If you’ve been catching up on the Netflix series “Tidying Up”, you’re probably looking at your house with a side-eye. Personal possessions build up in your home over time. If they’re not kept under control and tidied away, they can soon make even the most spacious and roomy home feel crowded and cluttered.
Once it gets to this stage, sorting out the mess can seem daunting. However, if you take a systematic approach to decluttering your home, it’s much easier than it looks. We’ve done the work for you with these 11 steps to a spacious home.
1) Grab a Basket
First, grab a laundry basket and go from room to room. Fill it up with any objects that aren’t where they should be. Once the basket is full, go through it and examine every item. Return each one to its correct place straight away, or if you decide you can live without it, either store it away out of sight or throw it in the garbage.
2) Tables and Shelves
Next, choose a table or shelf and remove every item from it. Clean the empty surface, and then all the items, but don’t replace them immediately. Instead, decide if each one really belongs were it was, if it can be put into storage, or if it can be thrown away completely. Do for same for every surface in your home, tackling a different one each day.
3) Pick a Drawer
Out of sight is out of mind, and drawers quickly become filled with all sorts of objects you’ll never need again. Each day, pick a drawer to clear. Go through the contents, disposing of items that you don’t need or putting wanted ones in a more suitable location. After doing this with a few drawers, you’ll probably find you have a lot more storage available to free up space elsewhere.
4) Bedroom Closets
When did you last wear a piece of clothing? Are you likely to wear it again? If not, a trip to a thrift store can clear plenty of room in almost any wardrobe closet.
5) Kitchen Cabinets
If a gadget has been sitting at the back of a kitchen cabinet for months or years, you almost certainly won’t miss it if it’s gone. Either put it in storage or get rid of it completely. This will free up room for more frequently used items, which can be stored in the cabinets rather than left cluttering up your kitchen surfaces.
6) Pantries and Store Cupboards
Check all your pantry contents for items which are out of date. Be ruthless. If you haven’t used an ingredient within its “best before” period, it’s unlikely you ever will. Discard it, even if it’s still technically safe to consume.
If your shelves are lined with books, take stock and clear out any which you aren’t likely to read again. Of course, you should hold on to your best-loved books which you’ll return to. But for most people over half the books on their shelves are just taking up space. Again, your local thrift store will be happy to take them off your hands.
8) Kids’ Toys and Books
If you have kids, they’ll be constantly outgrowing their toys and books. Keep hold of those which have special memories. However, most can be quietly removed to somewhere less visible as a temporary measure, before disposing of them completely.
Clear your bathroom shelves of cosmetics and toiletries you haven’t used in months. Check if half-empty bottles of creams and lotions are still worth keeping, and remove any items which have passed their recommended use-by date.
10) Entrances and Hallways
Make sure you have places to keep shoes, keys, umbrellas, hats and so on, and get into the habit of putting them there every time you return home. Anything that doesn’t need to be picked up easily on your way out should be moved elsewhere, so that your home feels tidy and spacious every time you enter.
11) Basement, Garage, and Attic
Lastly, these all-purpose dumping grounds will pick up plenty of junk over the years, and clearing them can release lots of useful space. Tackling the entire room is probably too much to face in one session. But setting yourself aside just half an hour a week can give useful results after a surprisingly short time.
What’s more, once you get started, you’ll probably find it goes more quickly than you thought. Just make sure you have a plan for disposing of unwanted items, so you can remove them immediately without procrastinating.
Decluttering your home is always easy to put off for another day. But if you make a habit of doing a little and often, your home will soon become more spacious, brighter, and much more pleasant to live in.