Declutter your home

You may not be a hoarder or a big shopper but daily life – especially when it involves children or crafts – can fill your home with stuff. Always add and never subtract and you’ll eventually bury yourself. Sarah Heeringa tackles the decluttering challenge. 

By Sarah Heeringa.

Creating a home that is functional as well as inspirational involved keeping useful but less attraction items tucked just out of sight and your beautiful, meaningful things arranged so you can enjoy them every day. 

Dealing with daily stuff so you don’t get swamped!

1. If someone gives you an unwanted gift accept it gracefully, but don’t let guilt cause you to hold onto it forever 

2. If you’re unsure about getting rid of something, start a ‘maybe box’ and store it for a set of time in your garage, attic or under your bed. Note the date in your diary. If you haven’t need it in that time, throw it away. 

3. Tip everything out of a drawer onto a table. Sort into three piles; stuff that belongs in the draw, stuff that belongs elsewhere; things to get rid of. Put the stuff in the first pile back neatly, and deal with the other piles straight away. 

4. Photograph and load unwanted items on Trade me, or join Freecyle, (www.freecycle.co.nz) to connect with people who might need your surplus stuff. 

5. Do you save every plastic container that comes into your house? To avoid getting swamped, set yourself a limit. Allocate one shelf or drawer and donate or recycle any that don’t fit in the space allowed. 

6. Set yourself the challenge of decluttering for 15 to 30 minutes every day. Set a timer, put on music and target one area at a time. pick up five things and find homes for them. If you don’t know exactly where things belong, designate a spot. if you have children, show them where things belong. 

Office clutter 

The home office is a potential dumping zone. Clutter breeds clutter – and a messy desk gives everyone permission to leave more stuff there. Completely clear the surface and as you pick up each item, ask yourself why you are keeping it. 

Get a filing cabinet or establish a simple filing system – then use it! Use interesting old tins or jars as an attractive way to stroe pens and pencils, and stow larger straionery items in paper-covered boxes. Allocate zones within your book shelf, sorted according to subject then size. Collect all your travel books, maps or cookbooks in one place. If you haven’t looked at a book for several years, consider giving it away. Make space for new books and fresh inspiration. 

In and out 

  • Use a basket for incoming mail and notices. Sort opened mail into three piles, then file it: things to do, paper to be recycled and documents to file. If you don’t have time to pay bills there and then, take a moment to note due dates in your diary. Better yet, set up an automatic payment. 
  • Have a basket, lidded box or cabinet near the front door where you can put mail to post, borrowed items to return, library books or DVDs to take back. Get in the habit of checking the box every time you leave the house or farewell visiting friends.
  • Keep a bag or box in a cupboard for things for your local op shop. As soon as it’s full, transfer it to the boot of your car. Donating items to charity helps others, reduces landfill waste and gives you a warm fuzzy. It also makes it easier to part with things you might otherwise hold onto.  
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