Occasionally we let our possessions get the better of us, and when that happens, it’s hard to know where to start to claw back control. But with a little determination, you can establish a plan to de-clutter, winning back peace of mind – and best of all, a whole lot of wonderful free space!
Here we give you our top 10 de-cluttering tips, and a few simple ideas to get your lost room back in the land of the living.
1. Set a deadline. A goal will keep you motivated to finish the job.
2. Get organised. Enlist helpers for heavy work and maybe a couple of friends to spur you on. Get a good supply of garbage bags, and if you know there’s a huge amount of rubbish, hire a skip. Contact your local charity to see if they’ll come to collect your stuff. And check the date of your next council cleanup and time your big clear-out to coincide with it.
3. Sort things out. Choose a large area and divide it into four sections. The first section is for things to be thrown out; the second for things to go to charity; the third for things to be sold; and the fourth for things to keep.
4. Listen to music. Your favourite upbeat tunes will keep you motivated while you work.
5. Work quickly. Decide immediately which pile something should go in. If you find yourself wavering over a decision, leave it and move onto the next thing. As the piles build up, you’ll get a terrific sense of achievement. Come back to the harder things later.
6. Toss it out. Lots of us hoard broken items because we’re going to fix them later – chuck them out. If you haven’t fixed them by now, it’s just not going to happen, is it? There will also be things that you haven’t seen for years. If you’ve been able to do without them for this long, chances are you’re not going to miss them. Out they go.
7. Stay focused. Avoid spending time poring over old photos, diaries or love letters. Pop them in a box for sorting later.
8. Be ruthless. It can be hard, but try to remain unsentimental. You don’t need to keep every painting your child ever did. Try photographing the artworks and saving them to disk.
9. Pass it on. If something has given you pleasure but you really no longer need or want it, imagine the pleasure it will give someone else.
10. Remember the reward. It’s easy to become dispirited and give up. Try to visualise the space you’re going to have and how good it will look. If you have things to sell, think about what you might spend the money on.
Once you've completed steps 1 to 10, it's time to to make the most of all the space you just gained:
1. Completely clear your room, give the walls and floor a good clean and finish off with a fresh coat of paint to transform the space. Now that the walls and floor are looking great, it’s time to rediscover your forgotten pieces of furniture, replace them creatively and turn your new-found space into a beautiful living room.
2. Organise important pieces into interesting displays.
3. Use new, inexpensive cushions to give colourful highlights to any old pieces you’ve rehabilitated.
4. In your cleared room, show items so they can be seen and appreciated to their best advantage.
5. If you’re feeling the job is just too big, you don’t have to go it alone. Expert help is available. Type ‘professional organisers’ into your internet search engine and you’ll find a range of services in your area, dedicated to helping you get organised.