Space – we all wish we had more of it. Every year we accumulate more things, from clothing to furniture, and yet we rarely throw anything out. The result? A cramped house with no room left!
There are lots of things you can do to create the illusion of more space, but if you physically want more room, you’ll need to declutter. Luckily, it’s not as hard or heart-breaking as it may seem. Just follow our tips below, collated with the help of some decluttering experts, and you’ll be well on your way to a cleaner, happier home.
1) Clear out your existing storage spaces
When was the last time you actually used your garage for your car? You’ll no doubt have storage spaces scattered around the home that haven’t been accessed in months. Mostly because they just contain stacks of boxes – probably dating back to when you first moved in – that you simply can’t access due to the way they’re stored.
All cupboards and other storage space should be organised, so that it’s easy to find and get what you want out of them.
2) Try the KonMari Method
This method, created by Marie Kondo, is one of the more brutal approaches when it comes to decluttering. Essentially, you should chuck anything out which doesn’t give you joy. It sounds hard, but you’ll soon be looking at every ornament and pair of shoes in a brand new light. If it broke tomorrow, would you really be that devastated?
Marie also suggests working through your possessions by category, instead of decluttering a room at a time. So if you know you have far too many clothes, maybe that would be the best place to start!
3) Ask yourself – would I buy that now?
If the above method doesn’t quite work for you, then this nugget of advice from The Clutter Fairy may be more straight-forward:
“If clearing out clothes, go through each item and ask ‘would I buy that now?’. If the answer’s ‘no’ then it’s time to donate or recycle.”
4) Store seasonal items elsewhere
Your Christmas decorations, skis and the kid’s paddling pool are all used just once or twice a year, so why are they taking up space in your home? Move your seasonal items to a self-storage container instead – that way, when you do need them, they’ll be easy to get to, not buried in the depths of the shed or garage.
5) Plan your purge
Interior designer Heather Craig says knowing what you want to achieve is key before starting any purge. “If you know your goal, you can work backwards and list the steps you need to take to get there,” she told us. “Beside each step, estimate how long it will take (allow more time than you think and if you finish early, it’s a bonus!).”
Heather notes that it’s not wise to take on too much at once, otherwise your house will be a mess for weeks. Plus, completing small tasks can be very rewarding.
“Honestly, this might sound like you’re overthinking it, but the satisfaction of ticking lists and making methodical progress is like being given an award.”
6) Make sure every item has a home
Erin Doland, editor-in-chief of Unclutterer.com and author of ‘Never too busy to cure clutter’, believes everything you own must have a home, otherwise your house will always feel cluttered.
“I like to reference the mantra: ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’,” she says. “If you don’t have a storage place for an object, it will always be out of place.”
By following this advice, you’ll not only have a tidier home, you’ll also be able to find that ‘thing’ you’re looking for much more easily.
“Before buying something new, be sure you know exactly where the item will be stored in your home – if there isn’t room for it, reconsider making the purchase,” Erin adds.
7) Digitise where possible
Books, magazines, CDs and DVDs are all small objects that end up taking up a lot of room in people’s houses. Digital media, on the other hand, takes up no physical space at all. Consider burning your CDs to your computer, downloading your favourite films to a tablet (legally!) and investing in an eReader. Alternatively, you could simply subscribe to various streaming services, such as Spotify and Netflix – doing so would save space on your computer and expand your music and film library exponentially.
Once you’ve got digital copies of all your favourite books, albums and films, you can trade in the physical versions for cash!
8) Don’t procrastinate
Heather admits it can be all-too-tempting to sit down and flick through that decade-old photo album you’ve just uncovered, or read that comic book you thought you’d lost, but it’s vital to stay focused during the decluttering process.
“Resist doing this with all your might,” Heather says. “My tip is to have a blank page with the heading ‘Look later’, and if you really, really, really want to spend more time revisiting some things, put them where you are going to store them, then write them on your list. That way, you’re free to go back to them when the session is done.”
Clearing your home out isn’t easy, but remember you don’t have to throw out anything you really need or want to keep. Putting it in self-storage is a good, alternative solution – you’ll free up space inside your home and have somewhere safe and secure to place those important files and treasured possessions. If you’d like to know more about your options, give us a call on 0800 644 0018 today.