“Just in case” is a mindset that leads many of us to hang onto items on the off-chance they’ll be needed one day. However, often by the time those items might actually be useful, we’ve forgotten about them completely or they’ve become outdated and need replacing. This is how we accumulate clutter, and it’s why we should be realistic about our possessions and the way we use them.
Decluttering is a great step to take before embarking on a thorough home cleaning. Not only will it free up more space, it reduces the amount of housework you’ll have to do in the long run, and it provides you with an opportunity to assess your spending habits.
Abide by the following decluttering mantras to get rid of old junk for a simpler, more organised home.
To make your task of decluttering more manageable, don’t pull everything all out at once. Start with one room or zone of your home. Completing areas one by one will ensure you don’t get overwhelmed and give up before stumbling over the mess for weeks. Of course, if you have the energy for an all-out clean-out, go ahead – you might just need a heavy nap once you’re done.
The Year Rule
Do you remember the last time you used it? The Year Rule is a good one to follow when it comes to what to keep or chuck. If you haven’t used it in that time, you’re not likely to use it again.
Question why you’ve kept it. If you’re saving it for the rainy day that still hasn’t come, you can part ways with it. Was it a gift that’s really not your taste? No one is benefitting from it if you’re not using it so let it go to someone who’ll love it more. If it’s something you bought on impulse that you no longer like, remember to be more considerate when shopping in future.
We’ve all got broken things lying around that we just haven’t had time to repair yet, whether it’s a kitchen utensil or a shirt with split seam. Weigh up the cost and time involved in fixing the item. If it’s not easily repairable or it’s outside your skillset, consider getting a pro to do it, or repurpose or recycle it.
Scan old paperwork like bills or receipts and switch to digital bills and statements from your current providers. This will minimise the amount of paper clutter lying around. Going paperless is not just the way of the future, it’s the way to a tidy home!
Ta-ta, old tech
Technology is one thing that rarely comes back into fashion or usefulness. ‘Brick phones’ are called that for a reason – they’re not good for much else. Mobile phones are very recyclable but should not be thrown out with the rest of your general waste. Take old and broken phones and accessories to your nearest mobile disposal drop-off point. You can also find disposal services for other tech such as cameras and computers here.
Unless it’s something that’s meant to come in pairs, get rid of things you have multiples of.
Check the date
Scour your pantry and freezer for any food past its prime. Old cosmetic products are veritable petri dishes, so check the back of packaging for the symbol showing how long they can be used after opening. Toss out expired medicine and first aid kits as they will have lost effectiveness.
Say goodbye, ethically
If the item is broken and beyond repair, then it’s in the bin it goes. However, think of ways to salvage the item or give it a second life first. Extending the life of the product helps to minimise environmental waste.
Sell it: Whether it’s through an old-fashioned garage sale or online through sites like eBay, Gumtree, or even Facebook, there are many avenues nowadays for selling your old gear to more appreciative owners.
Pass it on: Ask around with friends and family for anyone who could make use of your unwanted goods.
Upcycle: Get creative and make new from old. Pinterest is full of ideas and DIY projects that help you breathe new life into old items.
Recycle: If all else fails, and your item is recyclable, dispose of it appropriately so the materials can be reused.