How to declutter your home in 10 simple steps

Roberta Thatcher shows you how to cut through the mess and simplify your life

17 July 2016 - 02:00 By Roberta Thatcher

If you're anything like me, you love the idea of owning fewer possessions, having less to clean and organise, having a minimalist home and more time and energy for the important things in life. But when you start thinking about how to declutter, you hit a wall (or more likely, that occasional chair you bought years ago and never gets sat on).


Keep these thoughts in mind when you start decluttering:

1) Remember why

There's a reason you want to live with less stuff. It may be to have more space or more money, or less responsibility. Having a purpose will keep you motivated.

2) Decluttering is not organising

Remember that you are on a mission to get rid of stuff, not to store it in a different place.

3) Good intentions

You often hold on to things because you want to save them for someone else or you think you'll need them again some day. Picture a person you'll be donating your items to, and remember that they'll be way more grateful for the items than you could ever be. This is surely a great motivation to let go.

4) Use your imagination

If you're struggling to let go of an item, try asking yourself things like, "Would I buy this if I saw it in a shop now?" and "How much would I pay for it?" These questions may help you see old items in a new light.

 5) Pat yourself on the back

Remember that everything doesn't have to be done at once, but celebrate each stage as you get to it. If you cleaned out the spare room, grab a cup of tea and a book and go and lounge in your new space.

A freshly cleared kitchen? Invite friends over for a dinner party. Enjoying your newly decluttered space will inspire you to carry on the journey.


As we said, the best way to approach the process is to simply start. Here are five popular decluttering tricks, and picking just one will help you get going.

1) Start simple

It's the sentimental stuff that's hard to get rid of. You will never wear it again, but giving away your wedding dress is hardly an easy way to start the process. Rather begin with the really easy stuff - empty out your drawers and start by throwing away old chargers, duplicate cords, pairless socks and broken utensils.

2) Expired is so last season

Go through your kitchen and bathroom and check the expiry dates on all your products. Dump the expired items and donate anything else that's been sitting around unused. You'll be amazed at how much space you'll clear and how good you'll feel.

3) Commit to one clutter-free corner

Choose a section of your home, be it a countertop or a couch, and ask the whole family to agree to keep it clutter-free. Chances are, this will inspire you to move on to the next spot.

4) Lose the doubles

It's time to donate all your duplicate or "just-in-case" items. Nobody needs three garlic crushers or orange squeezers.

5) Take the hanger test

Flip all your hangers in your wardrobe the wrong way around. When you wear an item, return that hanger the right way around. After a few weeks you'll have a really good idea of what you haven't worn in ages, and can send a beautiful care package to your local charity shop.

Remember what your home is really for. It's not a storeroom for your items, but rather a place for you to relax and spend time with family.