As we’re all spending a lot more time in our homes of late, we thought it’d be a good idea to compile some top tips for making our living spaces tidier and more straightforward to clean. The importance of an effective domestic cleaning routine has become more prevalent in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, so making your life easier by decluttering makes a lot of sense.
Clearing your living space can help your headspace
Naturally, all this social distancing and self-isolation goes against our basic human need for contact with others, and our mental health can suffer as a result. Therefore, rule number one here must be to look after your emotional well-being first.
While prioritising headspace over living space may seem like the right thing to do, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that decluttering can have a positive impact on how we feel. Being organised gives one a sense of control which, in turn, can help manage stress levels and even lower the amount of cortisol found in the body.
So, clearing out clutter can help clear your mind as well.
Find your safe place
With the vast majority of us confined to barracks, the usual ports of call for declutterers are temporarily off limits.
Charity shops and recycling centres are closed, so you’ll need to find somewhere to store what you’ll be getting rid of in the meantime. Choose a safe place to put things and ensure they won’t be in the way wherever possible. Gardens can be a godsend for this (providing you can keep the stuff dry).
If you don’t have an outdoor space, find a low-traffic area in your home to store the clutter until things revert back to normal...and promise yourself to get rid of it all as soon as possible!
Step back, breathe, and take stock
Now we have a solid reason why and have found where to put stuff for now, it’s time to move onto the how. The first thing you need to do is take stock of the situation.
Ask yourself if there’s a part of your property that is in particular need of attention...or is it a house-wide affair? Knowing exactly what needs doing before you begin will help you prioritise and plan your attack.
Concentrate on one thing at a time
With the overall picture firmly in your mind, it’s time to actually start breaking down the problem into manageable chunks. The best way to do this is to focus on one thing at a time.
Notice I said ‘thing’ and not ‘room’. While it may be tempting to tackle the bedroom in one hit (and it’s certainly an achievable goal if done correctly), narrowing things down further still will make the process a whole lot easier.
Sticking with the bedroom, you could decide to clear out your clothes first before moving onto other aspects of the room. Making sure you complete each task before being distracted by something else brings a systematic approach to decluttering and it will help get things done faster and more efficiently.
Combine and consolidate
As you go through each part of your property, keep an inventory of what you have and where it’s kept. This doesn’t have to be a written record, just a mental note will do.
Having this mindseye overview will allow you to bring things together as you declutter, and many are often amazed at just how haphazard their storage is - even those who swear they have a place for everything and everything in its place!
Storing like with like has a dual purpose, too. Not only will it regain a lot of unnecessarily wasted space, it’ll also help stop you purchasing stuff you already have in future. If you know that all of one thing is in a certain spot, you’ll be able to quickly check before buying more.
Banish the broken
We may not like to admit it, but we all do it. Putting stuff away that’s either broken or past its best is a weird trait when you think about it analytically, yet it doesn’t stop us hoarding items that should be discarded straight away.
So, if you come across items that can’t be repaired or restored to their former glory, now is the time to say goodbye. Even if they can be made good, you need to ask yourself whether or not you’ll actually get round to mending it...and be brutally honest!
If it’s not going to happen, it has to go on the ‘gone’ pile.
Chuck the ‘one day’ stuff, too
Same rules apply to the ‘that-might-come-in-handy-one-day’ items that we all seem to love storing. The chances are good that a controller from an early 90s Super NES isn’t going to be useful to most of us anymore!
Keep your CDs and DVDs...differently
Decluttering isn’t all about throwing away and donating, it’s also about rethinking how we store what we still want to keep. Two common items most households have, to a greater or lesser degree, that take up a lot of space and are often the target of decluttering experts are DVDs and CDs.
In a world where we can stream pretty much all media directly to a device that fits in our pockets, keeping these items is nonsensical, yet many of us find them difficult to give up. The good news is, you don’t have to.
You can keep them and free up space by simply ditching the overly bulky packaging and opting for a CD / DVD binder instead. These can hold an astonishing amount of discs in a very small space (think 400 in a case that measures just 31 x 29.7 x 16.8 cm) and they can be picked up cheaply online.
Same goes for keepsakes and memorabilia
Professional organisers who demand we throw everything away and live a minimalist lifestyle may be able to persuade some, but most of us like a lot of what we have and simply don’t want to part with it.
The key thing here is being honest about two things: does the item have utility or sentimental value? If it has neither, it’s got to go. If you can argue the case for it staying put in your home because it falls into one or other category (or both), it can stay.
However, as with the media mentioned above, you will need to rethink how you store these items if you want to do away with clutter once and for all and make your cleaning regime as simple as possible. Thankfully, there are now dozens of different storage ideas available...and some of them are even really attractive options.
Just be sure not to start hoarding storage boxes next!
Decluttering during lockdown: Final thoughts
All of the above can be put to good use while the world battles the coronavirus that has changed the way we live our lives for the foreseeable future. Once this moment in history has passed, though, the benefits of decluttering will continue.
Having a huge clearout and reorganising your home to keep things tidy and presentable is probably the most important staging tactic any seller can utilise to their advantage. It’s always high on our list of tips for preparing a home for sale and something we advise all vendors to do before marketing their property.
So, if you’re thinking of moving home in the not too distant future, biting the bullet now and decluttering your home while we’re in lockdown can give you a head start once the restrictions are lifted. Not only that, it’ll make your living space a more comfortable place to be while you wait for that day to come.
If you are thinking of putting your property on the market any time soon, Petty’s are now offering Virtual Valuations. Get in touch with us today to find out more, or request yours immediately by clicking here.