The idea of living in a tidy, uncluttered and minimalist property sounds like bliss to many homeowners however couldn’t be further from reality. With a busy schedule, particularly when there are younger members of the family causing chaos, items can quickly accumulate. As the mess grows, it most definitely gets trickier to tackle, and it quickly becomes a vicious circle. Luckily, the process of decluttering your home doesn’t have to be a dreaded task as there are tonnes of quick, easy and creative ways to keep on top of the mess. So, you’re currently sitting thinking “I need a guide on how to declutter my house” we’ve got your back!
How To Declutter My House: 10 Quick Tips For A Tidy Home
It is a proven fact that clutter can have a significant impact on how you feel about your property. Your home should always be the number one place where you can unwind, relax and be yourself. However, if your home is filled with neverending clutter, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Many homeowners are surprised at how much clutter can influence stress levels causing your home to no longer be a peaceful retreat you had always hoped for. Not only does clutter cause the brain to work overtime sending signals that your work is never done, but it also creates the feeling of guilt. For more information on how mess impacts the brain and stress levels, take a look at Psychology Today.
Rather than feeling overwhelmed with the tedious thought of filtering through all old belongings, it is vital to tackle each task in stages. Focus on one room, space or even a single zone at a time and only move onto the next when you feel as it has been entirely cleared from clutter.
To begin your journey to the organised, tidy home you have always dreamed of, we have devised ten quick and easy decluttering tips.
1. Use The Four-Box System
The four-box system is a golden rule when decluttering and is perfect for forcing yourself to throw away items that you probably would have continued to hoard. It is particularly helpful when filtering through old clothes.
In the middle of the room, place four large cardboard boxes labelled the following:
- Throw Away – Only throw away items that are broken and cannot have a second life with a new owner. Before disposing of unwanted items, take a look at Recycle Now to determine whether they can be recycled and if so, where they should be taken.
- Give Away – Any clothing, toys, furniture or electronics that are in good condition; however, you no longer want can be given to a friend, family member or donated to charity.
- Keep – Items that you most definitely want to keep and aim to store in the same location should all be placed together, so you can quickly organise them at the end.
- Relocate – The relocated box will be filled with items that you want to keep, but feel as if they can be better stored in a different location. This could be in the loft, garage or merely in another room.
2. Designate A Paper Spot
One of the main culprits for causing clutter is paper. Receipts, flyers, bills and school letters are all scattered around the house in various locations – no wonder they’re always going missing! We are all guilty of grabbing an envelope on the way in the door and placing them on the side with the intention of filing them away, however, rarely do.
To avoid paper-related clutter and to ensure that you never lose anything again, designate a paper spot where everything can be kept in one place. Whether you purchase an in-tray box, storage box, small filing cabinet or clear out a drawer, get yourself into the routine of placing all paperwork in this one spot. A Place For Everything has a vast range of filing and paperwork storage for a cost-effective price!
3. Use Wall Space
Particularly in a small home, it can be tricky to find sufficient storage that isn’t going to enclose the space. Opting for using empty walls to your advantage is a fantastic way of providing additional storage areas without having to reduce floor space.
In the kitchen, worktops, cabinets and drawers can quickly become cluttered with pots, pans and various other kitchen utensils. Instead of using valuable drawer or cupboard space for larger bulky items, create a feature wall by hanging pots and pans on a stylish mounted rack. Wayfair has tonnes of different wall rack styles to suit every colour scheme, theme and requirement. There are even options that are equipped with slots for tableware and hooks for mugs creating a multi-purpose storage solution.
4. Throw Away Expired Products
We have a question for you – when was the last time that you thoroughly cleared out all of the products stored in your bathroom, dressing table and bedside cabinet? If you cannot remember the last time you filtered through your cosmetic products, then its time to tackle the task!
Similarly to the items of food and drink in your kitchen, cosmetic products and toiletries expire after a period of time. On average, products have a shelf life of six months to a year; the expiry date is usually printed on the bottom of the packaging in a symbol that looks similar to an open pot. Over time, products begin to harbour bacteria and if used past their expiry date, can cause nasty skin infections. Dermstore has a super helpful article on how to spot whether your beauty products have expired and the estimated shelf life of each.
5. Clear Flat Surfaces
Flat surfaces continue to be clutter magnets. When you’re not too sure where to store an item, shelves, countertops and tables seem like the best place to keep them in the meantime. However, this quickly accumulates making the room appear untidy and unappealing.
Aim to get yourself out of the routine of chucking objects on flat surfaces and into the habit of finding them a home straight away. Even adding small storage boxes nearby to the surfaces or clearing a drawer underneath would create the first step towards maintaining clutter-free surfaces. This allows you to have still that delegated space for things you need to find a home for, but now it will be out of sight and not ruining the aesthetics of your home.
6. Put Clothes Away Immediately
After a long, stressful day, it is understandable that the last thing you want to do is be folding and filing away washing. However, training yourself to tackle tasks immediately will stop clutter from accumulating and make maintaining a tidy home considerably more manageable.
When you arrive home from work, do not change out of your uniform into comfortable clothing and chuck a pile of items in the corner of your room. Instead, fold away any clothing that you intend to wear again and put any dirty items in for washing. Follow a similar pattern when it comes to clean laundry. Fold and put away all clothes, sock and undergarments immediately to avoid a build up.
If you have young children, also encourage them to get into the routine of putting their clothes and toys away straight away. We understand that it may prove somewhat tricky to get little ones to become enthusiastic at the thought of chores, so they may need a little extra push. Perhaps create a game of who can tidy the quickest. The winner gets to choose what you watch on television or can pick a tasty dessert to enjoy after dinner.
7. The 10% Free Rule
The 10% free rule is incredibly simple to follow and ultimately allows additional room for growth in the future. When following the rule, your goal should always be to leave at least 10% of storage space completely clear. Whether you are organising a bookshelf, wardrobe, drawers or storage boxes, never fill the area to the brim. If you’re unable to allow yourself at least 10% free for future items, then it is a good indication that you need to either reorganise or throw away some older belongings that are no longer in use.
8. Clean As You Cook
While it may not appear to be a method of decluttering, getting into the habit of cleaning as you cook is ideal for reducing mess. It also means that you’ll be able to sit back and relax after enjoying a tasty meal as opposed to having to face a massive pile of dirty pots, pans and utensils.
When preparing a meal, it is more than likely that you will have a spare moment here and there when you are waiting for the meat to cook or vegetables to boil. Use this time to your advantage. Fill your washing up bowl with warm soapy water before you begin cooking so you can quickly rinse equipment as you go along.
On the other hand, if you have a dishwasher, ensure that it is completely clear and everything is put away before beginning to cook. An empty dishwasher means you can place dirty items in straight away and they will not build up on countertops.
9. One Item In, One Item Out
The ‘one in, one out’ policy is most commonly used as a method to control the number of people flowing in and out of a building, however, can also also be implemented to avoid cluttering your home.
Make a promise to yourself that every time you purchase a new piece of clothing, a book, toy or any other item for your home, you will throw away or donate one to charity. Essentially, each time you consider purchasing something new, you must keep in mind that you can only take it back to your home if you are willing to replace it with something old. Similarly to when using the four-box system, items that are broken can be recycled, and any in good condition can be donated. Gradually clearing your home from old, unwanted items one by one will avoid having to go through your entire house at once.
10. Schedule A Decluttering Day
If you’re now feeling eager to declutter your property, but cannot face the task right away, schedule a day for later this month. Perhaps you will spend a Sunday clearing through each room or have booked a few days of annual leave that you aim to use to productively. Try to encourage each member of the family to get involved, the more helping hands, the quicker you’ll be able to declutter the entire house!
Begin Your Journey To A Tidy, Decluttered Home!
Decluttering your home doesn’t have to be a dull, tedious task. Spending time filtering through your old belongings and encouraging yourself to part ways will most definitely work towards maintaining a tidy home. A clear, mess-free home is proven to reduce stress, improve productivity and enhance creativity.
We always encourage customers who opt for building a home extension in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas to thoroughly declutter their property before beginning any work. It allows homeowners to make the most out of their additional space!