Extreme techniques to declutter your home
Finally, after a seemingly endless dark winter, it’s time for a big spring clean. But before you can even start on the cleaning, you have to clear the decks. Research by the University of California found that clutter in the home can raise stress levels, with women in particular experiencing a spike in hormones as a result of mess. “People become overwhelmed by the amount of clutter they have in their homes,” says decluttering expert Lesley Naylor. “But when they tackle it, it can be a hugely therapeutic journey.”
There has been a slew of books out recently tapping into our collective, and seasonal, need to organise our stuff. But where to start? With a house covered in a thin film of builders’ dust and in need of a good tidy up, I decided to try a different method for each room. they document how, when approaching the age of 30 a few years ago, they realised that all the stuff they had craved and then accumulated didn’t actually make them feel any better. And so they decided to pare back their lives.
They claim that the blog, and the four books it has spawned, have helped two million people, so perhaps I can glean some insights too. I try a version of their Minimalism Game in my kitchen, where you get rid of one item on day one, two on day two and so forth. It’s a nice principle, but fired up with the decluttering zeal, I want to blitz it all.
But patiently I keep it up: out go surplus Tupperware that I can’t find lids for; toys that I’ve stashed because my daughter no longer uses them; old magazines I kept for “reference”; cookbooks that I have never really used. I can see the benefit of doing it slowly, and by the end of the second week it’s becoming a habit to question what I really still need to keep.
Fields Millburn and Nicodemus themselves say that decluttering isn’t the end goal, but instead it’s about asking why we’re so attached to possessions.
The site is full of inspiring essays that help you tackle different areas of your life, such as how to declutter your digital world and how to be a minimalist with children. This is spring cleaning with a side of existentialism. body, fold it in half, and finally into thirds so that it stands up on its own in the drawer.
It does make it easier to see what’s there, granted. But is the time spent worth it when my daughter can get through two vests a day and multiple outfit changes? I’m not convinced.
“Now, let’s fold socks,” Kondo says on the video, at which point she definitely loses me. I’m quite comfortable with the fact that our sock drawers are not places of beauty. Surely wearing matching socks (something we don’t all manage every day) is an achievement in itself ? It sounds far less charming than hygge, but “dostadning”, an amalgamation of the Swedish words for death and cleaning, is on course to be one of this year’s biggest trends. It has been popularised by Margaret Magnusson in her recent book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning. As the title suggests, it advocates a big clear out before you die to save your relatives the hassle of it later on.
Magnusson says that the process is actually “more like
Swedish death cleaning in the loft, below; the KonMari method, above