We don’t know about you, but 2020 had us feeling like we needed to shed some baggage. Suddenly, all that ‘stuff’, bought with the intention of making life easier but destined for the back of a cupboard, feels a little redundant. Note that we said ‘feels’ not ‘felt’, as the stuff is still here, tripping us up and preventing our graceful sashaying about the place.

If, like us, you find yourself in a perpetual process of decluttering, streamlining and longing for ‘space’, both physically and mentally, then it might be time to aspire to something greater. 

Nope, we don’t mean upping sticks, upsizing or taking out several square metres of storage space, but instead, simply adopting a different approach to your accumulated possessions. If you’re aspiring for a minimalist 2021, then here are 6 of the ultimate domestic decluttering tips for the year ahead.

START WITH A SMALL AREA

The first thing that you need to do is hone in on areas which have typically accumulated the most clutter. We all have them; that chest of drawers next to the bed which is brimming with year old shopping lists, or that kitchen cupboard full of fifty types of flour…those are the places which focus should first fall on. 

Giving most attention to those small areas which have fallen into disarray will give you a structure and ultimately, a sense of satisfaction in the process. Starting small, building momentum and getting a taste for decluttering and organising your belongings is a good way to start your decluttering journey. 

BE RUTHLESS

Tidy home, tidy mind, as the old saying goes, and there’s certainly a modicum of truth to be found there. ”Tidy home, tidy new year’’ sounds even more agreeable, don’t you think?

But it’s impossible to be efficient in your clearout when sentimentality takes over. Go into the decluttering process with a mentality of ruthlessness; anything which doesn’t immediately have a place or purpose should be consigned to the scrapheap (or the charity shop, or eBay). As a guide, if you haven’t used the item in over a year, then it’s time to part with it.  

Take a note out of Marie Kondo’s book – if it doesn’t spark joy, it’s time to say goodbye. You’d be amazed at how much stuff you uncover which hasn’t been used for years and therefore, has brought no value to your life for some time but which could bring value to others. 

OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND, OUT OF NEED

Should you find it hard to be ruthless, put the things that you are umming and ahhing about in a box, out of sight. If after a month or so you’ve forgotten about everything in said box, then it’s time to chuck it away and rub your hands clean of all the belongings within it.

Setting things aside to get rid of at a later date may also help you resolve any feelings of cognitive dissonance many of us experience when decluttering. We’ve all had that gut reaction of regret when we hastily chuck something out. A two step process of removing before giving away will help you come to terms with things and find contentment with your decluttering decision.

KEEP EVERYTHING SUSTAINABLE

Sustainability and a deep regard for our environmental impact has never been more vital. Simply commiting items to landfill in the name of a clearout, in the current climate, can feel pretty callous and irresponsible. 

Instead, embrace what some have coined a ‘circular’ attitude to goods, and donate anything and everything you can to a charity shop or sell it on at a carboot sale. In doing so, you’ll reduce the demand for new stuff. We know it’s only a small gesture, but every little helps, right? If you’re donating or selling your items, then look into shipping costs in advance so you can save money when sending them out.

SET A TIMER

Let’s face it, decluttering isn’t exactly a fun job. To make the process less of a chore, many expert declutterers swear by a methodical, time-constrained approach. As such, it might be wise to set a timer for a set period; for instance, 30 minutes. 

Knowing that you have a time limit for each task or room in the house means you work practically and proficiently, moreover, you don’t dwell on disparate elements and instead enact that steely focus we keep encouraging. When the timer goes off, finish up and move on. Items that remained might be items worth keeping.

EVERYTHING IN ITS RIGHT PLACE

The aforementioned Queen of decluttering, Marie Kondo, emphasises the importance of giving all belongings a proper home. Doing so makes tidying up a doddle; muscle memory kicks in and you can tidy and sort on autopilot. Of course, this means that you’ll need to take a savvy approach to shelves and boxes; check out these 5 IDEAL storage solutions for more.