Make Space for the things you love

Declutter meaning: to remove unnecessary items from an untidy or overcrowded place.

After all the indulgence of the festive season, the act of taking down the Christmas decorations and packing everything away gives you a good opportunity to reassess your possessions and think about decluttering.

Reasons to declutter your home 

It’s good for your mental health

Decluttering your home can have physiological benefits. If you’re stressed about how cluttered your home has become, it can lead to anxiety. The process of decluttering is likely to make you feel calmer.

You may find lost treasures

From old family photos to ornaments, you’ll be surprised at what you can uncover. Decluttering can be a great opportunity to bond with your family too. You may find heirlooms to pass on or old toys that can be given a new lease of life with your grandchildren.

You can help your favourite charity

Donating clothes, toys, books and bric-a-brac to charity is a great way to ensure your items are enjoyed by other people in the future, while raising money for a good cause. 

The best way to declutter your life

We asked three experts, Angela Butcher (AB) from Helping Hands for Hoarders, Charlotte Keen (CK) from and Lisa Pantling (LP) from Clutter Free Living for their decluttering tips. Here’s what they had to say:

What is ‘clutter’?

Angela: A collection of stuff that generally has no sense of order and isn’t needed. Clutter is something that creeps up on us and we may well even be ‘blind’ to it because it has been there a long time.

What are the most common items you come across? 

Charlotte: You’d be surprised at how many notepads I find. Some used, some half used and some with only a few pages written in. These can be donated to charity or paper recycling. 

How do you declutter your wardrobe?

Clothes are another popular form of clutter. I generally ask some stock questions when it comes to clothing, such as:

  • ‘Do you love it?’
  • ‘Does it fit you?’
  • ‘Do you already have more than you need of this item?’

My clients often tell me that they feel as if they have a whole new wardrobe after clearing their clothing in this way.

Some clothes can be on online selling platforms such as eBay, or donate to charity. If clothes have been heavily worn and you don’t think they can be resold, they can still go to a clothing bank for bulk recycling.

Should I get help with decluttering my house?

Charlotte: A professional declutterer may help you to focus on the task at hand. People often tell me that they would’ve given up if I wasn’t there. But, because we work together and we have a clear plan, they can bear it without feeling overwhelmed.

If you are thinking of going down the route of hiring a professional declutterer, it’s worth approaching someone accredited by The Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO). Find an approved declutter consultant near you

What are the best approaches to decluttering?

Angela: The best approach to decluttering is to start with the room furthest away from where you sit or sleep.

Always start in one room and work around it in a methodical manner. It is a very slow process as each item will potentially hold a memory that will need to be explored before an item can be discarded. If it is particularly difficult to decide about an item, put it in a pile and keep it for a week. If after a week you decide you don’t want it, then let go.

What should I do with sentimental items I don’t want to throw out?

Lisa: It’s a great idea to make a memory box for smaller sentimental items that you may like to look at occasionally in the future, but don’t want to have out on show all of the time. Plus, taking photos of items before donating them is also helpful - you preserve the memory without the items taking up physical space.

If you really can’t bear to part with some things, you may decide to store them in an attic or cupboard out of the way. But try not to fall into the trap of just storing lots of stuff away that is too hard to decide on.

What can I do to avoid clutter accumulating again?

Lisa: Do regular audits of your possessions, around once every three months. This keeps decluttering manageable and maybe even fun!

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Do you need  plates for twelve people if you only have room for six around the table?
  • Is your paperwork in order? Can you put your hands on anything you might need without having to go through lots and lots of out of date documents?
  • If you were out shopping today, would you buy those trousers? When was the last time you wore that jumper, and is that because you don’t really like it that much?

Finally, check your shopping habits

Do you panic buy or shop when you feel down? If that sounds familiar, look at ways to fill your time that don’t involve bringing stuff into your home. Write a list when you go shopping and stick to it.

If you’re really looking for a fresh start in 2021 why not consider the benefits of downsizing to a beautiful new home? Search McCarthy Stone retirement properties for sale or for rent now.

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