Decluttering an overflowing home and getting your ‘stuff’ organised may be a modern-day first world problem, but it’s undeniably a great way to create a calmer and more peaceful atmosphere in your home. Harness the chaos with some tried and tested tips and strategies and admire the order thus restored, learning to appreciate the new-found space as well as the belongings that you have chosen to keep.
But how do you do it properly? Whether you declutter a bedroom or living room, it’s easy to go about it the wrong way. I spoke to a renowned bedroom and furniture specialist to help identify 5 easy mistakes that everyone seems to be making when it comes to having a clear out at home.
1. Buying new storage first
It can be tempting to go out and buy plastic storage crates, wicker baskets, pretty storage boxes and quirky containers in anticipation of the task ahead. Don’t get ahead of yourself – do the work, then go shopping. It is only when you know how much ‘stuff’ you’re keeping that you have a clear idea of the type of storage containers that are most suitable, where they need to fit in the room and how many you need to get.
The last thing you want is a pile of empty, albeit attractive, containers cluttering up your home while you figure out what you can use them for – now that would be a backwards step!
2. Taking on too big a task
Decluttering is hard work – it takes up a lot of focused energy and attention to make important decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of. Be aware of your limitations and don’t set yourself up for failure. Rather than spending the whole day clearing out the entire house, losing motivation after a few hours or giving up halfway through, dissatisfied and exhausted, make it a policy to only ever commit to tackling a room at a time.
Set aside 2-3 hours maximum to declutter, say, one bedroom, and then enjoy feeling good about having accomplished the task. It’s a small success but one that will motivate you to do more.
3. Not finishing the job
Having a clearout is more than likely going to involve sorting things into categories and making fast decisions. You may have one bag for rubbish, one for charity donations, one for things to give to friends, a box for stuff to sell or for keeping things in the loft, and so forth. Make sure you dispose of your bags/boxes straight away: put the rubbish bag outside and the box in the loft, take the charity bag to the charity shop etc. without delay.
You’ve done all the hard decluttering work, so don’t jeopardise the result by hanging on to the stuff that needs to go. Do it now, finish the process!
4. Thinking it’s a one-off task
Undoubtedly, having decluttered and organised your space feels good but it would be naïve to think that it will stay that way forever. For now, you’ve successfully created some breathing space in your home and a new, efficient and logical system for managing any new items that might be coming in. Now comes the tricky bit: the maintenance.
Depending on who you believe, it can take anywhere from 21-66 days for a new habit to become embedded. This means meaning that you have to purposefully practice the upkeep of your new regime until it becomes second nature, and probably have another declutter in a couple of months or so to keep on top of the new order. And perhaps another one after that.
5. Expecting perfection
Take a look at any interiors showroom and you’ll find that there’s never any clutter – that’s because no-one actually lives there! In real life, stuff happens, so it would be unrealistic to expect your home to look immaculately decluttered and perfectly tidy all the time.
Rather than chasing an impossible dream which can ultimately only lead to disappointment, learn to accept that good enough is good enough. The goal is to create a cosy environment that works well for your needs but still feels like home.
This a guest post, provided by Content Writer, Dakota Murphey
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