Clean & Declutter,  Home Life,  Mental Health,  Self-Care & Wellbeing

Declutter Do’s and Dont’s

Decluttering our home is a therapeutic and beneficial way to get our lives back on track, but do you know the decluttering dos and donts?

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Let’s not waste any time and jump straight into it!

Don’t buy storage

This is my number one tip!

When you set out to declutter, it is so tempting to buy beautiful storage solutions. We look over Pinterest and dream of our ideal storage system, it’s all gorgeous but believe me when I tell you it’s a trap!

When you buy storage for your clutter, you are simply enabling your “hoarding” (not a huge fan of that word!) and telling your brain that it’s okay to hold on to the excess clutter because you have somewhere nice to put it.

What to do instead

Eliminate the need for storage altogether!
Declutter first, and before you know it you will not have nearly as much stuff that requires storing.

Once you have decluttered, you can then seek out beautiful storage to replace your current storage.

Don’t buy pretty jars

Similar to the storage, don’t go out and buy thousands of pretty jars to store all of your food in.

What to do instead

Repurpose all of your jars that you have come through your house – pasta sauce jars, coffee jars etc. These will just end up in landfill and they really shouldn’t! Many of them are made with quality glass, designed to last, and can be reused to store your food.

This is an amazing solution to cost-cutting, minimising clutter and saving the environment!

Alternatively, if you want to have at least some pretty jars in your home you can do a mix. Buy a few select jars for your home, and then repurpose everything else. This is what I did – I own 4 gorgeous mason jars and everything else is a reused jar!

Mason jars are great, easy to repurpose and really stylish.
if you’re looking for some great jars – check these out! (But remember to only buy one set – otherwise, it’s counterproductive!)

mason jars storage solutions declutter dos and donts

Don’t store seasonal decorations inside

Christmas is fantastic, I love Christmas! But storing your Christmas decorations inside just doesn’t make sense to me!

You are using up precious space to store items that you use for a few weeks of the year. That space could be used to store items that are used regularly

What to do instead

Put your decorations and seasonal items outside in a water-proof shed or garage. This will keep them safe while also keeping them from cluttering up your living space.

Don’t throw away everything

Your home is lost under hundreds of useless items, and you just want them gone!
It is tempting just to do a huge sweep of the house and throw everything in the bin, but this is not the best plan of attack.

What to do instead

Divide your clutter up into piles – Keep, Sell, Donate and Bin.

Sell and donate whatever you can, whenever you can. Your clutter could be someone else’s joy, plus you can potentially make some side cash to pay off any pesky debt!

Don’t hold onto old clothes and shoes

We have all had a wardrobe full of “maybe one-day” clothes, in fact, our wardrobes are one of the most common places for clutter.

“Out of sight, out of mind” is our worst enemy!

What to do instead

Donate wherever you can, take your unused clothes to op-shops and charities.

If you own an expensive pair of shoes that you know you can sell, by all means, sell them! Just stop holding on to them if you never wear them.

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Don’t go in blind

Decluttering when you have no clue what you want to declutter, why you are decluttering or an order you want to declutter your home, can be a nightmare for some.

Going in blind can leave us overwhelmed and undermotivated.

What to do instead

Have a game plan!
Here are the things you should ask yourself before you start your declutter

  • What is your “why”?
    Why do you want to declutter? Why have you decided right now that you’re going to overhaul your home?
    Is it because you’re fed up, or you just want a change of pace? It doesn’t matter what your why is, you just need to know it.
  • What are your “non-negotiables”?
    Non-negotiables are those items that you know you can never get rid of. This may be your mothers’ engagement ring or your first teddy.
    Even though we are decluttering, it is perfectly normal to have a few select items that are non-negotiable.
  • What is your homes biggest problem area?
    Always start in your homes biggest problem area. This usually helps you get most of the clutter done in one go, keeps you motivated and gives you something to look forward to with the rest of the house.

Once you have all of these three questions sorted, you are on the road to success without even lifting a finger!

Don’t jump from room to room

You are cleaning your bedroom, and you find a book that belongs in the office. So you take the book to the office and find something that belongs in the kitchen.

This can go on and on and on! It is inefficient and a sure-fire way to burn all of your motivation fast.

What to do instead

Focus on one room at a time. Don’t leave that room until it is done!

When you find that book for the study, add it to a basket or pile of things that belong in other rooms of the house. Once you are done, then you can relocate them.

Don’t keep things “just in case”

Having a “maybe” pile is the quickest way to put in a lot of effort and get no results.

Look at your clutter and think to yourself “how much of this have I kept in case I might need it but never used it!”

What to do instead

If it isn’t a resounding “yes, I absolutely need this!” then it is 99.9% of the time something you don’t need, and probably don’t even want in your home!

Ditch the “just in case” pile and chuck it! (or sell/donate, of course)

Don’t declutter other peoples stuff

My fiance doesn’t own much, but what he does own seems to spread across the whole house within seconds. It is so tempting to just declutter it all!

But this is not the right way to do things – you never know what is important to someone or what is their “non-negotiable”.

So never ever declutter someone else’s belongings.

What to do instead

Communication is key here.
Communicate with your husband, kids, roomies – whoever else is in your home. Let them know how you are feeling, what you are doing and why their assistance to declutter their personal space and belongings is important and beneficial.

Don’t think that is only your job to declutter

Your home isn’t just yours, it is the home of everyone else who lives in it.
This means that it is also their mess and clutter hanging around everywhere.

One of the biggest things that I see overwhelming those who want to declutter is the assumption that because they want to do the decluttering, it is entirely their job.

It’s not!

What to do instead

Just like the last point, communication is where your success lies!

Communicate with your household and let them know what your why is.
Ask them to come up with their own why, and encourage them to see the benefits of decluttering.

Let your children know that they will have more time to play games if they have fewer toys to clean.

Don’t think that things have a permanent space in your home

We get so caught up in thinking that because we needed an item once, we will need it for the rest of our lives.

Ditch the thinking that something will be forever useful.

What to do instead

Accept that what you needed once, you may no longer need now.
Say goodbye to that 2016 diary and hello to your clutter-free home.

Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed

It can be a quick jump from super motivated to overwhelmed when you are decluttering your home.

It’s a big job but don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by it.

What to do instead

Take a breath. Relax and step back from the task if you need to.

I like to remind myself that it took me years to collect all of this stuff, I can’t expect to organise and declutter overnight.

It doesn’t matter if it takes you a day or a month to declutter your whole home – what matters is that you are doing it.

Don’t think that you can keep the same habits

Once we have decluttered our home, it can be easy to slip back into old habits.
“I just need to keep this piece of paper in case one day I need to write a note”.

What to do instead

Realise that this process is a cleansing experience, but it requires a total mindset change to keep it going for the rest of your life.

Cleaning and decluttering isn’t just a “chore” – it is something that is part of our lives forever. Once you understand that, it becomes a lot easier with practice.

Don’t keep reading this post and do start your decluttering!

Now that you have got a huge list of decluttering dos and donts, you are well on your way to having the home you want and deserve.

So stop reading and start doing!
You’ve got this.

If you need any additional help

Make sure you check out our 4-week declutter challenge. Have a declutter day mailed directly to your inbox twice a week for 4 weeks!
It has all of the tips, advice and worksheets you need to kick butt!

declutter challenge

Jess is an aspiring blogger, born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. After relocating to remote Christmas Island, Australia, to be with her fiance, she became a mother for the first time. As a long-time sufferer of anxiety, Jess knew that as a mother she couldn't keep letting it take control of her life. Using the power of planning, Jess has learned how to use her passion for organisation to minimise anxiety and maximise her self-worth. Now she runs her blog, Mindful Galaxy, to bring all of these lessons straight to you so that you can live your best life.

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