Does the thought of downsizing your home and decluttering your personal belongings send you into a tail spin? Is it something you have thought about but just keep putting off?
If you answered yes to these questions then you are not alone. Downsizing and decluttering can be a stressful situation but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Here are 8 effective (and easy) tips to get the process started.
1. Have a plan
It is important to have an idea of what you wish to achieve out of the downsizing and decluttering process. A book, diary or just a blank piece of paper is enough to put a plan in place. Or consider writing your ideas in your phone, there are lots of great apps that will make lists and notes. Another great tip is to start a Pinterest board with decluttering pictures and information; there are also checklists you can download. You wouldn’t drive from Brisbane to Sydney without a plan so having an idea of what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it is important.
2. Start small
Find an area of your home that is small and contained and start there; good examples would be the pantry, your DVD collection or maybe the bathroom vanity. You will be surprised how good it feels to look at your hard work and see a tidy, organised and decluttered surface looking back at you. It will inspire you to move onto another area!
3. Organise one room at time
Avoid tackling the whole house in one go and start with an area that you can close the door on if it gets too overwhelming. A spare bedroom is a great place to start if you are feeling swamped by the task in front of you. Set a goal to complete one room within a specified time frame. Everyone is different; for some this could be by the end of the day, other people may say by the end of the week. There is no right or wrong answer, it depends on your situation. Working methodically through your home however will ensure that the downsize and declutter process is as efficient as possible.
4. Fill a large garbage bag once per week
We are all guilty of leaving things that we know are rubbish laying around or stored in the clutter drawer (which is usually the bottom drawer of the kitchen). You know the items I mean; the keyring that is broken but sentimental, the junk mail on the dining table, the odd sock sitting on the laundry shelf, the mug with the broken handle that you are thinking of fixing. Now is the time to pop a large garbage bag in a corner and when you see these types of items be proactive and discard them.
5. Frame decisions as only yes or no
It is tempting to set aside something that you can’t decide upon into a ‘maybe’ pile but handling items once only will save you time and emotional energy. Banish the maybe pile and think in terms of only yes or no.
6. Have the supplies you need on hand
Make sure you have storage tubs, garbage bags, cleaning products, labels, scissors, bubble wrap etc basically whatever you think you are going to need to complete your decluttering task. There is nothing worse than being in the decluttering moment only to realise you need supplies to continue working. You will lose focus and momentum if you stop, it also takes time to pick up where you left off.
7. Ask a friend or family member for help
It is always good to have a second opinion and another set of hands helping with the tasks. You can put some music on and enjoy the day together. Decluttering doesn’t have to be boring or laborious; you can have a laugh together and reminisce about the memorabilia that you are sorting. Also morning tea is best enjoyed with company!
8. Move the items you are not keeping outside
It is tempting after a long decluttering session to pop everything that is being donated or given away in the spare bedroom, however, it is a good idea to move it out of the house. Putting the items in the boot of your car so they are ready to drop off is the best plan of action.
There is no right or wrong way to downsize and declutter your home; usually the hardest part is starting the process. Some people are decluttering as they are downsizing to a smaller place in the near future whilst others want to have a more minimalist feel to their space. There are important benefits to decluttering and letting go of clutter can be difficult, but the benefits far outweigh any negatives. Learn to let go of excess junk, and reap the benefits of a more minimalist life!