Start your spring clean with a declutter

Most people would admit to owning and keeping lots of unwanted items that end up taking up valuable space in their homes. Before your spring clean have a spring clear-out and get those unwanted items out of the house once and for all. Follow our 6 point plan to minimise the disruption and maximise the effectiveness:

1.    Make a date

Set a date to start and stick to it. Check the weather forecast – a bit of sunshine makes the whole task seem easier and will allow you to spill outside if needed. If it feels like spring, you will want to start the spring clear-out and are more likely to stick to the task.

2.    Make a plan

You know when but who and what? The clutter is unlikely to be one person’s fault so get spouses and kids involved if they have their own piles of stuff filling wardrobes, cupboards, bedrooms, studies, garages and sheds! Perhaps assign someone to a particular room. Set some guidelines on what stays and what goes. If it hasn’t been used/worn/switched on in, say, 12 months then it is probably surplus to requirement. Stick to the rules no matter how painful.

3.    Make a charity happy

Charities always require good quality items either to resell or use for their causes. Clothes, housewares, books, media are ideal to donate. Electrical items and large furniture often need to go to more specialist centres. As a family, select a charity [you could support it all year round with other activities] and call their local shop/branch to tell them what you are planning on doing – they may be able to help with collecting items. If you have a lot to dispose of why not plan a charity ‘garage sale’? Again the charity could help with publicity and you could offer refreshments to raise even more money.

4.    Make some money

You may want to raise some cash for yourself – perhaps to buy new things in time for next years clearance! Family, friends and work colleagues may be interested so give them the opportunity to go through your unwanted items on the day of your clearance otherwise they will be left to clutter up the place for even longer. If you think there is anything of value your local auction house will provide a free valuation. Finally, locally-based internet sites such as Gumtree allow you to sell stuff for free. Even if you don’t value it, somebody else may and the internet will provide a good guide to what price to ask.

5. Make some room

After you have cleared out/given away/sold plenty, you may find you haven’t quite decluttered as you hoped. There are probably lots of items you don’t use regularly but are not ready to get rid of just yet. Putting them into self-storage might be the best idea for these items. Unlike putting them in the loft [even if you have one] you can access them easily and they will be kept in a clean, dry environment. You will free up space in the house, leaving it decluttered and ready for that spring clean.

5.    Make a commitment

Getting into a cycle of buying things you don’t need only to get rid of the twelve months later makes no sense financially or environmentally. After the declutter, think through your real needs and perhaps real reasons for buying more and more. Spending less on things you don’t need will allow you to buy the things you really want, add to your savings or help reduce debt. It’s a good example for your children, family and friends to follow as reducing overproduction will help lower our carbon footprint and protect precious resources. Time, effort, planning and a little self-storage can go a long way to making your home seem like new with a thorough declutter.