Decluttering your home is necessary – especially if you’re downsizing – but it’s not a simple process. It’s a bit of an emotional journey, truth be told, because you’re dealing with years and years of precious memories and mementos. And it can take days or weeks to go through.

However, don’t be put off by the timeframe. Once you get stuck into it you’ll come to realise that decluttering is quite a cathartic process; to rid yourself of objects that bring no value to your life really is an amazing feeling.

So whether you’re sorting out one cupboard, a whole room or your entire home, here’s how you can best approach the process.

1. Dedicate small blocks of time
Sorting through a large batch of possessions can be an emotional process. A lot of the items you pick up might have sentimental value. Truthfully, you might need tissues.

With this in mind, dedicate a few hours each day and give yourself large rest periods. Sorting through all of your things can also be physically exhausting and tough on your back and joints. Ensure you put yourself in a comfortable spot. But the major take away here is that you’ll need to give yourself rest pauses.

2. Categorise your possessions
Once you start sorting through your things, it’s best to categorise them into four piles:

Throwing Away:
Try to be as cutthroat as you can with this pile. Is each item really adding value to your life? Often it’s good to take a photo of an object, a letter, a piece of paper with something sentimental on it. That way you can upload it onto your computer, store there forever, but throw away the physical version (it saves you so much space!).

Sorting through your old things can be an arduous process, but the end result is worth it!

These are the pieces you can’t bear to let go of. You’ll usually know them as soon as you see them, as they’ll tug on your heartstrings. It’s OK to hold onto some things that you might not see or use every day. Just try to ensure this pile isn’t the biggest of the lot.

Selling or Donating:
If you’re downsizing, you might have a fair bit of furniture on your hands that won’t make it to the new home. You can choose to donate it, or pop it up on Gumtree or your local Trading Post website and try to get some money for it. If it’s smaller items like clothes or kids toys, it’s nice to give these to charity.

It’s human nature to want to hold onto things, so I always advise when going through your possessions, to have a ‘revisit’ pile. These are pieces you know you should probably let go of but feel bad for doing so. Maybe it’s a project your son or daughter made in school decades ago, or a similarly adorable memento.

Why not take a photo of it, call them and talk about it, ask if they want it, and then let it go? This process can be a hard one, which is why it’s good to put these items in a revisit pile; you can come back to them a week later to decide on their fate, but it won’t interrupt the decluttering flow you’re currently in.

3. Calling in help
The piles you have will either be thrown away, kept or taken to charity/sold online. My advice is to call on friends or family to help with this part.

Your kids, nephews or nieces are a great help with all the online stuff. Let them upload photos of furniture you want to sell and have them manage the sale for you.

Other friends and family members can take things to the tip, to a charity shop, or donation bin. You’ve already done the hard yards, they can help with the final pieces of the puzzle.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks as I show you some great storage solutions for your kept treasured possessions – and good luck with your decluttering!

How do you manage to part with your unused possessions? Share your tips here!

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