a decluttered Spring into Summer
sales are nearly upon us. Before you empty your wallet and clutter your
home up with a load more stuff - stop and think about what's going on.
That set of white towels that are 50% off are only a bargain if you need
them and plan to use them now. Otherwise there's just more bulky stuff
you're going to have to find storage space for. Here's a few tips to make
the sales work for you:
- If your
home is completely overrun with clutter - steer clear of the shops while
the sales are on!
- Make a
list of things you actually need - like a new set of cutlery or a summer
jacket. Then set a budget for it and go out and see if you can net a
- If you
get mesmerised by the shops and always emerge with endless carrier bags
- then leave your credit cards at home and only take cash with you.
Somehow paying with real money makes it easier to say no to some dubious
buy anything in the wrong size or colour even if it is a designer label
with the price is slashed.
- Ask yourself
the storage question before buying - do you have room for it in your
the one-in one out rule - for every new thing you bring in - let one
thing go. If you're really cluttered why not get rid of 2 items for
every thing you bring in!
June mini challenges
My advice to everyone who is struggling with clutter is to start small
and easy. Leave the loft, the boxes full of photos and the garage for
the time being and see this June how many of these mini-challenges you
any out of date holiday brochures or phone directories
- Get rid
of take-away menus or taxi cards you never use
- Give away
speciality items such as avocado dishes, sherry glasses or fish knives
that you never use
- Sort out
your nightwear - if you only wear a T-shirt or boxers or even less -
streamline your pyjamas, dressing gown or slipper collection
any suntan lotion over two years old (it is no longer as effective).
Use a permanent marker to date new bottles.
- Sort out
your shorts and swimwear ready for summer and holidays.
- Ebay computer
or Playstation games you or your kids no longer play
- Fill a
carrier bag for charity with chicklit or detective novels you'll never
a drawer or shelf with your stationery supplies. Then you'll know where
to find a new roll of sellotape or small envelope.
- Look at
your cushions - do you still like them or is it time to buy new covers?
Do you have too many? Do you want to go for a cleaner more minimal look?
- If your
freezer is iced up and full of mystery items - use up what's there in
June and then defrost. Use a permanent marker to date and label in future.
out your jewellery. Tackle watches, bracelets, necklaces, cufflinks,
earrings in turn. Take anything broken or watches that need a new battery
to the jewellers.
- Let go
exercise videos or DVDs that are never used.
- Look at
your craft equipment - charity shops will take excess supplies- such
as wool and tools in good condition.
If you would
like more ideas on how to kick-start and then maintain the decluttering
process plus gain insight into the psychology behind hoarding have a look
at my new book "No more clutter"
June's Clutter Clinic
"Any tips on how to persuade elderly relatives to let me declutter
I often get asked this question. It's always tough to get someone else
motivated - my experience is if you push a hoarder before they are ready
to declutter, they will dig their heels in. I'll give you an example I
was teasing my mother about how many watering cans she owned. She gave
me a lengthy explanation of why she needed them all. Tonight she told
me she is now planning to buy a couple more. So if you challenge someone
it may mean they get worse.
Elderly relatives will have lived through the war, so will often have
a waste not-want not philosophy. If you can persuade them their things
will have a good new home - like donating to a charity they support -
it may help. Taking photos of items before letting them go eases the pain
of letting go. Or raising money for a holiday or cruise may be a good
carrot. Perhaps you could help them with the selling process - like organising
an auctioneer or putting things on eBay.
and I hope that helps. I'd be delighted to hear any successful strategies
that have worked or any other decluttering ideas you have at
Tara asked me if I knew of anyone doing a similar job in Australia who
might give her some tips on starting up. If you can help email Tara directly
she'd really appreciate it.
Sue Kay works with a wide range of clients to organise home offices, small
businesses, declutter before a house move, prepare your spare room for
a new baby and organise your wardrobe ready for the new season. If you're
selling your home, she can help you present it clutter-free for the market
to achieve a quick and profitable sale. For practical sympathetic help
call Sue on 07974 076 675 or 020 8444 5149 or check out the website at