Four ways to declutter

Published: 04/03/2024

Even though it can add thousands to your selling price and give you more space to enjoy, decluttering can feel like a mountain to climb.

As well as the dilemma of where to start, it's easy to lose momentum when you're halfway through the process and your home looks worse than before you began.

However, if you find the right method for you, decluttering can elevate your surroundings and have great personal benefits, including a heightened sense of well-being, a clearer head, and even improved sleep.

With that in mind, we’ve been scouring the web for decluttering techniques to suit every mindset and lifestyle, and we've narrowed it down to a fantastic four (along with some bonus tricks):

  • The One Method
  • The Boundary Method
  • The Week-by-Week Method
  • The KonMari Method
  • Universal decluttering tips
Along with how each method works, we've listed the pros and cons so you can pick the one that's more your style. Whatever technique you choose, your sea of stuff will soon become a thing of the past.


THE ONE METHOD

Perhaps the easiest decluttering technique to master, The One Method uses the simple concept of getting rid of one thing every day until the job is done.

METHOD
Set your target each day, which could be anything from removing a single item to building a box of things to donate, or gradually filling a bag of rubbish.

PROS
A great way to create a habit with a low level of obligation, making it a perfect option if you’re easily overwhelmed, super busy, or often away.

CONS
Takes a long time to complete and see real results, so not that suitable for lifelong hoarders or larger homes.


THE BOUNDARY METHOD
If you’re looking for a decluttering technique where you can see immediate visual change without taking on a whole room, perhaps The Boundary Method is for you.

METHOD
Pick a single drawer, cupboard, shelf or box and set that as your boundary to work on. Separate the contents into keep, donate and chuck, then place each item you're keeping in its new permanent spot.

PROS
Removes bothersome eyesores like overstuffed wardrobes and drawers not closing. A swift little-steps solution that's perfect for clothes, bedding, towels and toys.

CONS
You’ll need to accept a degree of transition chaos as you relocate things to new places in your home before decluttering that area.


THE WEEK-BY-WEEK METHOD
For anyone put off by the thought of bitty and drawn-out decluttering, the Week-By-Week method could hold the answer by focusing on a single room for seven days until it's done.

METHOD
Select your room of choice and remove everything that doesn’t belong. Next, organise what you’re keeping into existing or new storage solutions, then finish with a cleaning blitz.

PROS
A focused and thorough method where you can both contain the chaos and use the joy of seeing a completed room as inspiration to begin the next.

CONS
Requires motivation and patience in equal measure to keep going for the whole week, or your room will become unusable. Could tempt you to close the door to forget the task.


THE KONMARI METHOD
With over four million books sold and two seasons on Netflix, Mari Kondo’s decluttering method shifts the focus from what to throw out, to what to keep that sparks joy.

METHOD
Pick a single category (t-shirts, books, toiletries, etc) and gather everything in it from around your home into one big pile. Hold each item individually and ask if it sparks joy. Only keep those with a yes, then repeat with the next category.

PROS
Absolute certainty that you’re keeping the right things by giving each of your belongings a special moment. Affects multiple areas of your home in one go and opens your eyes to any over-shopping habits.

CONS
Definitely not for the faint-hearted! The piles can feel quite overwhelming when you’re mid-method, and a session requires a good chunk of time - once you’ve started, you need to finish!


UNIVERSAL DECLUTTERING TIPS
Whichever decluttering method you choose, try these guiding principles to make your initial efforts more effective, and keep your home feeling fabulous.

  • Free up wardrobe space by hanging only the clothes you’ll wear this season and folding the rest into a suitcase or box until the season changes.
  • Create breathing space on surfaces by reducing crowds of photo frames, grouping cosmetics into containers, hiding kitchen gadgets that don't get daily use, and filing away paperwork.
  • Give every room a purpose to avoid them becoming dumping grounds and to show off your home’s full character and potential.
  • Have a designated place for everything so you’re not just moving piles around when tidying up, but returning items to where they belong.
  • Don’t declutter alone - make it a sociable and fun experience, from a family pizza party to a catch-up night with friends, or a spring-cleaning weekend with a partner.
Finally, if you're gearing up to sell but bursting at the seams with things you want to keep, rent a storage room and fill it with whatever you can live without for a few months.


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