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Hints & Tips

Clean up Your Act: Guide to Decluttering

If you have to perform a shoulder barge to close wardrobe doors, or you daren’t venture into the garage for fear of causing an avalanche of old toys, dusty furniture, books and boxes, it’s time to take a deep breath and start decluttering.

For many of us, however, decluttering is easier said than done. And across the UK thousands of people jealously hang on to every last possession until their homes are filled to bursting point. Ironically, many of these items are stuffed into cupboards or lurk in the shadows in attics and rarely see the light of day. Most of them the owners are surprised to learn they still have when they stumble across them searching for another lost item.

It’s time to take a tip from the numerous interior designers on TV who evangelise about the virtues of a home that is free from unwanted items. Cleared of clutter, the result is clean, clear spaces that are relaxing and restful. It’s also a highly liberating experience that can bring a breath of fresh air to your home and lifestyle. And remember: you can even make a few quid along the way!

So, if you want to get on top of that mountain of old clothes, records or DVDs, take a moment to read our essential Preloved Guide to Decluttering and take back possession of your home from your possessions!

decluttering clothes

Plan Your Attack

Set a date for decluttering. It’s easy to put off a good cleaning offensive, so circling a day on the calendar makes you more likely to be prepared to get on with the task in hand.

One Hit Wonder

There’s no hard and fast rule to a successful declutter in terms of how long it takes. Some prefer a one-hit approach, while others will go for little and often. Set your own pace, but see each decluttering session as an achievement.

Little by Little

Rather than tackling an entire garage, which may seem too daunting, divide an area up into smaller sections, or start with one cupboard or smaller room.

Junk the Junk

Ask yourself two simple questions to decide whether your really need a particular item:

  • When did I last use this?
  • Do I really need this?

If the answer to the first question is ‘not in the last six months’, the answer to the second question is probably obvious.

Treasured Trove

Perhaps the hardest things to get rid of are those which have some memory attached to them. With some items, such as a DVD of the first film you watched on a date with your wife, or that classic novel you studied at school, it’s worth remembering that these can easily be replaced if you later wish you still had them. Others, such as photographs, jewellery or a piece of family furniture are unique and would be difficult to replace.

Play Time is Over

While it’s natural to want to hold on to your child’s beloved teddy bear or favourite bedtime storybook, when your children no longer play with certain toys and have outgrown clothes they, and certainly you, no longer need them.

Tip Tops?

Now you’ve sorted out what you don’t need, what do you do with it next? A trip to the tip might seem the easiest option, but the old adage of one man’s waste is another man’s treasure remains true today. So, rather than ending up in a landfill, those old clothes, chest of drawers or canoe could earn you some cash!

Place an advert on Preloved absolutely free of charge, and give your possessions a second chance in life.

Rewarding Work

Once all the hard work’s over and the money is in the bank, why not treat yourself to a meal out or a new outfit? But, remember, don’t return to your old hoarding ways and steer away from unnecessary purchases that can quickly undo your decluttering good deeds.

Alice Turner

Alice Turner

Writer and expert