Conquer your clutter

Sep 29, 2017

Clutter can be anything and everything that takes up unnecessary space without providing any value to you or your environment. With Spring well underway, now is a good time to do tidy up your space, especially if you intend to move in the near future. Even if you’re staying put, here are ten top decluttering tips.

Start small and set goals

The thought of having to declutter your home can be overwhelming, so breakdown the task and start with one room at a time. In order to be as efficient as possible, set small and attainable goals.

Create a simple system

One that works for you and is easy to manage. For example, you might try the ‘four box’ system in which you use four large plastic containers and label them as KEEP, THROW OUT, STORE, DONATE/SELL, and split your clutter up into them accordingly.

Commit to the process

You should get rid of what you no longer want and need. Keeping things that may seem useful for “one day” wastes space and will most likely be outdated or forgotten long before it’s useful again. A good way to establish whether or not to get rid of something is to ask whether you have used it in the last six months. If not, it’s probably time to throw it out.

Let it go

We often hold onto items because of our emotional attachment to them, but severing ties with material objects will not take away the memories associated with them. Be selective with the sentimental items you do keep, avoiding cluttering your personal space, while uncluttering your mind.

Save your surfaces

Counter tops, shelves and other flat surfaces often become cluttered with miscellaneous items. Take a few minutes to put items in their proper place and throwaway what you don’t need. Ideally, the only items that should be displayed on open surfaces are frequently-used items.

Consider categories

Create designated spaces for similar items as this makes finding your bits and pieces simple. You can get creative with your storage too; there are endless innovative, crafty and cost-effective storage ideas online, for example. Making storage attractive while practical, also makes it fun and more likely for you to use.  

Clean out your closet

People tend to only wear 20% of their wardrobe regularly, while the rest simply takes up space. Only keep what you actually wear; the left-over items can be donated or stored, or in some cases, sold. A helpful tip is to store items according to the season, either in your cupboard, or elsewhere until the appropriate season rolls around.

Face the cost

Many of us fall in to the sunk cost trap; this is when we base our present decisions on our past behaviour to avoid wasting money we have already spent. Hanging onto an item that does not add value to your home will in no way recoup the financial cost of that item. When clearing out your home it is best to cut your losses - financial or otherwise - if an item in question no longer fits into your life, or suits your space.

Try your hand at second-hand sales

If your item does warrant a sale price, however, consider the different ways you could find a buyer, such as;

  • A garage sale – Advertise on Facebook, for example, put a sign up outside your home detailing the event and tell friends, family and neighbours to spread the word. You could also send a listing to your local ‘knock and drop’ paper.
  • Posting online – It’s easy to sell an item on sites like Gumtree or BidorBuy – or even via second hand groups on Facebook. Simply snap a picture of your item, post it and with a bit of luck, watch your clutter walk out the door in the hands of its new owner in no time.
  • Consignment – If you are short on time or patience for your own postings, you can have your items sold on consignment. Sites like new to you (www.newtoyou.co.za) and the changing room (https://thechangingroom.co.za) collect your items and sell them on your behalf for a percentage of the sale price.

 

Be consistent

Once your home has been completely decluttered, it’s important to maintain the outcome. Make a habit of putting things where they belong and throwing out what you don’t need as you go. This way maintaining your new clutter free environment should be easy - after all, prevention is often better than cure.