“Does it spark joy?” If this phrase rings a bell then chances are, you’ve already binge-watched Marie Kondo instructing others on the art of tidying up on Netflix – but even if you’re not a ‘Konvert’, it can’t be denied that there’s a lot to be said for streamlining interiors and reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ that surrounds us. Not only will it make your home look tidier and more welcoming, but reducing clutter has also been associated with improved mental health by reducing stress and anxiety levels. Here’s how to start…
Every big change starts with a small action. Don’t make the mistake of telling yourself that you’re going to clear the entire house, top to bottom, in the space of a day. Breaking a large task up into smaller sections is far less overwhelming and therefore, far more achievable – so start with one closet, assign yourself one kitchen drawer for the following day and so on.
Challenge yourself to a shopping ban
Set yourself a month in which you don’t buy anything. Okay, so you’ll still have to buy food and pay for utilities but if you make the commitment not to bring anything into your home that won’t be consumed – things like clothes, books, and ornaments – you’ll not only be acquiring less stuff but it will give you space to think about the things you already have.
You can help to keep your possessions under control by embracing a strict policy of one in, one out. When you get something new, get rid of something old. It could be a similar item (for instance, donating an old shirt to a thrift store when you buy a new shirt) or it could be something else. The aim is to end each day without having additional things in your home.
The Greater Good
Donating your unwanted items to thrift stores is one way to boost your inner glow and declutter your home, but there are other things you can do as well. Got a birthday or other present-giving event coming up? Ask your friends and relatives to donate to a charity that means something to you rather than buying you gifts.
Experiences, not things
Granted, you may not always feel like being entirely altruistic when it’s your birthday or wedding – and relatives may be resistant to the idea of giving to charity instead of to you. Think, in this case, about things that you can do rather than have – perhaps your friend could take you out for a meal instead of buying you another scarf, and maybe your mother could contribute towards the fees on that calligraphy course you want to take?
Hidden spaces matter too
In the fight against clutter, there are often areas that go under the radar because they’re not as visible as others. Bathrooms are one – cabinets are often full of out-of-date medication, half-used tubes, and beauty products that failed to deliver on their promises. Get rid of them! Same goes for the kitchen: have a proper look through those jars lurking at the back of the fridge and the packets languishing on pantry shelves and either use things up or dispose of them.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and there’s nothing like selling your unwanted items to give your bank balance a welcome boost. From hosting a yard sale or taking a pitch at a car boot sale, to utilizing one of the many online platforms like eBay, which are dedicated to helping you make cash from clutter, there are many money-making ways of paring back your possessions!
Beware of ‘storage solutions’
They’re not always solutions, no matter what IKEA tries to tell you. If your bookshelves are overflowing with books, you’d be better advised to streamline your collection than to buy another bookshelf on which to house them. Sometimes extra cabinets, boxes, and baskets just add yet more items to your interior and give you an excuse to hide or hang on to the things you already have.