Decluttered home office

Our 10-step decluttering plan to transform your living space

Cut out the clutter and learn to streamline your life with our essential guide to an organised home

By Amy Lewis, 18 November 2015
Our 10-step decluttering plan to transform your living space

We’ve all got a little of the hoarder in us, be it clothes we no longer wear but hold on to ‘just in case’, to papers, books and other knick-knacks that just seem to pile up around the house.

Donating a garment that was never your style or an item you’ve never used doesn’t make you ungrateful. It’s just practical

If it’s time to take action in your home then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve devised a easy-to-follow 10-step decluttering plan, to help you rid your home of the unnecessary muddle, and free up plenty of new space.

Here’s how to make a start…

Decide on a strategy

It’s good to have a plan, especially when it comes to decluttering your home from top to bottom. While taking one room at a time and working your way systematically around the house is a good idea, decluttering guru Marie Kondo, author of the immensely popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising, suggests a different approach. The KonMarie method, as she calls it, instead tackles clutter by type; meaning that you go right through the house dealing with clothes first for example, then perhaps books, followed by documents and papers, and so on until you’ve achieved something near minimalism.

Set aside enough time

If you want to thoroughly declutter, you need to give yourself enough time to do it. A good rule of thumb is to set aside a whole morning or an afternoon at a time, to tackle one room or clutter category. If you can dedicate an entire weekend to the process, go for it. But remember to take breaks so that you don’t start getting distracting or straying from the task.

Stage a ruthless clear out

Declutter and organisation experts agree that a fairly ruthless clear out needs to happen, before any new storage solutions are implemented. Once you’ve decided on a strategy - to move through your home room by room or by clutter type - start by putting everything you don’t need straight into bags and boxes.

Don’t let guilt or nostalgia creep in

It’s easy to hold on to things we never use or wear, simply because they were gifts from a friend or relative, or remind of us a special time. Donating a garment that was never your style or an item you’ve never used doesn’t make you ungrateful. It’s just practical.

Get unwanted items out of the house

Whether you’ll be donating unwanted items to charity or selling them off in a car boot sale, it’s a good idea to seal up the bags and boxes and move them out of the house immediately. Store them in the garage or loft if need be, to stop any rummaging and second thoughts.

Be honest with yourself

It can be hard getting rid of things, but if you really want to declutter properly you need to have a very honest conversation with yourself. Those off-colour shirts you bought in the sale; do you ever really wear them? The mountain of costume jewellery; does it go with anything? If you’ve held onto things because ‘what if’ or ‘just in case’, now is the time to cut all ties, add them to the box and free-up space.

Think about how you use your living space

Before you start re-organising the items you’re keeping, think about how and when you use them, plus the space they are stored in. Is it practical for you to hang all of your clothes for example, or would you find them easier to access and sort through if they were neatly folded in drawers? Do your shoes need to be stored in the bedroom, or would it make more sense to have them nearer the front door? Think about how you live, and try to shift things around accordingly.

Invest in dynamic storage solutions

One size does not fit all, and storage solutions are now smarter than ever. If you have large cupboards or chests already, look to compartmental organisers that can be used to maximise hidden spaces. Storage boxes can be an easy way to make the shelves in wardrobes work harder too. And as for the pile-up of books? It might be time to consider an electronic reader.

Avoid creating a dumping ground

It’s a good idea to store similar things together, but if you’re struggling to find a place to keep miscellaneous items, consider whether or not you really need them. You don’t want to start a new designated dumping ground where new clutter can gather, and worktops or dresser tops are key places for this to begin.

Enjoy the space you free-up

Once you’ve finished decluttering and re-organising, take a moment to admire and appreciate all the free space you’ve manage to create. It’ll help you to hang on to the feel-good state of being clutter-free, and hopefully avoid the same build-up from happening again.

For more storage solutions to help you keep control of the clutter, see the latest from George Home here