9 Different Methods to Tackle Clutter

19 May 2019

Need to declutter your home, but can’t find the motivation? Many of us put off decluttering because it's time-consuming and sometimes emotionally difficult (especially when it comes to parting with items of sentimental value). However, getting rid of all that unnecessary stuff in your home could be important for making your home cleaner and more presentable. It could even improve your mental health – clutter can be a big source of stress and it may make you feel embarrassed to invite guests over.

If you’re not naturally an organised person, decluttering may require adopting a strategy to motivate yourself. Here are just several strategies that could help to spur you on and make decluttering less daunting.

Tackle it in small stages

Decluttering your entire home may feel like a monumental task. Rather than trying to tackle it all at once, take it in small stages. This could include decluttering a room every weekend. If this is still too much, consider tackling rooms in stages too. For instance, when decluttering a bedroom you could start with the wardrobe, then your dresser and then under the bed. Each of these small stages may only take an hour or two, allowing you to fit them more easily around your life without having to dedicate a whole day to decluttering. Give yourself a weekly schedule that allows you to systematically go through your home until it is clutter-free.

Hire a skip and aim to fill it

Many people are guilty of sorting out the stuff they don’t want but never actually throwing it away. Items may get bagged up and then put back in your wardrobe or left in the attic. If taking these items to the dump or charity shop is too much effort, consider simply hiring a skip and aiming to fill it with your unwanted possessions. There are same-day rubbish removal companies that you can hire a skip from. Paying for the skip will prompt you to put it to good use, rather than clinging onto your trash. If you have a lot of rubbish, a larger skip might be necessary, but large skips can be expensive. Instead, you may want to check out 15 yard dumpster costs, which should be enough to clear general clutter and rubbish.

Make money from your clutter (and set an earnings goal)

Decluttering could also be an opportunity to make some extra money. Many of us have unwanted items in our house that are likely to be of value to someone else. You could try selling these using online sites such as Gumtree and Facebook. Alternatively, there may be a second-hand store in your area that you can sell items to. There’s also the option of attending flea markets or hosting a yard sale. It could be worth setting yourself an earnings goal – the aim is to then sell as many items in your home as you can until you meet this earnings goal. This could be a fantastic way of raising money for a vacation, or it could be a way of paying off debts.

Use Marie Kondo's principles

Marie Kondo has become one of the more well-known cleaning experts in the world. Her book The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising offers many teachings but one of the main teachings is the idea of getting rid of any item that doesn’t bring you joy. This includes items that you’re simply clinging onto out of nostalgia – such items may remind you of happier times, but more likely than not, they’re actually making you feel sad and not happy.

Embrace Swedish death cleaning

Another famous decluttering strategy is Swedish death cleaning – popularised by Margareta Magnusson. This method has a rather morbid but effective motivation – it involves decluttering your home to save your loved ones the challenge of having to do it when you eventually die. This strategy allows you to keep on to certain nostalgic and sentimental items but to get rid of those that would be hurtful, upsetting or embarrassing were your loved ones to find them. This allows you to separate sentimental items that are part of your legacy and sentimental items that you’re just keeping for selfish reasons.

Use the Oprah Winfrey wardrobe trick

Wardrobes can be some of the hardest clutter hotspots to tackle. Oprah Winfrey’s wardrobe trick is one of the most effective ways of tackling your clothes. It involves reorganising all your items of clothes so that the hanger is facing towards you. Every time you wear an item, put it back with the hanger facing the other way. After six months, you can then look at your wardrobe and see which items you haven’t worn in that time – these are the items that you don’t wear and are the ones that you deserve to throw away.

Stop buying more stuff – unless it’s a reward for decluttering

A problem that many people have when decluttering – especially hoarders – is the compulsive need to keep buying more. As a result, you may risk undoing all your hard work by replacing the clutter you’ve got rid of. A strategy to keep your clutter under control is to declutter a certain amount before you allow yourself to buy new items. Treat these new items as a reward for culling some of your unwanted possessions – unless you’ve got rid of a certain amount of items, you’re not allowed to buy yourself any new items.

Get help from a friend/family member

Sometimes it can be useful to have moral support from someone else. Friends and family members may be able to help you sift through your clutter and separate the things that are truly valuable and the things that truly aren’t. Try to get help from someone who you know will be respectful of your belongings but will also be honest when they think something is truly junk and not worth keeping.

Hire a professional organiser

You could also consider hiring a professional organiser to help you sort through your clutter. This is recommended for compulsive hoarders as such a condition can require more psychological help, which a professional organiser can provide.