Life

Friday 17 January 2020

Decluttering top tips...

Start small and take your time, says Mary Conroy

Mary Conroy
Mary Conroy

It can be a daunting prospect, deciding to declutter your possessions. The secret is to break it down into manageable tasks. So don't tell yourself that you're going to clear out the garage next Saturday afternoon; instead, start with something smaller, like your desk or a corner of the garage.

Commit to a maximum of two hours to the task initially. Break that down even further by decluttering for a sustained period of just 30 minutes, setting a timer on your mobile phone. After 30 minutes of decluttering, take a small rest, even if it's just to grab a glass of water or pop to the loo.

Before you start, clear enough room for four piles of objects within easy reach of the area being decluttered: 'Keep', 'Donate', 'Recycle' or 'Trash'.

Starting at the top left-hand corner of the area being decluttered, remove each item and ask yourself: 1. Have I used it within the last year? 2. Would I buy it if I saw it in a shop now? 3. Do I have a 'home' for it?

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If the answer to at least one of these questions is 'Yes', place it in the 'Keep' pile. If the answer is 'No', decide whether it should be donated, recycled, or go in the bin.

As you go, remember that this is not a sentimental journey. It would be unreasonable to expect you to throw out your dearest keepsakes - but the emphasis should be on the word 'dearest'.

Make a call on which items mean most to you, and place them somewhere safe or perhaps turn them into a piece of art, for example, frame old wedding photos.

Fight the 'Just In Case' impulse that strikes when you find rarely used items. The guide book to London that you bought in 2013? It's already out of date. The dress that's a size too small? By the time I've slimmed down enough to fit into it, it will have gone out of fashion. Let them go now.

Realise that anything that isn't serving a purpose for you or that doesn't make you happy (or 'spark joy', to borrow Marie Kondo's phrase) is taking up valuable space in your home, which after all is supposed to be your sanctuary from the world.

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