Books on de-cluttering and organising the home have seen a new wave of interest recently. They all seem to be full of philosophical rubbish! It’s time to talk about practical decluttering.
What Is Practical Decluttering?
Practical decluttering is sorting your sh*t out. Lets forget about asking, ‘Do I love this’ and start asking:
- Do I need to keep this?
- When did I last use this? When am next likely to use this?
- What’s it worth to me? What’s it worth to someone else?
Instead of sorting things room by room, group your things together and sort category by category. Doing it this way lets you effectively sort things. Working room by room, you end up putting things in different rooms to sort late.
Here are the categories I use:
- Paperwork (bills, receipts, admin type stuff.)
- Media (CD’s, DVD’s and your old dusty minidiscs)
- Wires, cables, old batteries and screws (you know the drawer I am talking about!)
- Homeware (Furniture, Cookware all the things you use to live)
Start one one category and don’t move on until you finish it!
Do I need to keep this?
With every item, ask if yourself if you need to keep it. Let’s keep in mind needing and wanting are two separate things. You need to keep your birth certificate, you want to keep that lovely valentines card from last year.
It depends how extreme you want to go when you declutter. But real practical decluttering means saying goodbye to the useless.
When did I last use this?
and when am I next likely to use this?
You’ve established you don’t absolutely need to keep something. But that doesn’t mean it has to go. No one needs 3 pairs of jeans, but its handy.
Lets take your clothes as an example – When did you last ware that stained old t-shirt at the bottom of your wardrobe? It’s time to let go, yes it was once a great shirt, but it’s done it job! Let it go!
Work through every item, if it’s been over a year since you had any use for it, it’s time to let go.
Unless that is of course that you know you will need to use that thing within the next year. If you genuinely know you have a use for it this year, you can keep hold of it. Put a date tag on the item, a use by date. If when you next do this, 12 months has again past – no excuses. It has to go!
What’s it worth?
When clearing out this is a hoarders, ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card.
‘This is worth hundreds’ – The harsh reality is that it is only worth what someone is willing to pay. You may have paid hundreds for that old plasma TV but it is most likely not worth that now.
Check eBay to see if anyone is selling something similar. Ask yourself, ‘Is the money I will get for this worth me selling it?’. Sometimes it is best to throw it away. It will save you hassle and free up space.
Give yourself 3 months to sell everything you think is valuable from your declutter. If after that time it hasn’t sold, give it away or throw it away.
If you really want to declutter – you have to be ruthless. You have to accept that things have to go. Becoming precious about things, or ascribing a false value to an item will leave you stuck with all the crap you started with in different places.
Top Tip For Paperwork
If like me you have lots of documents that you aren’t ready to shred – just in case they are important later. Buy yourself a scanner and scan them to a Google drive folder on your computer.
You can activate and OCR setting, meaning you can search through the documents for what you need later. This will get rid of that stack of paper on your sideboard and make locating important things much easier.
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Or tell me about your decluttering experience below!