Decluttering Tips - get rid of the rubbish, get rid of the dross and take a fresh look at your home -and maybe your life!
Once you have your home sorted into better order, your life may well follow on the same route.
Well, that’s the theory and it's certainly worth a try.
Clutter can happen for a variety of reasons.
Too much happening in your life?
Too disorganised? Or, perish the thought, just too lazy?
No matter what the reason, if you start using our decluttering tips you will benefit from the results. You will probably save money and time because your life should become easier.
Money because you will doubtless come across items that have been ‘lost’ and you thought would have to be replaced, and time because all your items will be in the right place and easily accessible.
The old saying - Out of sight, out of mind- dates from way back in the 1500’s, so there was probably decluttering that far back.
WHERE TO START?
There are two differing views here - either start or end at the kitchen. The writer prefers ending in the kitchen because in the process of decluttering the rest of the house, the final destination of all suspect items is usually the kitchen. The choice is yours.
Take everything out and when the fridge is empty, wipe down the shelves in the fridge and the door with a solution of bicarbonate of soda and warm water. Dry off with a clean cloth.
Then start replacing the foods that are still edible back into the fridge.
Just because food is marked ‘Use by xxxx’ does not mean it must be immediately tossed into the bin.
Check every item as you refill the ‘fridge.
Check the date - is it still feasible?
Does it ‘pong’?
Is it fermenting?
Coleslaw or any salad product in a plastic container will have small bubbles erupting around the outside edge if fermentation is starting.
Grey-green whiskers growing on any food
is a definite no-no.
Really ancient use-by dates need to be binned.
Use your common sense.
Place all the vegetables in the salad drawer or a sealable plastic container. Put late date items to the rear of the fridge with short date items to the front. If you do have more than one pack of the same item make a point of using it as soon as possible.
If you can, leave a sufficient space so that air can circulate around items.
Bottles should be stacked neatly in the door shelves. In future, wipe up all spills in the fridge and keep an eye on the dates.
If you have a deep freeze section work and clean here in the same way.
If you have a chest freezer take everything out, pile on the floor and cover with a blanket or something similar. Quickly defrost the freezer by placing a thick layer of old newspapers in the base. On top of this place a large plastic washing-up bowl or similar and fill with boiling water. Close the lid down and leave for around 15 minutes. You will then be able to scrape off softened ice with a plastic scraper (don’t use a metal scraper in case you damage the lining of the freezer) All the ice will fall onto the newspapers and make it easily removable.
Wipe out in the same way as the refrigerator. Replace the frozen food, discarding any doubtful items. Then make a point of eating up the items that have been in storage for more than a couple of months.
Work your way around the rest of the kitchen with a similar system. Empty out the cupboards one by one, wipe out with a damp cloth, wipe dry. Then restack with only the items you need to keep. Bin the rest.
The Oven. Although not strictly one of our decluttering tips, why not give the oven a treat and clean it? Tip.5.
Last of all clean the floor as there is bound to be some mess on the floor. The tips given in Do You Detest Housework will be a help here.
Children's bedrooms. Here the decision depends on the age of the child. But – not really one of our decluttering tips, don’t ask the child concerned whether a specific item or toy should be binned. They will invariably say ‘No’. Just wait until they are not around, and then bin any item that is either dirty, broken or has been ignored for some considerable time.
Decluttering tips for childrens' bedrooms: Wardrobes and drawers - sort out the items that no longer fit, but still have life left in them.
If you have a younger child that can make use of these, put them to one side and then make note of what you really need to buy as replacements.
If you have school age children, give them some decluttering tips but leave it up to them unless you want to start a mini war. 'Liberate' items that are left around, possibly on the floor or under the bed, for a considerable time, but be tactful here. The last paragraph on the page mentioned Super Tip may give you some help.
Wardrobes, should be happy hunting grounds for donations to either the waste bin or charity shop. Before sending items off to charity shops, make sure you check for any forgotten items in the pockets. The 'in between items' may be pressed into service as dusters or polishers. Tip. 8
Search the cupboards and clean in the same way as kitchen cupboards.
Are there any out-of-date medications here? Those that come from the doctor should be taken back to the surgery to be correctly disposed of there. Off-the-shelf items from the chemist that are no longer needed or are well out of date can be binned.
This is usually a fertile ground. Decluttering tips may fall on deaf male ears, but it is amazing how unusual items are dumped in the shed ‘pending a decision’. Get rid of it now – bin it. But, don’t be in too much of a hurry to bin paint tins if the colour is currently in use in your home.
If any item still has some useful life in it, sell it on eBay and raise some cash.
A good decluttering tip for sheds and the garage. In the future consider making tool racks. They are fine for getting gardening tools out of the way and so useful for locating screwdrivers etc.
It is possible to buy packs of five metal holders for large garden tools. These screwed into the wall of the garage makes forks, spades and brooms easily accessible.
Also a sheet of hardboard screwed on to the wall of the shed, with extra screws appropriately placed to hang the tools, makes an easy and cheap tool holder for smaller tools. See our picture.
This method also encourages replacing the tools after use - it saves the annoyance of finding a space where a tool should be.
These are our decluttering tips for the house, shed etc. done, unfortunately decluttering the brain is not so simple! That is where your own personal tips on decluttering may come to the fore.
Do you have untidy teenagers with equally untidy bedrooms?
Do you have young children and would like to guide them towards tidyness?
How do you deal with mountains of clutter? Do you desperately need space?
Have you found an easy way to go about these problems?
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Make a game of de-cluttering your home. Take a large black dustbin bag and ruthlessly edit the contents of each room. if it has not been used for 6 months, …
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