Decluttering Your Home: Easy To Follow Guide
In the famous words of Marie Kondo: “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”
Decluttering your home isn’t just about getting rid of excess stuff. For most homeowners, decluttering leads to improved mental health and increased productivity. It is hard to see the beauty of your home when it is hiding behind hoards of things – clutter will make even the most elegant house look cheap.
FCI senior designer, Christina Chilira, helped us prepare this comprehensive guide to organising your home so you can start making changes today.
1. Set a Timeline and Goals
All great projects are founded on a clear plan, and decluttering your home is no different.
Regardless of whether you have a small or mammoth task ahead of you, setting specific goals will ensure that the work gets done smoothly. With these four steps, you will avoid hitting unexpected roadblocks and getting frustrated once you kick off.
- Note down the rooms or specific zones in the home that you want to tackle.
- Rank these areas based on the severity of the clutter, to prioritize your efforts.
- Set a timeline for each zone – choose realistic and attainable completion dates.
- Identify the best days or times to tackle rooms that require the most attention, such as a garage or store room.
Cristina says, “Start by tackling one room or one space at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. “Unless you have very minimal organising to do, going through the entire house in one go will take a long time and cause unnecessary anxiety.”
She suggests that depending on the size of your home and what you’ve accumulated, it’s realistic to aim for one room each weekend.
Cristina Chilira, FCI Senior Designer
2. The Four Pile Method
Now, in order to sort through everything, we recommend using what we call the Four-Pile-Sort System. Divide your belongings into four heaps: things to keep, things to donate, things to throw away and things to sell.
It’s important to be ruthless when sorting. As Christina says: “Ask yourself if you would buy the item if you saw it in a store.”
These are items that you frequently use and need in your daily life. Once sorting is complete, the stuff in this pile will need to be neatly organised into practical, designated areas. Use labelled containers or drawers where necessary.
You have no use for these items. All damaged or broken things that are not worth donating or selling must be tossed into this heap
It’s always better to donate instead of adding to our overflowing landfills. Chances are there are charities near you who will gladly pick up any furniture or bulk donations you may have. We recommend pinpointing speciality centres for key items, like charities that give suits to job seekers.
If you are up to the task, have a garage sale. You could make a good amount of money off your clutter. You can consider joining neighbourhood garage sales or markets where there is guaranteed traffic.
3. Take It One Room at a Time
As mentioned earlier, breaking down your decluttering project room by room makes it feel doable. Equipped with our sorting systems and handy tools like crates, bins and shelving systems, you are ready to begin.
- Create boundaries by using a boot tray. Any shoes that don’t fit belong in a closet.
- Allocate a hook to each household member – each person will be responsible for emptying their hook when it’s full.
- Transfer off-season items to a separate wardrobe or attic, and neatly store them for future use.
- Invest in organisation aids such as a sunglass tray, key hook, change jar and umbrella holder to keep the area tidy.
Treat your central cabinets as prime real estate. Only the items you constantly use should be stored in this section. Everything else should be stacked higher up or further back depending on usage frequency.
- Add dividers to your drawers to form separate categories for small items.
- Organise the refrigerator using clear bins where you can store various packets.
- Only a few everyday-use appliances should live on counters, the rest must be stored away.
- Select a weekly time slot to toss or recycle empty containers from the food cupboard.
- Even the junk drawer can have a semblance of order – use multi-tire inserts to compartmentalise it.
- Throw away expired toiletries – unopened safe-to-use items can be donated to shelters.
- Discard those hotel minis you are hoarding if you never actually use them.
- Only keep the towels you are using and neatly stash them at eye level.
- Add lighting to your cabinets to avoid dark holes where junk builds up.
If your kids are old enough to pick up after themselves, make organising their play area a fun task.
- Set clear rules – all items not in play should be returned to their designated places.
- Use clear bins with labels so it is easy to find toys. Keep the bins small as the big ones encourage clutter.
- Add a hamper to the room where your kids can add clothes they have outgrown.
- Sort like items together in your wardrobe so you can see where there is repetition and discard what you don’t need.
- For easy organising, have compartments fitted into your wardrobes for bags, accessories, shoes, etc, see our fitted wardrobes for inspiration.
- In the absence of fitted shelves, rails or racks, make use of wardrobe organisers, baskets and clear containers.
- Invest in bedside tables with pull-out drawers and neatly store personal items including reading glasses, charging cables and medicines.
- Get rid of clothes you do not fit.
4. Reap The Benefits
“Decluttering has invaluable positive effects on your mental health, productivity and the use of the spaces in your home. Less really is more – more space is less waste,” explains Christina. “When it comes to decluttering your home, give yourself permission to purge for pleasure!”
Think of this process as a marathon, not a sprint. When your home is clutter-free, you will have:
- Less to clean
- Less to organise
- Less stress
Cristina’s final piece of advice: “It’s not worth clogging up your closet with things that you ‘might need someday.’ What you need is space to enjoy the home and life you are living today.”
The hardest part of decluttering is getting started. Equip yourself with a realistic plan plus the right tools and the process will become manageable. Stay in a constant state of decluttering and make it a habit instead of an occasional undertaking.
If you need expert advice on storage systems that make organising your home easier, our interior design team is ready to assist you with practical and stylish solutions. You deserve to live in a space you love, let us show you how, get in touch with us today.