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Homelife: Is it finally time for a major declutter?

What do you see when you look around your home? Is it a case of a place for everything, and everything in its place? Or is it more of a completely jumbled mess?

Whilst most of us are only too aware that our homes could do with a major declutter, did you know that clutter can also cause stress? One study found that participants who believed their homes were cluttered had much higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who did not. 

It can also be more difficult to focus and remember things if you are surrounded by clutter, because the working memory of your brain is only wired to keep track of a limited amount of information at once and can get overloaded when there’s too much stimulus happening.

Not only can clutter cause stress, but it creates more cleaning which can make you embarrassed to have guests in your home if you are not keeping up with this. It can also become a safety hazard, if there is a risk either of stuff falling on you or you falling on it.

So if your home is full of clutter, there are lots of good reasons to do something about it!

Putting a positive spin on things, many people have heard of decluttering guru Marie Kondo – a Japanese author who created the KonMari method of tidying up. The KonMari method is based on the concept of only keeping items that “spark joy”. Rather than choosing what to discard, choose what to keep. And by only keeping the items that speak to your heart, the claim is that you can reset your life so that you spend it surrounded by the things that you love the most. 

But if you do want to declutter your home, where do you start? We’ve put together a five point plan to help you get things moving:


Make time to do a proper job

Rome wasn’t built in a day, they say, and if you are serious about decluttering you need to set aside some serious time to do it properly. Treat it like any other commitment, and lock in some time in your calendar to get it done. This is really important, because if you just have a vague intention to declutter and make a start rather half-heartedly, you are likely to give up before too long.


Plan your decluttering strategy

As well as knowing when you are going to get on with the decluttering, it’s a good idea to plan how you want to do it. For example, some people prefer to tackle one room at a time, but others have found that decluttering a category of items – for example clothes, books, electrical items etc – in different rooms throughout the home is a more effective approach.

Whichever way you go about it, it’s also a good idea to earmark a space where you can temporarily store stuff that you are getting rid of. A “holding area” – for example in a spare room, garage, or shed. Otherwise it can feel as if you are simply moving piles of stuff around from one place to another and messing up an area you have just finished clearing.


Be completely ruthless

It will really help your decluttering efforts if you are completely ruthless. Don’t dither. Adopt the mantra “if in doubt, out”.

Think of the KonMari concept of sparking joy. And if an item is not either useful or beautiful, why keep it in your home?

One idea that can help you be more ruthless is to allow yourself a temporary “pending” category. If you are really torn about whether to keep or get rid of something, rather than waste time trying to decide, put it in a pending box or bag in your holding area. Then set a deadline for your pending items, perhaps a month. And anything you don’t either miss or need within that time has got to go.


Reorganise your storage space

Decluttering is also a golden opportunity to really sort out your storage space. When wardrobes, cupboards and drawers are empty, you can give them a really good deep clean before putting stuff back in again. Or you may decide that now is the time to get new storage items anyway, for a completely fresh start.

Whatever you do, when you put items back into your storage space, do it logically and intelligently. Think about the best way of storing each item, and make sure that the items you use most are all easy to reach without having to fight your way through a load of other stuff first.

In fact, just visualising how amazingly fresh, neat and easy to access your storage areas will look once you finish your decluttering is an incredible motivating factor to keep going.


Redistribute your unwanted items carefully

Another aspect of the KonMari method of decluttering is to give careful thought as to what to do with the things that you are getting rid of, sometimes to the extent of thanking the item for its service to you before it moves onto pastures new.

Add to this the environmentally-friendly aim of avoiding landfill where possible, and it makes sense to redistribute your unwanted goods carefully. Some potential options to consider are:


We hope that the information in this article has helped you prepare for your major declutter. And, of course, once you have decluttered the key thing is to keep on top of things so that the clutter does not build up again, perhaps by doing a mini declutter of one room or category every month. 

Good luck with it all, and do check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from direct lender Munzee Loans.