How to declutter your home is one of the most popular questions as we head into the New Year.
Most of us are guilty of hoarding a tremendous amount of ‘stuff’ over the years that we simply cannot (or don't want to!) get rid of. Trouble is, once it starts to take up space, it can feel cramped and unorganized.
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Alongside knowing how to clean every room of your home, learning how to declutter your home will create a clean, minimalist space. What's more, decluttering is great for the mind and overall well-being, creating a calm and more productive environment.
While it can seem overwhelming when faced with a sea of mess, you can declutter your home with these six steps to get you started. Just remember the art of decluttering is a process, so don't rush to tackle every room at once!
Be it your living room, bedroom or home office, here's how to declutter your home for a happy and organized New Year.
How to declutter your home
1. Ditch, donate or sell
Start by getting rid of the items that you don’t need or use, and cull them once for all. The easiest way to do this is to sort your items into three categories — dump, donate and sell.
These three piles will make the culling process more organized. So chuck out the tatty and dated items you’ve held onto for that non-existent, ‘just in case’ day, donate to charity shops or to friends, or sell decent items online and make a bit of cash in doing so. The latter can be tedious, but there are various apps that make selling a lot easier from your phone.
And while it's easier said than done, try and be ruthless when deciding what to get rid of. “People who want to declutter their homes should use joy as the yardstick when deciding what to keep and what to discard”, advises Marie Kondo, founder of the Kon Marie, Japanese art of organising. In other words, only keep what makes you happy.
2. Invest in savvy storage
Now that you've cleared your excess clutter, invest in suitable storage. Modular storage or space-saving units are a great way to organize and put things in their rightful place.
If you have a small room, vertical bookshelves or units can be effective for maximizing your space. In addition, you can install 'floating' shelves like these OlarHike Floating Shelves ($19, Amazon) or make use of multi-functional storage options like ottomans or blanket boxes that can double up as seating. In addition, make use of baskets and boxes like these Woven Storage Baskets ($26, Amazon) to store those loose or smaller items.
3. Curate 'zones'
If you're always rummaging around for things or keep losing track of that favorite shirt, you'll need to create zones. Basically, categorize your items into separate sections to make things easier to find. Place 'like' items together, such as t-shirts, sweaters and partywear. or even categorize by color to help you find things more quickly. The kitchen can have specific zones for spices and condiments, baking supplies and kitchenware, while your office can have stationary compartments. Doing this will save time, and make life easier.
You can even zone up your freezer; "First, categorize your frozen items and then line them up within those categories within the freezer," advises Nikki Boyd, professional home organizer and author of Beautifully Organized. "The goal is to easily view all of your freezer products and easily grab and go."
4. Label where possible
One thing we don’t do enough of is labelling our things. It may seem time-consuming, but this will save you precious time in the long-run. How many times have you emptied out storage boxes and drawers searching for something 'urgent'? "Labels can be utilized to help maintain your home's organization," agrees Nikki Boyd, "[labels are] subtle prompts to encourage family members to return items to their appropriate places." Invest in a handheld label maker such as this DYMO Label Maker LabelManager 160 Portable Label Maker ($30, Amazon), to save you time.
If you don’t have time to manually label, there are a wide range of designated labels for storage available. We particularly like these AllSpice 208 Preprinted Water Resistant Bulk Pantry Labels Set ($15, Amazon). Plus, labelling can make the home look more fancy.
6. Hide ugly cords and cables
Be it phone chargers, TV cables or lamp cords, unsightly cables can make a space look cluttered. If you haven't read our ultimate smart home guide as yet, you can keep conventional cables tidy in each room. Hide and secure wires in a cable management box like this Cable Management Box ($35, Amazon), or use a socket outlet shelf with cable ports like this ALLICAVER Outlet Shelf ($10, Amazon) .
Bonus tip: Clear the coffee table
A coffee table is often the focal point in most living rooms. Yet these tend to get cluttered with a pile of mail, magazines, books or even our keys. Try to keep coffee tables as clear as possible by just placing the bare minimum on them. You could decorate with a couple of interesting books, a vase or a few coasters.
“Utilize the space beneath your coffee table,” suggests Nikki Boyd, “incorporate beautiful baskets or bins so you can easily tuck away toys, books or blankets.” The same applies to side tables or even book shelves that we automatically dump our things on. In addition, don’t go overboard with throw pillows or soft furnishings, as these can clutter a living space.