Even the cleanest and tidiest of houses have some form of clutter. Whether it’s paperwork, books, clothes or kitchenware, clutter takes up space without adding value or, as Marie Kondo would say, sparking joy.
So, if you’ve decided to tackle the growing piles of clutter but feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, we’ve put together this helpful guide, so that you can focus on making your space the best it can be.
A step-by-step checklist to decluttering
Before you start, it’s useful to set a timeline for your decluttering project. How many rooms do you have to tackle? If you work full time but you’re looking to freshen up your entire house, it’s likely that you’ll be decluttering one room every weekend. Be realistic about your goals – it’s always better to allocate more time than you need, rather than struggle to meet tight deadlines.
Does a whole weekend of decluttering feel overwhelming? Take it 20 minutes at a time. Make sure you leave energy for yourself, too – rest is equally important as an organised space, particularly after celebrations or festive seasons where our social capacities are often pushed to their limits.
Now that you’ve established how long the decluttering process will take you, it’s time to decide which room to tackle first. The best way to do this is to assess each room individually. How big is the room? How much clutter is in it? How likely am I to use this space sooner rather than later? These questions will help you to determine where on your priority list each room falls. Start with the highest priority and work your way down the list.
Another way to prioritise is to target clutter by type. Do you have mountains of unused glassware and plates that need to go? Start with the kitchen. Is your home office drowning under piles of paperwork? Then you’ve found your starting point.
Boston chest of drawers | @bethtyxhome
When it comes to sorting your clutter, we love the three box method. Take three cardboard boxes, bin bags, or create three piles labelled Keep, Donate, and Store.
As you work through your things, think about what each item adds to your life. When did you last use it? Do you already own something similar? Be strict with yourself. If an item gets used regularly, adds beauty to your home, joy to your life, and takes up space in the best of ways, then put it in the Keep pile.
Maybe it used to do all these things but has now fallen to the back of an ever-closed drawer? Donate it to someone who can give it a new lease of life, whether that’s a friend, family member, or a charitable cause. You could even sell it, recycle it or repurpose it into something else. If an item remains unused but has important sentimental value, consider storing it elsewhere.
As part of Oak Furnitureland’s sustainability pledge, we have partnered with Clearabee and British Heart Foundation to offer a convenient recycling service for unwanted furniture and household items. Clearabee will take anything but charge for each item and also have a call-out fee, while British Heart Foundation is a free service but the items must be in a good preloved condition.
Preventing future clutter is an integral part of the decluttering process. What do you do with those things you decide to keep that maybe don’t have a place? What about the items in the Store pile that you can’t afford to put into storage elsewhere?
When it comes to decluttering, the best outcomes are the ones that hinge on everything having its place. Investing in smart storage pieces that can help you save space and reduce clutter can help transform your home in the long term, ensuring a clear and organised approach throughout the new year.
A desk with integrated cupboards and lots of drawer space can provide the perfect place to keep important documents and folders without them getting mixed up, torn or lost. For the bedroom, choose a bed frame with space for underbed storage to allow room for boxes, and group your clothes by season so they’re easy to rotate in and out when you need them.
Invest in shelving, storage jars, tubs and organisers for your kitchen, to keep the space clean, tidy, and ready for you to cook up a storm at any time of day. You might even consider combining two rooms together to create the perfect multipurpose space.