Declutter like a pro this spring
Spring is in the air and as the bright and sunny days return, you’ve probably noticed a few sneaky dust bunnies that have been hiding in winter’s gloomy corners. If the idea of grabbing a mop and duster doesn’t fill you with spring cheer, why not take the chance to do what the pros do and treat the cause, not the symptom?
That’s right, it’s time to declutter, and we’ve rounded up some top tips to help you ace it!
The tips are recommended by some of the world’s best decluttering professionals and endorsed by property expert and Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group, Tony Clarke.
Choose method over madness
When faced with an entire house of clutter to sort through, it can be only too easy to get overwhelmed. Rather than diving in without a plan and risking giving up due to sheer frustration, organisation experts recommend focusing on one thing at a time. While most of us would choose a particular room, closet or set of drawers to start with, Mari Kondo, founder of the KonMari method of decluttering, recommends choosing a category of items instead. “The idea is to bring all your books, or all your clothes, or all your sentimental knick-knacks into a single space and sort through them in one go. That way, you won’t be tempted to ignore bits and bobs hidden in ‘less important’ spaces, and you won’t be carrying clutter from one room to another instead of throwing things away. You’ll also be able to consolidate items across your whole house and free up valuable space in several rooms in one go, “says Clarke.
Put all your sentimental knick-knacks into one place and sort through them in one go.
Let go of your guilt
According to Ruth Soukup, author of Unstuffed: Decluttering your Home, Mind, and Soul, a lot of clutter is caused by our inability to separate sentimental value from guilt. We all have those family heirlooms or gifts from loved ones that we feel obliged to keep, but if they don’t bring joy or functionality to your life, experts say, “let them go!”.
“When people think of hoarders, they tend to picture homes stuffed to the brim with useless rubbish,” says Clarke, “but we all have at least a little bit of a hoarding instinct. Add a sense of obligation to that - say to preserve history or memories - and you have the perfect excuse for that closet filled with grandma’s knick-knacks that never see the light of day.”
It’s not easy to get over the guilt of admitting that these once-valued objects no longer have a place in your life, but there’s no reason to let the past clutter your present. Focus on today! Focus on what to keep, not what
to throw away
A common misconception about decluttering is that it’s all about getting rid of things. It is, but it’s also about making a conscious decision about what to keep - and that’s the part experts recommend you focus on.
The KonMari method suggests physically laying hands on each and every possession and keeping only those things that bring you joy. This may be a touch too extreme for most of us, but the theory is sound: identify those items that have a purpose in your life and make sure they have pride of place.
“It’s a much more positive approach to decluttering,” says Clarke. “If we can identify the things that are important to us, it’s easier to avoid unnecessary guilt over the things we throw away.”
Don’t forget to donate!
“Don’t forget those less fortunate than you when you do your decluttering,” says Clarke. “Your unwanted items could change someone else’s life.”
Old clothes, shoes, linens and towels can be donated directly to organisations like homeless shelters. Other odds and ends are always welcome at charity shops who will make sure the proceeds go to a worthy cause.