Spring has sprung and while that means plenty of people will be heading outdoors to enjoy the sunshine and warmer weather, it’s also a great opportunity to tidy things up inside and declutter your home with a spring clean. This is particularly important if you’re thinking about downsizing and swapping the large family home for something smaller and more managable.
Whether it’s getting everything in order in case you do decide to move house or simply trying to make the most of the space you’ve got, there’s no denying that the years of collecting clothes, photographs, trinkets and other collectables can cramp your style.
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 is looking at the best ways to declutter your house.
Decluttering the house is no easy feat and for many people – particularly those living in a bigger home – it can take days, weeks or even months. Decide on a timeline you want to stick to and work out the best way for you to start the decluttering process.
It may be something as small as sorting out that drawer or cupboard that’s been overflowing or tackling a bigger area such as a bedroom, kitchen or garage.
Also know exactly what you want to do with the items you no longer need. If they can still be used and you don’t need them, consider offering them to friends, 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 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 messages was questioning whether an item ‘sparks joy’ and if it doesn’t, it’s a sign that it’s probably something you don’t need to keep.
When sorting through your wardrobe, Kondo suggesting 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 whether something sparks 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 downsizing, moving to a retirement village or simply moving to another location, question whether certain items are going to be necessary or essential in the new stage of your life. Ask yourself if you use the item, the impact it has on your life and if it’s really going to be worth the effort and cost of transporting it to your new location.
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.