Victoria Yuen. February 2016.
1. Do something each day for 5 minutes. Perhaps sort the medicine cabinet, your underwear drawer, sort out one bookshelf, organise your shoes, fill a large garbage bag with stuff for charity, recycle all of the newspapers, throw out all of the pens that don’t work, clean all or part of your desk at work, do through one shelf of your pantry and throw anything that is out of date or use what you could quickly, look at your recipe books and see which ones you haven’t used for years or see which ones you can find on-line, go through one shelf in your linen cupboard and donate what you don’t use.
2. Make a game of decluttering for one month. The first day of the month, throw or give one thing away. The second day of the month, throw or give two things away. On the third day of the month, throw or give three things away, do you see the pattern here? By the time you have completed your 30 day month, you would have thrown or given away 573 things.
4. I actually enjoyed doing this one a couple of years ago. I heard about it through social media and decided to try it. I turned every hanger in my wardrobe around the wrong way. Each time I wore something, I put the hanger back facing the correct way. At the end of a year (the blog I read said 3 months, but I decided to lengthen it) I could see what I wear a lot and what I could give to charity or sell. Very easy, very practical, very enlightening.
5. Have designated spots for everything, then the whole family know where things need to go when they are actually tidying up. All lego go here, all books go here, all drawing paper goes here, all textas/pens/crayons go here, all papers go here, all cleaning products go here.
6. Have a look at your tables and bench tops. Do you burn that candle very night? Could it be put away until you do? Do you use that griller every day? Could it be put into a kitchen cupboard? If that vase doesn’t have flowers in it, does it really need to be out? Start by clearing one table or bench top and stop and see how it feels. It’s quite freeing. The unfortunate thing that happens to me is that as soon as I clear a space, my family think it’s awesome, and they can dump heaps of stuff there. You may find this too? Perhaps we could have a chat about having a clutter free zone and how it makes you feel when it’s messy and how it makes you feel when it’s clear.
7.You may like to have a HUGE declutter party with your family. Have big boxes around, some for the bin, some for charity and some to sell. Put great music on and treat yourselves with a yummy lunch/dinner, some delicious drinks to keep things going and perhaps a ‘treat’ day the next day and all do something fun together. Then the next weekend, advertise and have an awesome Garage Sale and get some cashola for all of your hard work.
8. There are professional de-clutterers that can come into your house and look you in the eye and ask you why you have 46 pens in your drawer. You may be at a stage that you need another opinion and these people are fantastic at what they do.
9. This is easiest done when you are moving, but it can also be done when you are having a re-arrange of things/rooms in your house. When you are sorting things out to move, have an ‘I dunno’ box. You don’t know whether to throw it out or to keep it. Pack it in this box and don’t undo it until you REALLY need it. After about a year of keeping that box, you will probably have forgotten what is actually in the box. Do you really need to keep it? Go through it and keep what you really need and sell/give away what you haven’t used for a year.
10. Now that you have the most Zen looking home and your mind is feeling all free of clutter. Don’t clutter it up again, just like my family and my zen tabletops, you don’t need to rush out and collect more crap that you don’t actually use. There’re a few techniques to do this, one is to look at the price of the product and see if you feel it is actually worth spending your hard earned cash on, put it down, walk out of the shop and after an hour, see if you still really want it. For bigger purchases, perhaps a longer in between the actual thought of buying it and the purchase. Some people mention 5 days, others say wait 30 days. Your bank account will love you, you will have more money to spend on other things, like holidays, and your home will be easier and quicker to clean. Winner!!!
Before we go onto how to keep it tidy, I wonder how you feel now that your house is de-cluttered? I know that my mind is so much clearer when my home is clear of junk.
Here’s an article I wrote about Why de-cluttering can calm your mind, you may find it a useful read now.
The method that KonMari uses in her New York Times bestseller list book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has a base theory of ‘do you love it’? Does this particular thing bring you joy and happiness? If not, you don’t need it. She recommends starting with easy things, like I have suggested above, then move onto the more sentimental things later when you are already practised in de-cluttering.
10 Tips to tidy
- Have some routines. Make the beds each morning and the kids can do their own. Do all those little things that need to be done on a daily basis and just do them routinely. The bench around food preparation always need to be clear (something my husband has had to drill into me), dishes away, space clear of crumbs and not a drop-off zone for anything else.
- Have one spot for all of your incoming paperwork and have a time to organise it all. This stops all the double-handling that we do, for example, instead of picking up the mail, opening it as you stand in the kitchen, putting it ‘somewhere’ that may or may not be filled and sorted, then spending time finding it again, finding time to deal with it if it’s a bill or a note that has to be signed and then filing it. How about, when you get the mail/school newsletters, put them in one spot next to your computer. have a frequently allocated time to deal with it each day and pay/reply, then recycle the paper. You don’t need to keep anything that you can find online, this includes bank statements and manuals.
4. This is true for your email inbox as well. these days most of us have multiple email addresses and we have subscribed to hundreds of things. This can take up a serious amount of time deleting what we don’t want. There are programs that can go through all of the subscriptions you have and sort out what you don’t use anymore. This can also be great savings of money as many of these can be paid annual subscriptions. Saving you time AND money, cool!
5. While we’re at the computer, check out how many double ups you have. I know I used to have heaps of double ups of photos. With digital photography, some of us take more photos than we will ever look at. Before you download them onto your computer, go through your camera and delete ALL of the ones that you don’t want, then delete them from your camera, avoiding double-handling again.
6. I like Shannon Lush’s way of cleaning. She’s become very famous since I first heard of her and I’m pretty sure I saw her first ever interview about cleaning. What I love about her is that she uses natural, inexpensive products and she’s very practical. One main thing I took from her is to keep my cleaning materials in the place that I’m cleaning, this was a little tricky when I had small children, but now they are older, I can keep all of the bathroom cleaners in the actual bathroom. No need wasting time collecting it all. This is how she speed cleans her bathroom 1-2 minutes:
“I put a pair of pantyhose over the head of a broom, a scarf on her head, grab my clutter bucket in which I put anything that hasn’t got a washable surface (towels, toothpaste, shampoos, etc) and then put that outside the door.
I have my bicarb soda in my parmesan cheese shaker, my white vinegar in a spray bottle, I go in with my broom and I pretend I’m a carousel, shaking the bicarb around in a circle.
As soon as I start spraying I start sweeping with the broom. I sweep from the ceiling all the way down to the floor.
Once done, I rinse the broom and again sweep from ceiling to floor, but this time, with just the damp broom to remove any excess bicarb soda.
Once every three months, I’ll nip any mould growing in the bud by using my oil of clove mixture – that is 1/4 teaspoon oil of cloves per Litre of water, lightly misted around the room. Don’t brush off.
To clean any glass in your bathroom – don’t use newspaper – use the paper towel with methylated or white spirits and you’re done!
And my personal tip? Have the 1812 Overture blaring in the background – the sound of cannon fire in the background will really get you inspired.”
7. Multitask. Every time you prepare to walk from one room to the next, scan quickly to see if there is anything that has moved from its rightful spot that you can take with you. Do the same when going up or downstairs.
8. Put the dishwasher on overnight and the washing machine on so it’s finished when you get up in the morning. Use the time you’re not available to do housework, to do housework in a sneaky way! This might mean getting a robot vacuum cleaner, using timers to get the coffee going or the heater to come on an hour before you get up.
A lot of people like a schedule for your cleaning. If you Google ‘cleaning schedule’ there are such a great variety, you’re sure to find something that appeals to your eye and suits your household.
10. I opened my Instagram account one day to find a friend had posted a photo of her kids school hats in the dishwasher, what a great way to wash things! Any heavy duty toys, lego, cars, plastic dolls can go in the dishwasher. I tend to put a lot of things in the washing machine, not just clothing.
How did you go?
I’d love to connect with you on my Facebook page, head over here and comment on how you went de-cluttering and tidying up. https://www.facebook.com/victoriasplaceonline/
Do you want to join me for our next 5 week online ‘How To Create A Relaxed Home’ program?
With love and light,