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How to declutter your home in 5 stress-free steps

Published on: 25 August 2015

How to declutter your home in 5 stress-free steps

Albert Einstein said: “Three rules of work: out of clutter find simplicity, from discord find harmony, in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

Whether it’s due to bad habits, a hoarder of a spouse or a busy lifestyle, ‘stuff’ just seems to pile up no matter how hard we try to stay organised. If you are fortunate to have a big home, you might not notice it immediately – until you finally run out of space. Clutter can clog the smooth workings of any home and cause stress and hassle – never mind mess – to heap onto the household.

Follow these steps to declutter your space in a low-stress way:

  1. Start with the big stuff
    It can be overwhelming to go through all the stuff that you have accumulated over the years. To reduce anxiety, take a logical approach from the beginning. Start with the biggest items, because these will free up the most space. It is much easier to start with things such as furniture and paintings and work from there.

  2. Get rid of the gear you no longer use
    Avoid keeping a ‘junk room’, which can quickly get out of hand. While you may have a spare room, a storage area or space in the garage, it can be put to much better use if kept de-cluttered (and selling those unused items can raise a bit of cash, too). Give some thought to the space you have and then decide how you can use it.

  3. How often do I use this item?
    Always ask yourself this question – it will be a good indicator of whether it can be tossed or not. If regularly used, there’s no need to get rid of it. Start with the easier, bigger things and save the harder decisions for the end of the process, once you’ve built some momentum.

  4. Keep the bigger picture in mind
    Everyone is different, but if you find yourself becoming sentimental, there are tricks to save space without that feeling of throwing away memories. Ask the question – “Is there a more compact way that I can save the memory?” For example, take a photograph, or keep a piece of a bedding or clothing item as a keepsake. Another solution could be giving the item to a close friend or family member who has a use for it.

  5. Go through your memorabilia often
    In the same way that you don’t keep a dining room table which has fallen into disuse, you can also discard photographs and other keepsakes if they are tucked away, untouched, in a box somewhere. If you have saved memorabilia, go through it often and ask yourself, “Is this stuff still meaningful?”

    If you have photographs in a box, it would be more useful to scan and save them to a digital photo frame. Remember that while keeping things for sentimental reasons is worthwhile, those which are tucked away, unseen in the back of cupboards, are not adding any value.

De-cluttering your home need not be stressful, but instead can be liberating and contribute towards feeling more calm and comfortable in your own space. What’s more, it may also deliver a reduction in your insurance premiums!