like things together, get the christmas decorations in another box, pack them in bins and boxes with proper labelling and shelvings.
Image Source | LOVE CHIC LIVING
THE ONE IN, ONE OUT RULE
When you first take the pictures of the clutter around your home, you can probably know how much time you need and what organising boxes and bins to make or get. Time your daily activities for decluttering well. I would really push you to take pictures of your every progress! Recognise your own efforts, celebrate the small wins in between.
You are your own biggest motivator!
Your next challenge is to maintain cleanliness and the state of your newly decluttered home. Prevention is better than cure (plus you know how tiring this kind of cure is). Keep in mind to have a one in, one out rule.
Cluttering problems can be avoided if we ask ourselves if our home has the capacity to keep it. If you want to buy something new, it’s either because it’s something you don’t have yet or the old one has served its purposes.
Do not think of it as restricting your wants! Rather, it’s because you want to hold the fort of peace in your home. Which will you choose?
*Last edited: 3rd April 2021.