Decluttering your home space can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be disastrous. With a clear plan, some rolled-up sleeves, and the boost in brain power you’ll gain from reading this article, you can declutter your home in under 30 days. By the end, you won’t even recognise your home anymore – in a good way!
Step One: Do a Full Audit (should take one day)
Let’s go! Get out a clipboard and pen and paper – because we’re about to examine our home and selves and manifest the life we could be living. It’s time to go around to each room in the house and take notes on our pain points for each room and how we wish it looked instead.
Does the bedroom have too many clothes on every surface it shouldn’t? Write that down.
There are bathroom items overflowing in the sinks and tub? Better record it in the notes.
The kitchen has too many appliances, and many of them don’t even go here? Let the frustration flow through you.
Feel your feelings, note them down, and feel the cathartic anger compel you to change this. And then, right next to those notes scrawled in anger, write down how you wish each room looked instead, how you would want that room to make you feel instead of what the mess is forcing you to feel.
Example: “My living room has blankets and pillows haphazardly all over the place, and I actually can’t find a place to sit for myself or friends who come to visit me” versus “I wish everything was packed neatly away and my living room was a place of comfort where I could relax and happily entertain guests.”
Go to every room in your home, and don’t hold back. This process can be for your eyes only, so let it all out and rage, scream, cry, and laugh maniacally into the paper as you gaze through the looking glass at the mess your home has become.
What is the difference between chaos and science? Scientists write everything down. And that’s what we’re doing.
You’re not a hot mess anymore – you’re a scientist.
Step 2: Set Up Your Collection Zone (should take one day per room)
Choose a room or area of your home where you can leave the “mess” items without stopping the natural traffic flow. We will eventually sort out the clutter, but first, we need a “Collection Zone” where you can take all the offending items from each room without worrying about their final destination just yet. This zone should be a place you can return to quickly from the space you’ll be working on that day.
Once you have your zone set up near the first room, the drums of war can begin to beat (or a Lofi Girl/Synth Boy soundtrack, whichever gets you more in the zone).
Step 3: Declutter One Room at a Time (allow yourself one day per room for this)
It’s easy-peasy to get overwhelmed and under-motivated when you look at your entire house and think about the decluttering process and what is to come. That’s why starting with just one room at a time is important. Choose a space you spend a lot of time in or one bordering on a red zone level of dangerous clutter. We recommend starting with the bedroom, but if there’s a space you feel needs attention urgently, follow your heart.
Now, move everything out of the room into your collection zone. And I mean everything, even things you’re 100% sure you want to keep. Once you’ve successfully put all the items into the collection zone, it’s time to start sorting!
Step 4: Identify the Essentials and Non-Essentials (allow yourself two days per room for this step)
Look to the left of your pile in the collection zone. Now look to the right.
Most of that pile will not return to the room it came from.
Now you get to sort that pile into two smaller and neater ones. The I-Need-This Pile
- I love this item
- I use this every day (then how come you haven’t missed it the past few days?)
- This item sparks bonfires of joy when I hold it as Marie Kondo once said (do as she says, not as she does)
- I would feel its loss keenly
The other pile is for the items. The I–Do-Not-Need Pile:
- I’ll hold onto this in case I need it somewhere far in the future
- I know it’s broken, but I’ll eventually get around to fixing it
- I’m sure I can find a place for it… eventually (it’s been months/years, it’s not going to happen)
- Guilt keeps me from throwing this out, not lo
Be strong, but be tough. If you’re having trouble sorting out the pile, apply our two favourite rules; the 5-second rule and the 15/15 rule.
5 Second Rule
Pick up the item. Can you remember the last time you used it/wore it? If the answer doesn’t come to you within 5 seconds, it’s stagnated for too long and will probably not provide you with use again. Put it in the I–Do-Not-Need Pile.
Still not convinced? Let’s try the 15/15 Rule.
The 15/15 decluttering rule states that if you can replace something for under £15 and in under 15 minutes, it’s highly replaceable and shouldn’t be allowed to add to the clutter.
That £13 mascara that you barely use because it doesn’t suit you anymore?
The £10 work tool that has a chip in it from a project you completed ages ago and decided to keep “just in case?”
Nah, chuck it into the I-Do-Not-Need Pile.
£25 sweater with a broken button? We can happily keep that, since buying a whole new sweater could cost more than £15. All we need is a quick trip to the store to buy a button, sewing thread, and needle. But if you and the sweater have moved in different directions over the years, then chuck it.
Step 5: Give the I-Need-This-Pile a Home & Remove the Rest – (allow yourself one day per room for this step)
“A place for everything, and everything in its place” is the mantra you’ll be singing to yourself under your breath as you take the big pile of YES you’ve decided to keep back to the room it came from and designate it a proper home to live in.
For the I-Need-This Pile:
- Before moving everything back, this is an opportune time to move furniture around to improve the flow and feng-shui of that room. No time like this moment right now to fully optimise the space potential!
- Every item needs its special place. Your hats go on the hat rack; all your keys go in the top drawer; the T-shirts are on the highest shelf of the cupboard, etc. When you’re done with the item, it goes back into its home right away, and it doesn’t visit another item’s home because that is just RUDE.
- Try to keep the number of items constant; if you purchase something new, something else has to be donated or thrown out; this prevents the buildup from happening again.
Ideas to get rid of the I-Do-Not-Need Pile:
- Give to family/friends who would want the item
- Donate it to a charity that would love to have the item
- Throw out the remaining items in the trash
Rinse and Repeat
Repeat these steps for each room in the house until your home is decluttered and you find yourself living and loving that space you “manifested” during the audit.
You have entire days to sort out one room, which is plenty of time to do 15 minutes of work and then give yourself a break to do something else. You’ll often find yourself working more than 15 minutes, but it’s a lovely bite-sized amount of time that lets you relax and get into doing the work!
Each room allows for 6 days to finish the entire process, and on average, there should be around 5 rooms to clear, so 30 days should be suitable for you to sort out your home.
Follow this pace, and you’ll be able to declutter your home without hitting the pause button for everything else in your life. It may take less than a month before your home is unrecognisable from the state it was in before.
Clutter is a force of chaos we find ourselves continuously fighting, which gets ever harder to resolve when our living space is not spacious enough for all the items that truly make our life shine better.
If you’ve done a space clear-up, and you still find yourself fighting to walk from one room to the next, then here at Pink Hippo, we have the solution you need. Our self storage units are designed in mind to help you clear up your living quarters while still having access to all the things that spark joy in your life.
Look at some of our space options today, and give us a call when you’re ready to finally walk around your home with ease!
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