How to start decluttering your home

“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” –William Morris

From sprucing up your home to preparing for a move, everyone has a different reason for wanting to declutter their space. However, depending on how much litter you’ve accumulated, making a start can often be an intimidating task. That’s where we come in. Whatever your motive and regardless of how much stuff you want to get rid of, our handy step-by-step guide is sure to point you in the right direction. Before we get into it, let’s first take a look at some decluttering FAQs, as well as the many benefits that come with tidying your space.

Decluttering – top 3 FAQs

What is clutter?

Clutter can mean different things for different people. Is it mess that needs to be tidied and organised, or is it stuff in your house that should be thrown away? Let’s take a quick look at the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary definition of clutter to clarify:

“A lot of things in an untidy state, especially things that are not necessary or are not being used; a lack of order.”

So, clutter is a messy strew of objects and possessions, all of which probably don’t serve a purpose. Decluttering, therefore, is getting rid of useless things and instead focussing on keeping your space as orderly as possible.

Is decluttering the same as minimalism?

These two practises are very similar in that they both involve clearing away items no longer needed. However, decluttering is a specific task whilst minimalism is more of a lifestyle choice.

Learn more about minimalism here.

When should I declutter?

If you find yourself feeling swamped by messiness, it’s probably a good time to clear out the rubbish. The old maxim ‘tidy house, tidy mind’ has endured for a reason. Tidying your space is a great way to restore a sense of control and order that will, no doubt, have a positive impact on other areas of your life.

Benefits of decluttering

Decluttering offers countless advantages on both a practical and mental level, such as:

  • Change your mindset: living in a tidy space is said to improve mental clarity, reduce the risk of feeling overwhelmed and even boost your mood. After all, your home should be your sanctuary.
  • Save money: you’ll most likely stumble across old items that can be sold to online trade-in platforms like Zapper – a sure-fire way to make some extra cash whilst cleaning your space.
  • Fewer allergens: dust, mould and pet hairs could be hiding beneath the rubbish and decluttering will help you find these irritants and eliminate them – ideal for those with asthma or allergies.
  • Gain time: whilst decluttering itself can be a pretty time-consuming task, you’ll be saving plenty of hours in the long-run. Cleaning up and finding something you need will become more simplistic and considerably faster than before.   
  • Sleep easy: achieving a restful night’s sleep whilst surrounded by mess is difficult – you’ll find it much easier to get some shut eye in a tidy, peaceful space.  
  • Get your body moving: walking up and down the stairs to take out the rubbish, loading items into storage boxes and the post-decluttering deep-clean? That’s some serious cardio…

How to start decluttering: a step-by-step guide

1) Make an action plan

Before anything, it’s important to think about how you’re going to go about taking out the trash. The two-pile method is an old favourite. Two bin bags or boxes – one for things you’re going to keep, the second for things you’re going to discard of. We recommend going one step further and adopting the four-pile method; one for rubbish, another for keepsakes, the third for items that can be sold/donated and the fourth for recyclable items. However you tackle it, having a method fixed in your head helps prevent items getting mixed up – the last thing you want to do is throw something away by accident.

2) Get your supplies sorted

Now you have an action plan, you’ll be able to work out exactly what equipment you need before you make a start. Bin bags or boxes are always an essential supply when it comes to decluttering. It might even be worth purchasing different coloured bin bags or labelling your boxes ahead of time to make things that much easier. You might also want to think about rubber gloves and cleaning products to help reduce dirt.

3) Designate a place for paper

It’s worth buying or finding a small tray to put all the paper you stumble across in. You don’t want to waste time rifling through old letters and shopping lists, deciding which needs to stay and which needs to go. Save that as a task for later and set aside a paper tray for all the documents that have been collecting dust.

4) Pick a starting point

There are two ways to approach decluttering; dive straight into the messiest part of your living quarters or start small and work your way up. First, identify which area of your property needs the most attention and, equally, which is the tidiest. After that, it’s a case of figuring out how much time you have to complete the task. If you don’t have long, it’s perhaps better to begin in the space that’s least cluttered. Alternatively, if you’re setting aside a huge chunk of your day to tackle the job, why not jump into the biggest problem area first (you’ll probably thank yourself later!).

5) Blast the music

Once everything’s in place, it’s time to start decluttering. A good way to ease yourself into this job is to redefine it completely. Try not to approach it is as a chore, but more of a self-care activity. Put your headphones on and play an album you haven’t had chance to listen to yet. Play your favourite Spotify podcast or listen to one that’s been on your list for a while. You could even view the task as one big workout! Whichever way you wish to interpret this time, adopting a positive mindset can make decluttering easier and more enjoyable.

6) The deep clean

Congratulations – if you’ve reached step five, you’ve finished decluttering your home! Sit down, have a cup of tea and be proud. After you’ve taken some relaxation time for yourself, it’s a good idea to start cleaning up. Clutter and cleanliness are two very different things, so it’s important to wipe down any surfaces once the rubbish has been thrown out. Sweep up, vacuum and dust – do what you have to do to ensure your space is as clean as it is tidy.

Declutter for life – top 3 tips  

Like the look of your overhauled space? Well, here are a few easy-to-follow tips and tricks that are sure to help you maintain the neatness.

  • Throw out paper straight away: any junk mail or letters that drop through your door should be dealt with and recycled as soon as you’ve finished with them, preventing unnecessary pile-ups.
  • Shop mindfully: when making a purchase, apply William Morris’ logic and ask yourself – “is this item useful and/or beautiful?”. If the answer is yes, then go ahead and buy it! If in doubt, leave it on the shelf. This way, you’re less likely to spend money on useless things – saving cash & maintaining a clutter-free home in the process. Win-win!
  • Declutter everyday: keep on top of your home by setting aside 10-15 minute short bursts of tidying each day, giving you chance to throw out any clutter that might have crept in.

Sell your clutter with Zapper

So, you’ve finished decluttering and are positive about maintaining a clean home moving forward. But what are you going to do with your old DVD’s, books and electronics? Sell them with Zapper, of course! All you have to do is head over to our homepage or use the Zapper app to get an instant valuation on your old clutter. Simply send us your second-hand goods and we’ll have the money in your bank as quickly as you can say “Zapper”. Say goodbye to clutter and hello to cash – start trading with us today.

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