Decluttering and Cleaning for therapy

Decluttering your home is a great way of simplifying and cleansing not only your environment but your emotional self. We accumulate so much junk in our lives that we don’t need. We spend valuable time dusting things that may not be that valuable to us in the first place, and sifting through years of accumulated ‘stuff’ in drawers and linen cupboards to find that peeler or pillow case.

What we need to be doing is simplifying and cleansing our houses of the clutter and dust balls and make better use of what we already have.

Decluttering for me is a cleansing process, almost like therapy. When my house is organised my life feels more organised and I feel less stressed and in control.

Wouldn’t it be a great feeling to know exactly where to find everything in your home?

Take it one room at a time. I like to start from the front door and move to the back of the house, since this is the room that is seen the most by visitors. Do one room per day and by the end of it your house will look and smell fantastic.

If you are going to do this, you need to be thorough. There is no point in only half doing the job. The bigger the impact, the better you will feel.

As you move through each room, dust furniture, remove things from drawers and give them a wipe out. Wipe down skirting boards & light fittings, vacuum and mop the floors. If you have a brush attachment for your vacuum that won’t damage the walls, use it to vacuum cobwebs and across the tops of window and door frames. Wash window dressings and windows.

Make three piles- ‘throw out’ and ‘donate’ and ‘sell on Gumtree/Ebay/garage sale’. Only donate what is in good condition. Don’t donate clothes that have holes or with elastic that has stretched. Consider passing things onto other family and friends. I love getting hand me downs for my kids! Keep these piles in a room where they won’t be in your way until you have decluttered the whole house. It will keep your new de-cluttered rooms tidy and you will only have to make one trip to charity. This is also a good way of detaching yourself from these things. If it takes you a couple of weeks to declutter your home and you haven’t needed to go back to this pile to retrieve anything, it reaffirms that you don’t need it anymore.

Pull the covers off the lounges and cushions and wash them. Vacuum the creases in the lounges and actually move the lounge and vacuum underneath.

Rid yourself of old videos and books. If you don’t plan on re-reading that book or watching that DVD or if you no longer have kids in the house but have a bunch of pre-schooler videos, get rid of them. Don’t hold onto magazines either. If you have a bunch of Better Homes and Gardens or recipe mags and you are reading this, chances are that you have the internet on at home. It is faster to search on google for a particular recipe or Pinterest for DIY ideas than it is to sift through 50 mags.

If you have a large number of kitchen appliances in your home that do the same job or two of the same appliance donate it- you are helping someone out in need. Better yet, pass it onto a friend or family member. At least you know that you can borrow it back.

Linen cupboard – keep two sets of sheets and duvets for each bed (including the ones on the bed) and donate the rest. Organise the items in your linen cupboard into piles – beach towels, bathroom towels, tea towels, face cloths, cleaning cloths. Fold sheets and place them inside the pillow case to keep them all together. Label shelves to identify between single sheets and queen sheets. For each set of towels, I have one handtowel and 2 facecloths. I only have two sets of towels and they get rotated constantly. I keep towels in the bathroom for three days before I wash them. Having matching towels also helps me to work out what to hang and what to wash when I find wet towels on the kids floors. I also know that there should be 4 towels in the bathroom at any time and I have the kids check their bedrooms when I notice one is missing.

Kitchen – throw out any chipped crockery (these things harbour germs). Remove things from each cupboard, wipe the shelves down as you go. Check expiry dates and discard what has expired. Keep packets together in containers in your cupboard. Cull your cutlery drawer and only keep things you actually need. Check that the lids and containers are not missing their other half. I keep my lids in a drawer. If you have multiple appliances that will do the same job you need to cull them. Don’t bother keeping fad appliances like muffin makers etc. when you can cook up a nice batch in the over and share any excess with neighbours or work colleagues (they will love you for it!).

Bathroom- again check the expiry dates of medication and throw out what is out of date or if there is very little chance that it will be used again. Cull the number of brushes, nail polishes and measuring implements that you may have accumulated. If you have numerous makeup products, keep one and discard the rest- makeup expires and you are best to replace it every couple of months anyway. Keep nail poshes together with manicure items in a zipper bag. Keep band aids, antiseptic cream and other first aid items together in a zipper bag also. This will make your cupboards so much tidier. I find zipper bags to be easier to store rather than small boxes because I have limited space. I have put two matching tubs inside my cupboards under my sink that act like drawers. This stops things from falling over and I can fit more in. If you have cupboards you might find containers are easier to store. Cull head bands and hair elastics that just don’t do the job. If you have multiple half empty creams and shampoos etc., combine them into one.

Bedrooms- get rid of those smelly shoes. If there are things in your cupboard and drawers that you have not worn for years, chances are that you won’t be wearing them again any time soon. Especially if they no longer fit! If you have underwear and clothing that you avoid because they don’t sit right either get rid of them or learn ways to re-purpose your clothing. Throw socks that fall into your shoes and underwear that make you constantly retrieve from them your bottom. If you have pants that have a fly which you are constantly re-closing please do everyone a favour and mend them or toss them. If you have a bra which is constantly slipping off your shoulder, the elastic in the strap has probably gone and you need to get rid of it.

Toys- we all know our kids are not going to even try to be tidy so make in easier on everyone and get tubs that they can just pile their toys into. But before you pile them all in, get rid of old toys that are no longer age appropriate or have missing parts. I have ceiling high shelves in my kids’ rooms but I keep a couple of tubs along the bottom shelf to throw toys into. Above the tubs I have their books for easy reaching. If you have a budding artist in the family like I do, keep a couple of great pictures in a folder and throw out the rest. You cannot keep everything.

Don’t forget the laundry- even laundry cupboards accumulate junk. Make a mental list (or an actual list to stick to the door) of the cleaning products that you already have so that you can use these before you buy anymore. Make an effort to stop buying any more products until you have used up what you have.

Ridding yourself of things that you don’t need, making better use of what you have and being aware of what you already own are important elements of being frugal. It will help you to make smarter shopping choices as you stop yourself from buying things that you know you don’t need.

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