If you are thinking about downsizing and swapping your large family home for something smaller and more manageable, then chances are you might be feeling overwhelmed about how to possibly fit all of your belongings into a reduced space. This is where decluttering comes in, helping you to trim down your belongings to those you really need and love.
Even if you’re not yet ready to move, decluttering can also help you to make the most of the space you’ve got, after years of collecting clothes, photographs, trinkets and other collectables. And while it can be difficult to let go of your cherished belongings or to even know where to begin sorting everything out, Starts at 60 has pulled together a list of the best ways to declutter your house.
Decluttering your home is no easy feat and for many people – particularly those who live in bigger homes – it can take days, weeks or even months to sort through every room in the house. So the best place to start is to decide on a timeline you want to stick to before you to begin the decluttering process.
It may be something as small as sorting out that drawer or cupboard that’s been overflowing for a while, or tackling larger areas such as a bedroom, kitchen or garage. But simply knowing what you want to have done, and when, can really help with the process.
You should also know exactly what you want to do with the items you no longer need. If they can still be used, consider offering them to friends, donating to the local op shop, selling them in a garage sale or even selling them online via websites such as Gumtree or eBay.
This could be achieved by starting up separate piles for items that need to be donated, items you’re keeping, items you want to sell and items that can be thrown away.
Japanese organising consultant and author Marie Kondo took the world by storm earlier this year with her Netflix series Tidying Up. One of her key tips was to question whether an item ‘sparks joy’ and if it doesn’t, it’s a sign that it’s probably something you don’t need to hold on to.
When sorting through your wardrobe, Kondo suggests laying all your clothes on the ground and asking if any of them spark joy. If they do, they should be kept and if they don’t, they should be donated or thrown away. While Kondo has specific processes for dealing with each area of your home, the ultimate question still remains to be, ‘Does it spark joy?’.
Think about whether an item that’s been sitting in your garage or closet for years is something you really need. For example, if you’ve got a set of bed sheets that haven’t seen the light of day in years, a broken lawn mower that you will “get around to fixing one day” or a dress that you’ve been saving “just in case”, question if there really is a possibility of using them again or if they are simply taking up space.
And, where items are still in a good condition, know that you could be giving them a new lease of life and that someone else could get use or happiness from them.
If you’re not prepared to completely let go of an item, question if there’s a way you can keep it but use it in a different way. If you’re a genius on the sewing machine, stitch old baby clothes, pieces of embroidery and other treasured textiles into a quilt.
Postcards and photos can be scrapbooked or presented neatly in photo albums, while you may be able to transform old or broken furniture into something new and exciting.
While no one wants to part with their lifetime of memories, photos and documents, technology has made it easier than ever before to reduce clutter by digitalising these items. While you’re still going to need hard copies of important documents such as your birth certificate or passport, consider scanning photos to a computer or digital file.
Similarly, streaming services have made it easier than ever before to easily access music, movies and even books online so you may no longer need those DVDs, CDs or novels that have been gathering dust in the corner for years.