Decluttering tips from the professionals
If you’re moving out then decluttering the house you’re in is a great idea. By removing clutter you’ll be showcasing the property’s features, charm, and helping the people looking around to visualise their possessions in there.
So how do you do it?
We’ve been having a look at Francine Jay’s book on how to declutter (she’s a devout minimalist!) and she’s got some great tips so we’ve rounded a few up for you here…
1. Francine advocates throwing one item away every day, but if you want to move then that might take too long. For a big declutter you’ll need to set aside a chunk of time and get organised. Ask some friends and family to help you, and tackle one room at a time. You’ll need to give your helpers some guidelines as to what stays and what goes, so have some rules. If the item isn’t useful on a regular basis, then it should go.
2. Be honest. Do you need it? Really? Decluttering is hard, so you need to be strong. It might be best to throw those concert tickets from five years ago and just remember the good night you had instead.
3. Don’t just organise your clutter! By buying storage ‘solutions’, pretty boxes and fancy shelving you’re not solving the problem of having too much stuff, you’re simply hiding it from view. You might think this is ok in the short term, but by filling a room in this way you could be making it look smaller, which is offputting to potential buyers.
4. Heirlooms can be tricky to get rid of. There is often a sense of guilt if you throw it so here are three stress-free options: Give it to a family member. (1) Sell the item and donate the proceeds to the relative’s favourite charity. (2) Have the item remade into something you like – this works well for jewellery. (3) Give the item to someone else in your family who will appreciate it.
5. Clothes can be a pain. Favourite dresses, sentimental pieces from long-ago holidays – they can mount up and spill into spare rooms, cupboards and wardrobes all over the house. Ditch anything that doesn’t fit, lose any items that aren’t flattering and bin any items that make you cringe! Limit your shoes and bags to ones that match each other and keep anything you love the colour of. Sell, donate and throw the rest.
6. Magazines look untidy so throw them once read. If there are articles you’d like to keep then rip them out and keep them in a ringbinder, or better still, scan them and keep them on your computer.
7. Offices are notorious for looking messy. Make sure papers are organised in files, or scanned and kept on your computer. Keep stationery in drawers.
8. Unwanted gifts are difficult, but don’t keep them if you have no use for them. Donate to a charity shop or pass them on to someone who needs the item. Boxes of unused and unwanted items in your spare room look messy and unappealing.
9. Books are tricky. Once read, you tend to hang onto them but they take up lots of room and can become silent space stealers, encroaching onto tabletops and other surfaces. Donate them to Oxfam bookshops, libraries, give them away in book crossing schemes or to friends and only hang onto ones that you truly love. Books were made to be read, not stored in a box!
10. Collections of trinkets might be your pride and joy, but these can give the appearance of clutter. While you’re selling your property, box 70-80% of them up and give them to a friend for safekeeping (with the added bonus that you won’t have the box taking up room in your house).
Clear surfaces are pleasing to the eye, so don’t pile items (particularly magazines) high and balance them on the edge of a table. Potential buyers love to see space, not hastily rearranged clutter!
If it seems like too much hard work to do it all on your own, consider calling the Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers. They’ll help organise, declutter and bring your house or office under control.