Was it one of your New Year’s resolutions to declutter and get more organised? Now that the clocks have gone forward and the sun is streaming through the windows, are you starting to notice your stack of hibernation supplies piling up? When you live in a house share, the process of squeezing everything you own into a few square meters really is an art form, and you need to make the most of every inch. However, that doesn’t mean you need to cram things everywhere as if you were applying for a starring role on ‘Hoarders’.
Inspired by Stacey Solomon and her team on the new BBC programme ‘SORT YOUR LIFE OUT’, we have put together some decluttering tips to make your room, bathroom and kitchen allocation feel less cluttered, more organised and potentially even save you some money in the process.
SAVE THE DATE:
Sometimes when you are faced with a pile of junk, acknowledging it’s just a pile of junk is usually the first step. This means you are in the right headspace to start whittling down and only keeping what matters most. We are all guilty of putting things off until ‘next week’, but that week never seems to come. So, get a date in your diary and set yourself a clear deadline. This really helps focus the mind and get you energised.
GET IT ALL OUT:
Today is the day when you have finally set aside some time to go through your growing collection of stuff. Pulling out everything you own and putting it on the floor is great, but there needs to be method to your madness. Starting in one place, like your wardrobe or chest of drawers, will make it a lot easier to tackle and much easier to achieve what you set out to achieve. Take out everything… and we mean everything, even if you think it doesn’t look too bad.
Set aside 4 boxes, containers or spaces for items you intend on:
- 100% keeping
Once it is all out and you have good visibility of everything, have a good scan over and take stock of what you have. Keep asking yourself, what do I really want?… What could I let go?… Does it belong in this space?… Could it be recycled?… Could it go to a new home?… or, could it go in the bin as I’m 32 now and do I really need my year 8 geography book still?!
There are going to be items that you have assigned a sentimental value but really don’t need, don’t use, or perhaps don’t even like. Of all the habits that cause people to hold on to clutter, an emotional attachment to items such as gifts, souvenirs, and inherited trinkets is one of the hardest to beat. But as difficult as it is to surrender these items, you shouldn’t allow them to clutter your space if they’re becoming a stressor in your life.
Make sure you ask yourself, what exactly am I sentimental about? Chances are it’s not the object itself but its association with a person, place, or time. You can retain that memory without a physical object to remind you. However, if you truly love the item, then it’s not clutter and likely worth keeping.
People often keep items, not out of love or nostalgia, but rather guilt – which is an entirely unhelpful emotion when it comes to decluttering and getting organised. Don’t indulge feelings of guilt when evaluating sentimental clutter. Instead, objectively evaluate whether something is worth you holding onto it. Does it bring you joy?
REUSE, REHOME, RECYCLE:
Decluttering can make you feel great and so can making sure that your once cherished belongings are going to the right home.
Reusing and repurposing it a great way to create something new out of something that was unusable, yet retain its sentimental value. For instance, a collection of t-shirts that you don’t wear anymore but are from festivals or birthday parties can be turned into a stylish quilt. It’s worth the effort to create a unique and special item that does more than just collect dust.
Rehoming items is a great way of making sure someone else can love them just as much as you did. Whether it’s a pair of shoes, that overly loud jumper Gran got you for Christmas, or a stack of old DVDs, donating to charity shops is a great way of giving them a new lease on life.
Have a think about what items you are going to donate and where you might want to donate them. For example, your old MP3 player might be better suited to a shop that specialises in electrical goods. As simple way is to have a look on charityretail.org and get in contact with your local stores. Make sure you ring ahead and make sure you find out if they are taking donations and what days they take them.
Recycling is always better and stops any unwanted items ending up in landfill. In the UK an estimated 339,000 tonnes of unwanted textiles are sent to landfill every year, which is the same weight as 300 aeroplanes! From textiles to electricals there are recycling points all over the UK to make it easier for us to reduce our carbon footprint! Here are a few handy websites to find local recycling centres near you:
HOME CLEANING REMEDIES:
Whilst your items are out the way, now is a really good opportunity to get your ‘clean on’ and give everything a thorough going over. You don’t have to spend a fortune on cleaning materials to make a real difference. Here are some of our top tips to get the job done:
- Use an old CLEAN sock to dust those hard-to-reach areas, seriously! Wearing the sock like a mitt means you can get the dust lurking on the tops of blinds and wardrobes.
- Clean your blinds and skirting boards with tumble dryer sheets, the static in them helps lift the dust easier… if you buy the scented ones, it makes your room smell lush!
- Use lemons to remove water stains from the chrome-ware in your shower room. The acid in the lemon helps cut through the limescale. Use a dry microfibre cloth for a lovely streak free finish.
- Use a rubber tipped squeegee to remove hairs from the carpet… girls, you know what we are talking about!
- Fill a dish wand with half vinegar and half dish soap, and then get to scrubbing! You can also use an old sponge or toothbrush and just dip it into a cup of the same solution.
When living in a small space, clever storage is key. Making sure everything has its place and that it is easy to access when it is called upon is a necessity. Clever storage can not only help you save space but also money! By storing your items in a way that you always know what you have helps to reduce waste and prevent overbuying. We have put together a couple of lifesaving tips for getting the most out of the storage in your room:
- Decant your food items into clear stackable boxes: Stackable boxes are a space saver in your kitchen spaces. Items like cereals boxes take up an enormous amount of room. By decanting these items into clear containers, you are also able to easily see how much you have and therefore avoid the chance of over buying. We think THESE are great.
- Tension rods: Not always for putting up net curtains, these simple and inexpensive wonders are great for adding additional storage. Pairing them with curtain clips in your kitchen cupboard becomes a great way of storing packet mixes and sauces. Adding them into your shower room units allows you to hang your cleaning products on them. You can find them readily accessible ONLINE
- Try removable inserts in your drawer to give everything its place. They can hold your socks, underwear, and even face masks! Plus, THESE ONES are made of a mould-proof fabric for perfect storing nearly anywhere.
- Rolling clothes is a great space saver and allows you to pack way more into one drawer without it being messy.
- Always put your least used stuff at the This may seem obvious, but it is amazing how often we do not do this. This also works with clothes and accessories. Having a seasonal swap around is a fantastic idea to make sure you are not having to wade through woolly hats and gloves when you are looking for your sandals and shades. This can be done by utilising the space under your bed with fabric or vacuum sealed storage bags that’ll protect your things and maximize the area.
LABEL AND ORGANISE:
This may seem a bit overkill but having clearly defined spaces for your belongings will prevent items creeping back into mismatched piles of stuff. The most obvious would be your stackable clear boxes in your kitchen space. Knowing exactly what is in it and its best before / use-by date is only ever going to help cut down waste.
But there are less obvious places that a bit of healthy labelling could help keep you organised. Sorting your seasonal clothes in storage bags or boxes under your bed is a great idea, but a label will solve the mystery of what’s actually in it?
Using labels inside your wardrobe to break up your clothing into ‘professional and casual’ or even by items ‘T-Shirts, Shirts, Jumpers, etc…’ is a fool proof way of keeping your clothing organised.
Label makers are super affordable now and can be picked up for as little as £12. However, some masking tape and coloured pens do the job just as well and don’t cause damage if you need to peel them off.
So that’s our guide to ‘Sorting your life out’. We understand that sometimes decluttering and organising can be a daunting prospect, but we assure you that if you sharpen up on these simple pointers you will not look back. Happy organising!