Clutter isn’t only annoying – it’s been proven to have a negative effect on mental health and can also add to additional stress. Clutter is a bit like a magnet, drawing more and more mess to it, until one day your home looks as though it’s been adopted by a hoarder. As a parent with kids running around (both teenagers and small) you quickly realise that if you don’t have a plan to nip clutter in the bud, you are going to end up drowning in mess.
Here are five simple tips to help get you started and on your way to a calm and clutter-free home.
Treat your items as if you were a stranger to them
While it sounds like a simple concept, it’s actually pretty challenging, even for most adults. Studies have shown that we have emotional attachments to many of the objects that we have in our homes, particularly those that are in some way related to our self worth or are related to unique and meaningful memories.
If you are serious about decluttering your home, then it’s best to approach the items in your house as if you were a stranger, preceding any emotional attachments that you might have. If you find that you are struggling with this, invite a friend over and ask them to help you with their emotionally unattached eyes!
Sort out what you want vs what you actually need
Our current culture is so focused on material items and constantly having more and more that it takes some work to shift this mindset and come to terms with the fact that we probably don’t even need half of the things that we have in our homes. They are nice to have, sure, but do we really need them?
Try to look to minimalism to help you through the process, which is more about being mindful of our shopping habits and leaving us only with the things that bring us joy.
When going through the different rooms in your house, you need to decide if an item is really needed and is it actually loved or enjoyed, or if it’s just there for the sake of it. Depending on what it is, maybe it could be donated where it can find a new home and bring a need and joy to someone else.
Include the things outside your home
A cluttered house first starts outside of the home. A cluttered garden, shed or garage is often the gateway to a messy interior further down the line, so try and nip it in the bud as soon as possible to save you a headache later on. Ask yourself questions such as, how often will I use this? And, will I have enough space to store it? If you find yourself with bigger outdoor items that you do not have the storage for and need, such as lawnmowers, paddling pools, specific garden equipment etc. it might be worth looking into extra storage solutions. This will make your life easier and outdoor space neater!
Everything needs a home
Leaving items out makes the home look very cluttered – even if it’s just visually. Every single thing that is in your house should ideally have a home and somewhere to live. If this isn’t a cupboard or a drawer and you are sure you want to keep this item, then think about investing in some new containers. Use clear, white or wicker containers to make your space look crisp and clean, while also brightening it. Organise these by size and also make sure to have containers which are larger and visually heavier, closer to the ground, while placing smaller ones higher up. This results in a more unified and visually gratifying look and feel to your rooms. Remember to be cutthroat – if you find that you are struggling to make a home for something, then it has to go.
Remember to make sure that your storage is organising the things that you love and need, rather than being a quick fix for items that don’t really belong in your home anymore.
When it comes to shopping
Before you even go to the shops, really think about what you need and make a shopping list before going out. Make sure to stick to it when shopping, and only purchase the items on your list as these are the ones that are needed.
Remember that just because something is on sale or on offer that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to buy it, especially if you have absolutely no need for the item. Lastly, be smart and avoid your trigger shops where you know that you will be tempted to make impulse purchases that you might later regret.