Decluttering often comes at the top of everyone’s to do list – let this be the year where I finally embrace minimalism, that kind of thing.

But when you try it, you might find yourself in the peculiar situation of creating yet more mess. And no-one wants that. Decluttering is about cleanliness, neatness, order and the peace of opening a door to zen calmness.

The secret is to prepare and have a plan. If you’re clearing out drawers and cupboards, they’ll create mess straight away, especially if they are jam-packed. And if you haven’t touched them for a while, they will stir up dirt and dust. Yuck!

Here’s how to declutter with a plan…

Use only two boxes or bags

The donate box and the throwaway one. As you empty out drawers and cupboards, deciding some things belong in the ‘to keep’ pile often reinforces the status quo. One way of decluttering is to empty out everything onto the floor – messy and often unproductive. Everything you take out should go in the donate or chuck box. ‘To keep’ piles often end up in yet more boxes or bags you shove in the attic or garage.

Donate straight away

As soon as the donate box fills, take it to the charity shop. Ditto the throwaway one. Hopefully, most of your rubbish will be recyclable—papers, magazines etc. The task might feel as if you are interrupting your declutter time—and we know that seems counter-intuitive—but all of us are guilty of moving our donate bags or boxes to the hallway where they stay for days and even weeks before we get around to taking them to the charity shop.

Have the questions ready

Decluttering is tiring mentally because it involves making hundreds of decisions. Do I need this or not, oh but I might want it a few weeks from now, etc. Decide the criteria for what makes the cut beforehand and do your best to stick to it. Rules of thumb can include throwing out clothes you haven’t worn in six months or anything that does fit you, only storing magazines or newspapers that are less than three months old or chucking anything you haven’t looked at for a year.

Do it one step at a time

It’s an accepted part of decluttering wisdom. Tackle the job in small stages and you also avoid making too much mess. We recommend decluttering the rooms or spaces you use most often first, as the resulting cleanliness will be more noticeable. And it will spur you on.

Good luck!

Don’t forget, if you get overwhelmed by the sheer size of the job, you can call in the professionals and get Just Clear to help you out with your clearance. Whether you need a whole house clearance, a garden clearance or just have some waste that you need removed, we can help.