It’s the beginning of a new year and a fresh twelve months is stretched out in front of us. We all enjoy that feeling of being given the chance to start again with a clean slate but what if our homes are lagging behind that feeling? How can we achieve the same sentiment for our homes?
Whether you are simply trying to create more space or are running out of storage solutions for the accumulation of Christmas gifts, January is normally a great time to sort out all those pesky areas of your home that just attract way too much stuff! Here are our top tips for de-cluttering your home.
Start with What’s Already There
It may feel more obvious to start tackling closets or the loft but the first thing you need to do is assess where there are problems. If you take a look at each room of your home, consider the things that are left out, that have no immediate place. Are there things in your rooms that are simply taking up space without any need for them?
William Morris famously said, ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’ If you find yourself stacking old magazines or books that you don’t even look at, there are 10 different pairs of shoes in front of the door, half of which have been outgrown or aren’t even worn or excess appliances on top of your countertops, consider what can be let go of first.
Throughout the decluttering process, keep things in three piles: Things to donate, things to sell and things to recycle or throw away.
Tackle the Problem Areas Next
Normally we all have places in our homes that are the first to become problem areas when they are left for too long. This may be the kitchen cabinets or pantry, the closets, wardrobes, playrooms, cabinets, under the bed, in the home office, in a loft or garage – you get the idea!
Choose one area at a time and allow yourself plenty of time to get the job done. A closet may be able to be done in a couple of hours or less but your garage will likely take a weekend.
Go through the cabinet or pantry that holds dry foods. Are items still in date? Do you actually use that weird spice you picked up on holiday 6 years ago? Have a good clear out and declutter and then consider using clear jars or plastic storage containers with labels to store everything neatly away.
Recycle or donate anything else in your cupboards like plastic cups, old dinnerware or glasses that have not been used in the last year or small appliances that are no longer needed.
If your medicine cabinet is filled with old prescription medication or makeup well past its date, then toss it out immediately. Go through all the bottles of shampoos, lotions and potions that are taking up space and rid yourself of the things you no longer use.
For clothing or shoes, ask yourself whether the item still fits, if it’s still in style, if it actually works with other items in your wardrobe. Is it stained? Does it need dry-cleaning? Is it ripped or otherwise unwearable and can you foresee yourself fixing it or taking it to a tailor? If not, consider recycling it or getting rid of it. Rope in a friend or partner who can be more objective if you struggle with this task.
Consider something like a classic blanket box to store bed linens, throws and cushions which provides plenty of storage if your collection has outgrown the wardrobe or linen closet. Donate old or past-their-best towels or bedding to local animal shelters.
Playrooms or Kids’ Rooms
Source: Olives & Bell
Toys may seem to breed in children’s rooms but regularly going through and donating items your children are no longer playing with or have outgrown is a good way to teach them about charity. For everything else, consider storage baskets or boxes that allow your kids to help with the tidying up.
Lofts and Garages
Source: A Beautiful Mess
If you have quite a lot of items to get through and get rid of, consider calling on a rubbish removal service. They will often pick up items you no longer want or need and services such as Clearabee will divert 90% of the items they pick up from landfill by recycling much of what you have.
Consider Smart Storage Solutions
Finally, for those items you have left, think about investing in some practical storage. Coffee tables with drawers, footstools with hidden storage and shelving units with baskets can create more areas for practical storage. For smaller items, consider a small sideboard or a shoe rack in the hallway to keep things nice and orderly.