Decluttering at home is not as easy as it sounds. There is a lot of emotions attached to the things we keep and it can feel like a little part of us is dying each time we throw something away.
Years ago, I burst into tears like someone had died after my boyfriend broke my favourite teapot…Does this sound familiar?
That being said, having a de-clutter at home, and finding clever storage solutions to minimise stuff around the house, makes a home feel instantly cleaner, brighter and bigger.
Here is a sneak peek into my own home, which is clutter free (most of the time!), and some ideas to help you de-clutter and store smartly.
- Pharmaceuticals: take anything that is out of date, opened or was a one-off treatment to the chemist. Your first aid kit should fit in a shoe box.
- Free samples: throw away all the samples you’ve been collecting for months especially face samples. If you don’t want to throw them away, challenge yourself to not buy new creams, shampoos or body lotions until you’ve gone through all your samples.
- Cosmetics: wash your make-up bag and throw away anything you haven’t used in 6 months (lipstick included! If you haven’t used it, it’s probably not the right colour for you).
- Store things upright: containers that fit on those shallow shelves are game-changers when organising your bathroom cabinet. They save space and are great to keep together toothbrushes, nail clippers, and keep small items like hair ties from magically disappearing. Anything that doesn’t fit in your bathroom cabinet has no space in your home full stop.
- Get rid of any duplicate items (corkscrews, butcher knives). Do you really need five mixing bowls and four water jugs in your cupboard? Duplicate items will never be missed. You may be keeping hold of them for when your son/daughter goes off to University or buys their first home, but realistically this could be years from now. To free up some shelf space now consider renting a small self storage unit* to keep them safe until that day.
- Keep your kitchen counter clear. If somethings is left on your worktop, ask yourself how often you use it on a weekly basis. If you don’t use it often, store it. If you rarely use it, dispose of it. Yes it’s great to have a fondue set, a 12-people raclette set or an ice-cream maker but how often do you pull it out of the box. If it’s once a year, sell it on Ebay and go and eat your fondue at the restaurant.
- Glassware/tableware: get rid of any chipped glasses.
- Plastic boxes: Tupperware and plastic boxes from take-aways meals are practical but do you really need a drawer full of them? Probably not! Keep one per family member max & bin the rest.
- Wardrobe: empty your full wardrobe and sort out your clothes in 3 piles: things you love & wear, things you love but don’t wear, things you don’t wear. No 1 & 3 will be easy. For no 2, put everything in plastic bags and store them away in your garage. If you haven’t thought about any piece of items in these bags for 3 months, take the bags down to a charity store. Give yourself more wardrobe room for ten months of the year by storing seasonal items like skiing gear at a self-storage facility.
- Furniture: keep it minimal and avoid having a chair, that’s where everyone dumps their clothes. At the end of the day, clothes should either be put away or throw in laundry basket.
- Books: limit the number of books on your bed side table to one. If you’ve read them, they go back on the shelves.
A few rules I swear by…
- Make sure everything has a home: store spare batteries & bulbs together, books on shelves not by your bed.
- If you are re-decorating, package everything up beforehand and rent a self-storage unit for the duration of the disruption. This leaves more space at home and means you can be safe in the knowledge that your items are safe from paint, heavy lifting and any potential bangs and scrapes.
- Aim to have integrated wardrobes or kitchen units from floor to ceiling to maximise storage space.
- Sort out bills & other important papers once a month and shred anything you no longer need to keep paper clutter to the minimum.
- For those things don’t have a place at home for now, but you just can’t part to bear with (like your mother’s desk or grand-dad’s violin), store them safely at a storage facility, ready to be rediscovered in years to come.
*Shurgard Self-Storage has units from 10 to 240 square feet and offers £1 storage for the first month for first time users. T&C apply.
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