Decluttering is all about making room in your home for the things that matter.
It relieves stress by providing a sense of control and accomplishment.
We were recently asked to write an article about what Clear the Clutter in Dubai is all about. Here is an excerpt of the article to give you a more in-depth explanation about who we are; our organising methods; and important tips on how to organise each room in your home.
We are two South African moms who love to create beautiful and organized spaces. We always consider the family needs; the flow of everyday life; and what systems will work best in our client’s homes. For a once-off investment, you will be left with an organized system and functional space that can be easily maintained for years to come. Decluttering and organising almost always takes more time than what people think the process will take. It is hard work, time consuming and takes thoughtful planning.
- We remove every single item from the space where we work and go through the items with the client.
- We then repack it in the most functional and practical way.
- We use containers where possible, especially if the client has some on hand. If not, we come prepared with a few containers.
- We also label the containers, and this makes it easier for the whole family to maintain this organized system.
Clutter can be an energy zapper; a waste of inordinate amounts of time looking for things; as well as a waste of money spent on things not found. It is almost impossible to feel peaceful in a cluttered and chaotic environment. Decluttering is all about making room in your home for the things that matter – it relieves stress by providing a sense of control and accomplishment.
Important Tips to Declutter Your Home:
Ask yourself: Do I use it, need it, or love it? If the answer is yes, you should keep it. If the answer is no, it should go.
- Set high standards when evaluating ? you have made the decision to declutter, make it worth your while. Start with the room/area that bothers you the most.
- Have supplies ready: ~ sticky notes and a marker, cardboard boxes and packing tape ~ plastic and trash bags to sort items.
- Set a timer to keep the decluttering focused.
- When unsure of an item, keep it aside and deal with it in the last 15 minutes of the dedicated time. If your answer is still an uncertainty, it should go. Only keep items in a room that belong in that room.
- If you cannot bear to deal with or don?t have the time to do the whole bedroom in one go, considering hiring someone to help organise for you (CleartheClutter is at your service), or start with a category: Casual clothes / Winter clothes / Swimwear / Eveningwear / Underwear / Socks / Shoes / Handbags / Belts / Ties
- Have the following organising bins/boxes ready: KEEP / DECIDE / THROW-OUT / SELL / DONATE or RECYCLE
- Gather items of one category from all the rooms in the house, for example: collect all T-shirts from all the rooms and stack them on one pile. Next, collect all jeans from all rooms and form another pile, and so forth. The reason for this is to see exactly how many of a certain item you have. This is important!
- Categorize by items: for example, blouses, T-shirts, trousers, skirts, dresses, etc. You need to firmly decide if you love an item or not. If you really cannot decide at that moment, put it on the ?Decide pile.
- Ask yourself: – Is it useful and do I love it? – Have I used it in the last year? – Does it fit? – Do I need so many? The process of going through clothes, shoes and other long-forgotten belongings will help you cleanse your house and your mind of any emotional baggage that may be connected to these items. You?ll make room for new belongings that make you happy.
- Make piles for medicine, toiletries, cleaning supplies and towels, to see exactly what is cluttering up the bathroom.
- Get rid of all expired items, old toothbrushes, old nail varnish and broken makeup. Most makeup should not be kept for longer than 2 years, and some, like mascara, only for three months.
- Throw out/donate towels with holes.
- Group & store in suitable containers where possible. It is always good to have containers and label them so that the whole family knows where to replace any item.
- Clear all counters, except for 4-6 essential items – such as a coffee maker, kettle, toaster, cookie jar, oils/spices (grouped together), knife block or fruit bowl.
- Cooking utensils, pots and pans should be conveniently located near the cooking area.
- Unless you bake every day, store baking supplies away in a cabinet or on a shelf. If there is a mixer on the countertop, group the baking supplies near it.
- Categorize items and store them together in cupboards.
- Get rid of duplicate pots and pans that hardly gets used. Clear out excessive food storage containers, and those without lids.
Laundry Room / Pantry / Storage Room:
- Throw out or donate old pillows and worn-out sheets/blankets (i.e. to animal shelters).
- Throw out expired food items from the pantry.
- Organize items with baskets, labelled bins/containers and sturdy shelving ? go vertical if not enough cupboard space available.
- Label the contents of containers in storage. If there are specific items in one, tape a paper list to the front of it to have a visible inventory of what is inside.
- Un-decorate: try pruning back the pillows, hang up pictures and add floating shelves to the walls to remove pictures or collectables that are crowding tabletops.
- Store mess of cords in a container that matches the room d?cor or bind them together. Remove any extra electrical cords.
- Categorize items and go through each one: clothes, toys, books, games, puzzles, artwork and all stationary (from the whole house).
- Get rid of all broken toys, clothes that do not fit, old stationary, and books that are not age-related.
- Clothes, toys and books to be kept for another child can be stored in plastic containers/zipped fabric boxes, labelled and stored away. It shouldn?t take up prime real estate in any wardrobe.
Photos and Artwork: Keep the memories—not the stuff.
- 1. With photos, have categories: holidays / kid?s early years / birthdays, / social outings, etc. and keep just a few of each occasion.
- Get rid of similar posed photos, blurry ones, photos of animals, food, random places, etc. that really has no meaning to anyone anymore (unless your hobby is one of those categories of course).
- When it comes to kid?s artwork, keep only a few of their very best artwork. We recommend using large portfolio bags to stow your child?s artwork throughout the year. At the end of the school year, take time to take pictures of the artwork and make a collage. You can also send your photos to a photo book company to create a beautiful memento of memories.
Discard old paperwork and receipts, old mail & manuals (can be found online, or at least keep them all in one place in a box), old books, magazines and greeting cards. Containers should be bought after decluttering to see exactly what is needed for the space available. Look at all the spaces for possible storage – behind doors, vertical space, etc. Measure before buying any storage containers & when choosing the containers, think what would look aesthetically pleasing in that space. To maintain your organized system, make it a habit to declutter a little each day. Our next blog post will give you practical tips on how to maintain an organized system for years to come.