Decluttering 101 – The Rules Organised Mums Swear By

Clutter comes with the territory of having a family.  Plain and simple.  It’s a little known phenomenon that tags along as you enter into parenthood. A new baby arrives, you buy stuff, you’re given stuff and all of a sudden, you no longer have time to sort through stuff or stay on top of all the stuff!

The ‘stuff’ around you begins to build up.  Then the next baby arrives and the jumbles of piles begin to grow.  And grow.  Closets that may once have been viewed as being useful spaces quickly become places you’re afraid to venture into as the boxes of memorabilia/little-used toys/gadgets/board-games/half-finished-projects have found a way to breed and multiply.

A build up of clutter equals stress.  It equals chaos and disorganisation.  It can sometimes feel like it’s gone way too far that you just don’t know where to start to get back on top of it all again.  That feeling simply means it’s time to declutter.  Actually, every day is a good day to declutter.  TODAY is a good day to declutter!

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The secret to decluttering is to do little and often.  Make it part of your daily ritual and before you know it, you’ll be sorting like a pro, have the confidence to cut down from six fondue sets to two and be able to say without hesitation “It’s in the back cupboard, on the left, bottom shelf”.  No more duplicated items and no more wasting money or time searching or replacing what you already have.

Here are my Top 10 Rules to get on top of the chaos and start reorganising your life:

  1. Follow the 80/20 Rule.  You’ll use 20% of your possessions 80% of the time.  Keep this 20% easily accessible and allocate logical spaces to store the rest of your items.  Be sure to group like items together.
  2. Only handle items once. If it doesn’t belong on a bench, find a place for it or get rid of it.  Do it, Deal with it or Donate it.
  3. Follow the ‘Rule of 5’.  Every time you leave a room, take 5 things with you that need to be put away, thrown out or given away.
  4. Embrace digital storage!  Get rid of bulky manuals and download digital versions that you can store on your computer.
  5. Choose a small project once a week and break that project up into smaller daily tasks.  Kitchen cupboards need a spring clean?  Do one drawer, one cupboard a day and it’ll be done in no time!
  6. Immediately recycle or throw out any junk mail/paperwork that you don’t need.  Don’t let it build up.  Assess what’s been lying around that you plan to ‘get to eventually’ (brochures, flyers, etc) and be honest – if it’s not really that important, get rid of it and free yourself up to do something that will ultimately matter more to you in the end.
  7. Plus One/Minus One – This rule applies to all new items entering the house.  Whenever you purchase or receive something new, remove something similar from your current closet or toy collection.
  8. Don’t get swamped by memorabilia.  Use expanding files to store kids certificates, letters and the drawings you want to keep.  Photograph kids artwork you want to keep but may not want the original and set up a memorabilia box for yourself to start keeping all those sentimental bits and pieces together in one place.
  9. Search websites such as Pinterest, Howards Storage World and Google for inspiration on how to store and organise areas around the house.  In this day and age, if you have problem, chances are someone’s already solved it, photographed it and blogged about it!
  10. Prepare for birthdays and Xmas by doing a total clean out of the kids toys, books and clothes.  If you do this regularly, by the time the holiday season rolls around, you’ll have space to put everything quickly away without stress of trying to find more space.

Happy Sorting!

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