One of the reasons most people give up on decluttering is because they set themselves up to fail from the start. Like any good project there needs to be a clear plan, strategy & goal. No one wants to start on a journey without knowing where they are going and it should be the same if you want to declutter your home.
I have set out below some of the common mistakes people make when setting out on a decluttering project. if you are overwhelmed by your clutter then we need to make the decluttering process as easy as possible.
1: What is Your Declutter Goal?
Start with a goal in mind. Without that goal you may start full of enthusiasm, but that will quickly wane as you lose focus. So what do you want to achieve? Do Not make this goal too big. You may want to declutter your home as the ultimate goal, but break it down into smaller projects or you will quickly find yourself in overwhelm and disheartened when you fail to achieve you goal. Look around and decide what are the quick wins. These will give you a great boost and spur you onto the next area. Is it a make-up drawer, A wardrobe; Do you need your lounge clearing ? or the glory hole under the stairs. Choose your project and set the goal.
2: Preparation Is Key
Once you have your goal, don’t wade in there and pull everything out without doing your prep work 1st. Work out how long you think the job will take . If you don’t have the time to tackle it …don’t! you will end up throwing everything back in and feel worse than before you started. Assess what you will need for the job, boxes or bin bags, cleaning materials, and help, will you need help lifting and carrying.
3 Do Not Buy Storage Items Before You Know What You Need
tempting though it is to buy all the wonderful storage solutions on the market, resist the temptation to buy them before you have cleared you space. You have to look at what you have left at the end of the decluttering process and work out the best solution for the space you have available. I cannot tell you how many times I am presented with a wonderful array of boxes, baskets, jars and baskets that don;t fit in the space. complete waste of money.
4; Don’t Put It All back
You may put it all back and it looks neater, but what was the point of that? Decluttering means really taking a hard look at what you really want, need and use. Unless it is truly sentimental then it needs to fit one of those criteria. Neat as the cupboard may look, it is still clutter and won’t remain neat for long. So be brave and conciously remove items you no longer need.
5: Focus On One Area At A Time
Focus being the key word, don;t get distracted and wander off to do another cupboard or area. Keep on track and finish one job before you begin another. Seems obvious, but so many times I have seen people get in a real mess as they flit from one job to another.
That’s what I call it when someone declutters items into a bag for donation, but then that bag, which was in the car or garage never makes it to the intended destination and then creeps back into the house. Maybe because they needed to empty the car boot or because the children saw the bag of toys and decided they absolutely had to have them back to play with. All your hard work is undone. If you have a bag for the charity shop, get it gone! If need help getting things away from the house ask for it, but do not succumb to creep.
7: Don’t Get Distracted
Set yourself a time frame and tackle the job with gusto. It’s easy to start reminiscing over items, trying on clothes, testing out the nail varnishes, I guess in a way these are forms of procrastination. Do stay on point, because if you spend too much time reflecting on every item the decluttering process will take a lot longer and the danger is you will end up with a half finished job.
8: Be Realistic
There is no magic wand that will declutter your home in a few hours. To do the job properly you cannot rush it. It can be counter productive to expect your home to be transformed in 2 days, I refer you back to your goals, be realistic. But also if you need help, seek it. if there is a deadline such as a big family event or house viewing then enlist all the help you need and be clear about what you need
9: Choose Your Help Wisely
I’m a bit of a lone wolf when it comes to decluttering, but as mentioned above you have a looming deadline, then seek that help, but think carefully who you enlist. You don;t want someone who is going to distract your from your focus. Constant chatter, endless coffee breaks and following on behind you re-examining every piece of discarded clothing to see if it fits them ! Find someone who will take instruction, be focused on the task in hand and offer you that all important support. Be clear with what you want them to do and then let them get on with it. if you are constantly on their shoulder, you might as well do it yourself.
10: Is It Worth Something ?
This is a whole blog in itself, but I will briefly touch on this here. If you are decluttering and have items of value that you think you want to sell bear this in mind. To sell your items takes time and effort. You have to get the item ready to sell i:e clothes need to be clean, in good condition and photographed. You then have to choose where your going to sell these items. Are they a specialist item which would be advertised in particular groups, or is it just general. If selling online you have to create your listing with photographs, descriptions, sizes, etc. Then you have to monitor the listing, respond to queries negotiate and then if successful arrange for collection or delivery. All the while this item is still in your home with the potential for creep if it doesn’t sell. There is a amount of time and effort involved that you have to ask yourself can you be bothered ? Secondly I have found over many years that your expectation of somethings worth and what others are willing to pay can vary wildly so be prepared to be disappointed. Factoring in the time and effort be sure you can commit to selling the item, or would it be better donated? However always seek professional advice and valuation for more significant items. I am talking generally here about the more mundane items of life such as discarded toys, old clothes and bric a brac.
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