We’re now down to Week 10 of our Christmas Countdown, and we’re going to share our tips for decluttering. With half term upon us, it’s a great time to sort out children’s toys and make room for Santa’s upcoming delivery (if they’ve been good!).
If you’re struggling to find time to fit this all in then don’t worry, Hour Hands can help. Contact us to find out more about our decluttering service, and how we can help you free up valuable space in your home.
The first rule of decluttering is: don’t try to conquer a mountain! Concentrate on small areas at any one time, to avoid feeling overwhelmed and make it easier to get started.
Post and paperwork
Designate a place to store incoming papers and post – these are often the first things to start cluttering up your space. Have a handy tray or basket near your letter box – as post arrives, open it and assess if it’s junk, to file, or to read later. Anything to file or read later can go into the basket, and put junk mail straight into the recycling. Tear it up or shred as you go, otherwise a growing pile of ‘to be shredded’ paperwork quickly becomes a very unappealing task (and is more likely to overheat your shredder!).
Have a place for everything
Don’t worry, you don’t have to place all your belongings in alphabetical order or tidy away with military precision – who has time for that?! Start by designating a home (drawers, cupboards, baskets or shelves) for everything, and aim to return each thing to its rightful place once it has been used.
In reality, when you’re racing to head out of the door each morning for work, school or gym, you’re unlikely to have time to put everything in its place. The Hour Hands tried-and-tested solution is to leave a basket upstairs and one downstairs, where you can drop any wayward items. When you return home you’ll appreciate the clear floor and feel super-organised. And when (if?) you have a spare moment later, you can return the items to their rightful place. But if you don’t have time to do this for a few days there’s no need to stress – if you can’t find an item then the only other place it’s likely to be is in the basket!
- Place dividers in drawers; this makes it easy to pop things away and also makes spotting them in the drawer much easier.
- Folding and rolling t-shirts, socks, underwear and nightwear, rather than stacking them on top of each other, means that you use up much less space and can easily see what you have in your drawers.
Make it easy for the kids to keep their rooms or playrooms tidy – give them easy-to-reach and clearly labelled boxes, baskets and drawers, so that toys can be easily tidied away at the end of each day.
These containers can also help you control the number of toys out at any one time: “Of course you can play with the train set, just as soon as the Lego pieces go back into their home!”
For younger children, a toy library is a great way to unclog a mountain of toys that have sat unloved for months at a time. Pack a number of such toys away in a large-lidded plastic container – the ‘toy library’ – and store the container in an out-of-the way place for several months.
Then some rainy day you bring out the toy library with a flourish, swapping the stored toys for other playthings that have since lost their appeal. The stored toys will enjoy fresh appeal, without gathering dust in your child’s room.
Set a reminder to clear out your wardrobe at the end of summer and winter. Once the chill arrives, pack away your high-summer items and store in vacuum bags or tightly sealed storage boxes in a loft or spare room. While doing this, it’s worth assessing the items and donating to charity anything you haven’t worn for six months, that doesn’t fit, or that’s not properly useful. Repeat this exercise at the end of winter, and don’t forget to include shoes in the process too!
- Herbs and spices cupboard
- Medicine cabinet
- Cosmetics and toiletries