Clearing Out the Clutter

Whether you’re downsizing or just trying to tidy up, having a good clear out can be a great way to improve your home and help others.

Often homes have a lifetime of sentimental things in them, so deciding where to begin decluttering or how to attempt such a big task can feel overwhelming.

Focusing on the end result can be a great motivator, in the end your home will be clearer, safer, easier to clean and more organised so things will be easier to find. Here are some top tips for how to approach decluttering your home.

Keep, dump, donate, recycle and sell piles
Decide what you will do with the things you no longer need, and as you are decluttering put items into piles to keep, dump, donate, recycle or sell. Often knowing that your item will be re-used by someone who needs it, or will be recycled, can help you feel less wasteful about discarding it. Once you finish a section follow through with putting things in the bin, donating etc. The longer you leave things laying around before you discard them, the more likely you are to put them back into your home.

Declutter one section at a time
Choose an area to begin, it could be a room, or even just a cupboard. Ideally start in an area where you can never find anything, like the messy drawer – we all have one! Make sure you completely finish the area before you move on, pulling out things in every room will not only look messy, it will make the task much harder.

Get other people involved
Decluttering can be a big task so having a friend or relative who is less attached to the items you are reviewing can help you decide which ones you should keep. They can also just make the process more fun by giving you someone to chat to as you go.

Declutter before you move home or organise
If you’re moving, especially if you are downsizing, decluttering before you move saves wasted time and cost packing, moving and unpacking items you don’t really need. If you are decluttering and organising, make sure you clear out before you organise.

Review sentimental items last
It’s easy to lose hours looking through old pictures or items with precious memories. Put these items to one side and review these last. If an item has family significance, consider offering it to other family members. Items that have historical significance can be offered to local museums so others can see and enjoy them.

Celebrate what you keep
It can be very hard to choose which items you want to keep or discard, so as you go, make sure you take time to enjoy the things you’ve decided to keep. If it is a favourite picture, make sure you hang it where you can see it. Or if it’s a nice ornament you’d completely forgotten about, you might want to put in a prominent place in your home.

Most items can be re-used, donated or recycled. If you are thinking of decluttering yet are unsure where some of your unwanted items could be re-used, contact marketing@ech.asn.au and tell us what the item is. In the next edition of Keep Connected magazine we’ll publish a list of locations where you can donate or recycle items.