How to declutter your home & create more space with these 18 Tips

Holy mess! Are you surrounded by chaos and disarray? Is your life a hodgepodge of litter and bedlam? Maybe understanding how to declutter your home will help put some order in your life. People who take action in decluttering their lives and homes swear to its life-changing effect. Indeed, studies found that a cluttered home is one major cause of stress. An article on Psychology Today enumerates how a disorganized home affects its inhabitants’ wellbeing.  It is frustrating, distracting, and not at all relaxing.  Truly, nobody would want to live in a house like that!

An Australian study of this clutter crisis gives us a glimpse of how bad it is on our side of the planet. A survey of 1,000 homes in late 2007 showed that almost 90% homes had at least one cluttered room in their house. The survey also revealed that the top three “clutter hotspots” in any given house included the spare room and bedrooms, the kitchen, and the garage.

Here are 18 tips on how to declutter your home and declutter your life.

Decluttering Tip #1: Organize your bedroom closet

In decluttering your closet, it might be helpful to think of two key words: necessity and – to borrow from Marie Kondo – joy. If you haven’t worn a particular clothing for a year or more, then it’s time to discard it already. Unused clothes – also known as “virgin clothes” – also need to go. On the concept of joy, only keep clothes that you are 100% comfortable wearing and which give you happiness.

On average, Australians buy 27 kilos of new clothes annually. An overstocked closet that contains things you don’t or can’t wear is a result of a couple of things: clothes shopping as a hobby and choosing to buy cheap and trendy clothes. Not only is fast fashion bad for the environment, it’s also bad for your mission to declutter your closet. So once you are done getting rid of all unnecessary and joyless clothes, keep that space you have just created by swearing off from buying more.

After you have reduced the number of items in your closet, it’s time to explore ways on how to hang, fold, or store them. There are countless websites that show you the way. A quick search on Pinterest will even give you diagrams on how to fold items from t-shirts to socks to create more drawer or closet space.

Decluttering Tip #2: Utilise the space under your bed

Now that you have only the essential things in your closet and have gotten rid of all the unnecessary ones, what should you do with the rest, meaning the things that you need to access only from time to time – some documents, photographs, off season clothing, beddings, and others  Get some under-the-bed storage drawers and boxes, and utilize the space under your bed. You’ll end up with a clutter-free bedroom but with things still close at hand. 

Decluttering Tip #3: Clear the bedside clutter

Another “clutter hotspot” in the bedroom is the nightstand or bedside table. Let’s see if you pass this one: can you reach your alarm clock without fear of knocking some things off your nightstand? If the answer is no, then you must clear your bedside clutter.  First, as we did with your closet, take a look at the things on your table and in your drawers. Throw away all the unnecessary items. Second, make sure that only the top 3-5 things you absolutely need remain on top of your bedside table. This could be a book, your glasses, and the alarm clock. Keep the rest in the drawers of your nightstand.

Decluttering Tip #4: Clear the spare room floor

Can you still see your spare room floor? Or do you need to move things around just to walk around in the room? Keep piles off the floor by getting shelves and making use of vertical space. That way, you keep the floor clear and maximize your spare room’s storage capability. Another way to declutter the spare room is to figure out the purpose of that room and then keep it that way. Whether you intend it to be a guest bedroom or home office, put things in there for that purpose alone.  This will prevent your spare room from being a clutter magnet.

Decluttering Tip #5: Let go of the spare room clutter

Did you know there are many different types of clutter? When people go about their home organization project, they tend to just move the clutter into the spare room instead of letting them go. As they say in yoga parlance, it’s better to “let go of all things that don’t serve you.” So go in that spare room with at least three boxes – a donation/give away box, a trash bin, and a sell box. Sell expensive things you don’t use on e-bay. One man’s trash is another’s treasure after all. You can even go one step further into generating income off your spare room by renting it out. A survey showed that Australian spare rooms can earn as much as hotels, especially if you live in cities such as Sydney. Learn more about how you can earn some extra cash from our post on the 21 ways you can earn passive income from the sharing economy

Decluttering Tip #6: Create more space in the spare room

Space saving furniture is your best friend when it comes to creating more space in your spare room. The bed, for example, is a major floor space hugger so consider using folding beds, sofa beds, or one of those cool wall beds. Also, explore fold down desks that are designed to create more space and keep your work area clutter-free.  It doesn’t have to be expensive either. Head to your nearest Ikea store or make your own.

Decluttering Tip #7: Clean the kitchen cupboard

There is a Japanese workplace organization concept called “5S.” It is also adaptable to organizing the kitchen, particularly the cupboard. Translated into English, it begins with sorting, setting in order, shining, standardizing, and sustaining. The cupboard holds a lot of things in it-- from food items to utensils. Sort things out in each cupboard, and throw away unusable or useless items. The remaining useful ones should then be put together and put in the right place. Next, it’s time to do the actual cleaning. Standardize a means to ensure that everyone in the household does their part in putting items back where they were and maintaining cleanliness. When this is done over time, then keeping a clutter-free cupboard becomes sustainable.

Decluttering Tip #8: Use cupboard doors for storage

Still lack storage space for kitchen items? Cupboard doors are excellent places for extra storage. Another quick search online or on Pinterest will give you ideas on cabinet door storage. They show you how to make organizing fun, by repurposing things such as the magazine racks and shoe holders.

Decluttering Tip #9: Keep your kitchen counter clutter-free

Don’t use your kitchen counter as a display counter. It’s nice to have some decorative items on it, but keep it to a minimum. For a truly clutter-free kitchen counter, follow a minimalist advocate’s suggestion: don’t let the kitchen appliances you use even on a daily basis sit on the kitchen counter permanently. Put them out of sight.

Decluttering Tip #10: Empty the dishwasher

Speaking of “everything in its right place,” check that dishwasher. Are you using it more like a storage place instead of a machine to clean the dishes? Remember to put away all the dishes after they’ve been cleaned and washed–every single time. This is an important checklist item for a really clean kitchen. Some people recommend cleaning your dishwasher once a month; others every six months. Determine what suits you best. Handyman Australia recommends to clean, check, or replace everything - from spray holes and hoses to filters.

Decluttering Tip #11: Grease off the stove

Now let’s head to the “grease central” of your kitchen – the stove. An article on Huffington Post enumerates the many wonderful ways you can use bi-carb soda in cleaning the kitchen, especially the grease on your stove top. While you’re at it, make use of a homemade cleanser in cleaning your other kitchen appliances such as microwaves or ovens. Practice a “clean as you go” policy every time you use these appliances to keep them clean and shiny.

Decluttering Tip #12: Declutter the refrigerator

As for your refrigerator, purge and then reorganize! Toss out all expired food items, condiments, and other formerly edible things from your fridge. Maximize your fridge space by putting only items that actually need refrigeration. Also, it’s a good idea to use stackable containers for food. Even the shapes of the containers you pick are relevant in maximizing your fridge space. Go for square instead of round ones.

Decluttering Tip #13: Properly store fire hazards in the garage

Let’s talk safety first. Just like the spare room, the garage is a major clutter zone in the house. But the big difference of garage clutter is that it’s not only unpleasant to look at; it’s potentially dangerous, too. Most Australian homes store flammable liquids, chemicals, and other fuels in the garage. This is why the Melbourne Fire Brigade came up with safety tips on the proper storage of these dangerous items. Read the labels for information on proper storage. Also, be careful in the removal or disposal of these hazardous materials. Make sure you dispose of them properly when you do your garage decluttering.

Decluttering Tip #14: Time your garage decluttering project

The first step on how to declutter any room always begins with purging or getting rid of things. The same goes with the garage. But don’t be overwhelmed. Break it down. Just set a time limit to your garage decluttering project, and soon you’ll have your own clutter-free space back. If you’re working on weekdays, set aside just 30 minutes to go through your garage clutter.  On weekends, consider extending this to an hour so.

Decluttering Tip #15: Categorize and label items in your garage

Are your boxes and bins ready for your garage decluttering project? Good. Better still is to get some labeling materials ready. As mentioned earlier, the garage contains so many different kinds of things, from automotive tools to pet products and other miscellaneous stuff. Categorize them and put them in certain areas of the garage. This way, the next time you look for or store something, you know exactly which part of the garage to go to. Having big, clear labels on boxes and bins will also help you locate things quickly. No more digging through boxes of mixed-up stuff.

Decluttering Tip #16: Put garage floor markings

Borrowing from the 5S system of floor markings, why not use some colored tape to create zones in your garage? Put some yellow floor markings to indicate an aisle, which should never be blocked; red floor markings for areas to steer clear of for safety reasons; and even white tape to indicate placement of certain materials such as the recycle or trash bin.

 

Decluttering Tip #17: Utilize the garage wall space

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To create more space in your garage, utilize the walls. Pegboards are very popular. Attach magnetic strips on the walls. They work well with metal tools.

Decluttering Tip #18: Utilize the garage ceiling space

Still need more floor space in your garage? Consider overhead storage racks. Buy ready-made ones or do it yourself. If you own a bike or several bikes, hanging them from the ceiling is a great way to use that wasted space above. Look at these three bikes hanging from the ceiling creating more walking space in cramped garage. 

 

Now that you have done this major decluttering project and are living in a clean, organized, stress-free house, congratulate yourself. Make sure that it’s not a short-lived success, though. Keep cleaning and organizing on a regular basis. If you have other members in the household, work together for a clutter-free home. Also heed the advice of a minimalist who says that it’s not enough to declutter; it’s also important to stop accumulating unnecessary stuff.

So put your decluttering game on, and be on your way to a clutter-free home. If you need even more space, visit https://www.spacer.com.au/ to search for spaces you can rent.

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