Time to Declutter

Clutter is a major issue for us.  Apparently I’m the clutterer, but in my opinion he has a clutter stash of his own.

I tend to believe that clutter is relative, your clutter may not be my clutter, ones trash is another’s treasure.  Sounds all too much like the clutterers code of conduct.  Since I have a plan to move in the not to distant future I’ve decided it might be about time we decluttered  and not just me.  However since I had this thought I did a bit of a search on the internet and found there are a lot of hints and tips, it seems I may not be a minority.

So I decided to look into what clutter is and how I can minimise it.

What is Clutter?
The way I see it, clutter is the accumulation of a lot of things we don’t need, or don’t use on a regular basis.  So under my definition old photos and memories could be regarded as clutter, therefore we need to exclude things of sentiment.  However for some this “sentiment” goes way too far.  For example do you keep a cup someone once drank from?  I have a lot of items from relatives who have passed, but I would like to think I have kept it to a practical sense.

Items of Sentiment
I have heard a suggestion that you should take photos of sentimental items you don’t really want to part with, but would never use and just takes up space you don’t have.  I think with all the technology and social media sites, like pinterest, facebook etc this is a good point.  Even making a scrapbook, and having it digitalised I think is an awesome idea, because you can have the item is real form, but have a back up just incase.

I might use that some day
The “I might use that some day” items, these are items we will never use, but don’t want to part with.  The “I might use that some day” is the excuse we use to others who want to take it away.  I have this problem with things like old phones, and text books that I’ve spent a lot of money on.  I have an idea to combat this issue which is usually acceptable.

Lack of Organisation
We begin to clutter when things aren’t organised and we don’t have a place for everything, imagine if your house had no storage what-so ever.

How to Eliminate Clutter
Decluttering will be different from household to household.  I find it easier to get all motivated and go from room to room, however my clutter is never really that far out of control.  Some people may need to take a week and declutter a room at a time  it all depends on how well you get motivated.  It certainly feels like a much easier job when you can do a little bit at a time.

I like to start in the easiest places.

Bathroom
I find this one of the easiest places to start.

  • Shower/Bath
    • Eliminate old shampoo, soap, conditioner, razors – anything that doesn’t need to be there
    • If you use a non-slip mat that never gets any attention, use this time to wash it (personally I don’t like them because they are just a place to harbour mould, but when it comes to kids safety comes first) so make sure you have somewhere you can hang it to dry – however if you have a non-slip mat that never gets used THROW IT OUT
  • Sink
    • Throw out old soap dispensers and anything else that doesn’t need to be there
  • Cabinet
    • Throw out old toothbrushes
    • Throw out old products you no longer use
    • Remove broken hair clips and accessories
    • Anything that hasn’t been used in a month must go
  • Toilet
    • Throw out old toilet rolls
    • Remove old air fresheners

Kitchen

  • Kitchen Benches
    • Put away appliances, placing the ones you don’t use as much to a corner of the cupboard and as you use it move it to another place in the cupboard and in 6 months see what’s left in the corner and that can probably be re-homed
  • Fridge
    • Throw out old food
    • Use containers to store food where possible, this makes the fridge look tidier, but also makes things easier to find
    • Throw out old sauces that don’t have much left in them
    • Throw out broken containers – if it doesn’t have a good seal it’s no good to you
  • Kitchen Cupboards
    • Throw away old items and utensils you no longer use, if you have something that you put in the “I might use it someday” category then grab a container and put all the other utensils and items in there and re-evaluate this box in 6 months time

Laundry

  • If you have an epic linen collection it’s time to cull.  Throw out anything you can’t recall using, and re-arrange cupboard to create a shelf to place things as you use them, so you can see what hasn’t been used
  • Throw out old towels that are wearing thin, or that have holes in them.  Towels are so easy to come by if you find you are low
  • Throw out old cleaning products
  • Throw out old buckets, lets face it, you only really need one
  • Throw out old mops, brooms, dustpans, rags

Lounge Room

If you’re like me and don’t like the room to be cluttered the only items you truly need in the lounge room are furniture.  Anything beside the tv unit, lounges/lounge chairs, ottoman, coffee table and maybe a dvd rack must go.  If you have a small house you might have an accumulation of toys or a desk.  If you can find them a home that would be best, but if not my up-coming post on organising the house might help with these problem areas.

  • Sort through dvds – re-home the ones you no longer like or watch
  • Re-home games that no longer get played
  • Throw out old VCR’s and DVD players that don’t work

Bedrooms

Personally I don’t like to have too much in my bedroom.  The cupboard, a bed, bedside tables, maybe a small tv unit if the tv isn’t mounted, if there is a tv in there.  I like to get things up, I like the idea of a small shelf to house the books you’re currently reading, and if I had a large/huge bedroom I would love to have a reading chair (but I leave that with my future dreams to have a mini library/sewing room, maybe a loft).

  • Clean out bedside tables – empty the top drawer into the bottom drawer and as you use something move it up to the top drawer, use this to figure out what must go if you can’t do it
  • Clean out your wardrobe
    • Turn all clothes on coat hangers back to front, as you wear something turn it around, if you went the whole season without wearing something it might be time to re-home it
    • Try to keep your cupboard for clothes and not a secret stash
    • I will post ideas soon about organising your wardrobe
  • Kids rooms
    • Ensure they have ample storage
    • Throw out any toys they don’t use or that is developmentally outdated for them

Study/Other room

  • Throw out old office utensils ie pens that don’t work
  • Try and remove everything off your desk that you don’t need (excluding computer, a few pens) everything else should be in a drawer
  • Take this time to shred unwanted documents
  • Throw out or re-use old cd programs (old cds make great coasters when decorated correctly)

 

Garage/Shed

This is the area the man always gets into the most strife for.

  • Eliminate any tool that does not work – has cobwebs on it or that looks generally like it’s not been used in 5 years
  • Consider organising things – I will have some hints and tips upcoming
  • Old mowers, whipper snippers must go
  • Anything broken must be removed
  • Have a garage sale and sell any old toys, old items, anything of value you found in the house that you no longer need, old garden furniture

I’m sure there must be some things your house has that I haven’t thought about here.  But, I think if you stick to the general rule that if you have something you don’t use and can’t justify keeping – then it’s CLUTTER!

When I declutter I like to use the opportunity to get the house all organised at the same time, as organisation defies clutter.  Keep an eye out for a post about organising the house, to keep it clutter free.  Try and remember that if it doesn’t have a place and a practical use then it’s probably clutter.

And finally…  Triple think about something you’re about to bring into the house.
Use the 3 Do’s:

  • Do you need it or want it?
  • Do you have somewhere to put it?
  • Do you think it might become clutter?

These questions can be applied to anything, including clothes when you go shopping.

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About myhousewifelifeblog

I am a nurse by trade, and a traditional "de facto" housewife by nature. Constantly seeking a more organised existence. I like to cook, sew and play my keyboard. I try to keep my house organised but I've not yet mastered this, and I am endeavouring to reach my image of ultimate organisation at home. I'm not sure if it's possible, but I'll give it a go.
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