How to declutter when downsizing your home

Whether you are moving to a more compact and low maintenance accommodation or not, the decision to declutter and organise your home will probably be one of the best ones you make in life.

It’s been well documented that clutter can have a negative effect on physical and emotional wellbeing. Dig deep enough and buried beneath all that underutilised ‘stuff’ that you’ve hoarded over the decades there can be an unresolved emotional or psychological issue that needs addressing.

However, decluttering is no mean feat, so to avoid being overwhelmed here are some strategic steps in attacking the project one step at a time.

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Step 1: Make a note of what is needed and used, and what is not
Take a walk around your home and make note of all the items that are underutilised. These could be items that have been sitting on surfaces like a table or kitchen bench for months without being referred to or used. Perhaps there is a bowl containing odds and ends like old batteries for electronics, pens that don’t work, kitchen and general household items that can be stored in a drawer or cupboard. Whatever is broken or old that you have not used for a while and are unlikely to use, throw out!

This should be done for each room in the house – for instance in your bedroom if you have clothing that you have not worn for a year or more, either give it away or throw away. In the study give old books and magazines that you have read to friends or charities. Financial and other documents that no longer need to be retained can also be removed. In the bathroom, clear out old toiletry items, toothbrushes etc. Clean out closets, storage cupboards and drawers one at a time throughout the house.

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Step 2: Sort your items
Now sort items into three categories – items you currently need and use on a regular basis, items that you don’t currently use, but may need at another time or in a different season and items that you no longer need.

Once sorting is done it’s time to further refine the items you want to keep by grouping them into similar categories. For example, sporting/hobby gear like old golf equipment, paint brushes, old yoga mats, camping or hiking gear could go in one pile. Note: if there is a large amount of stuff, use your front lawn if need be or some other large, open area or space to do the sorting.

Once you have done this, see what kind of storage items you might need to purchase in which to store the things you are keeping that do not need to be displayed or that will not fit into an existing cupboard, shelf or other storage place in the home.

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Step 3: Get storage
Once you know what you need to meet your storage needs take a trip to your nearest storage shop such as Howard’s Storage, Officeworks or an Ikea store and buy the correct sized containers, baskets, filing systems, shelves and hooks for hanging items – anything you have identified that will contain and keep those underutilised items out of sight and neatly stored away grouped with other similar items.

Remember, be brutal when throwing things out. If it hasn’t been touched or used in a very long time, it probably doesn’t need a place in your home. If you are not moving house to downsize, it’s still a good idea to do an annual declutter regardless. Finally, congratulate yourself!

It’s not an easy task to declutter your life, but once you do you will be far happier and less stressed.

Watch this Decluttering Lesson from Clean My Space:

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How do you spring clean and declutter your house? Share your useful tips below. . .