The Ideal Home team have done their fair share of decluttering over the years and have gathered some handy tips and tricks to make the process as stress free as possible.
Clutter is one of those things that creeps up on you and you don’t fully notice until you’re stuck in spring declutter chaos and drowning in a mountain of clothes, toys and homeware that you haven’t used in years.
To stop yourself from being overwhelmed, set realistic and attainable goals. Don’t expect to be able to declutter your entire home in one sitting, take it room by room and before you start decluttering plan how you’re going to sort your things.
To make the task feel less like a chore, put on your favourite podcast or playlist in the background.
Give yourself enough time to sort through your things so you do it thoroughly and don’t miss any hidden cluttered corners.
Ideal Home editors’ decluttering tips
Ideal Home editors’ decluttering tips will refresh your home and give you back more space.
Heather Young, Editor in Chief
‘When it comes to keeping things clutter free once I’ve finished decluttering, I always come back to the ‘touch it once’ rule. This is a productivity-based tool that’s about only picking up a task once, and finishing it rather than keep coming back to it.’
‘Applied to your home, it means that instead of picking up clutter and putting it somewhere – for example dumping stuff on the stairs that needs to go upstairs, or putting dirty crockery next to the dishwasher rather than in it – you deal with it straight away.’
‘It definitely helps to prevent the build-up of clutter (we all know clutter breeds clutter), and so the house stays tidy for longer!’
Thea Babington-Stitt, Assistant Editor
‘When I don’t know where to start in dealing with the ephemera that seems to build up in my home, I take things right back to basics. A good jumping off point is whenever I leave a room I have to pick up at least one item and have to donate, tidy away or donate. It’s only a small step but becomes quite addictive. Then, before you know it you’ve decluttered your living room, bedroom or both.’
‘Top tip: when doing this, do not start a “to consider” pile as this will never be gone through and the sight of it will only add stress.’
Rebecca Knight, Deputy Digital Editor
‘I swear by categorising when decluttering – so instead of just working around the room I focus on one category at a time. So in the kitchen I’ll tackle baking supplies or containers in one go. It’s the easiest way to see what I actually have, and it also helps me tackle hard decisions like if a category has outgrown the space I have for it, or if I don’t already have a declutter-friendly storage solution, then it’s time to be more brutal.’
‘Get anything you’re getting rid of out of the house within a day, if it stays there or in your boot for more than a day you’ll find it creeping back into your house and be at square one all over again.’
Molly Cleary, Ecommerce Editor
‘Every so often I’ll dedicate a whole Sunday to a declutter. I’ll put all of the clutter and everything that’s living in storage out and throw it into one room. From there I make three piles, keep, throw away, and decide on.
‘Everything that needs to be thrown away either goes on Facebook Marketplace or is put in the bin. Then I spend time thinking about whether I need stuff in the decide on pile or not. I always clean all my storage spaces before I put the stuff I’m keeping back too!’
Julia Joson, Junior Writer
‘One of my top priority areas to declutter is always my wardrobe – honestly, I don’t know how I acquire as many clothes as I do year after year! My top way to declutter is to go through and take out pieces I haven’t worn or touched at all the year prior, and use this as a basis to assess which pieces are still worth keeping and which ones to donate. If I haven’t touched it all of 2022, I most likely won’t be doing so in 2023 either.’
‘I also like to digitally declutter at the start of the year. Going through my files on my computer, deleting my downloads, going through my emails and unsubscribing from mailing lists I don’t open. The same goes with my phone – going through apps I don’t use, deleting screenshots, and duplicate photos and videos.’
What to do with your clutter
Once you’ve finally made the decision on the items you want to keep and items you want to get rid of, be sure to dispose of them correctly. A tip to make this easier is to sort out your items into three piles while you’re decluttering, rubbish, recycle and donate.
Check your local recycling guidelines to ensure you dispose of items correctly and bring them to the correct centre. Some items may be in a good enough condition they can be donated to charity shops, family or friends, and could even be sold to make some extra cash.