Interiors My Home Simple Living

My Decluttering Tips

26th September 2014

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2014 is the year I gave over half of my possessions to charity, stopped buying unnecessary stuff and simplified my life. Such a drastic lifestyle change created a lot of discussion with my family and friends. Some asked for decluttering tips while others wondered if I’d simply lost the plot!

Although Candy Pop is not usually a place for lifestyle advice, I thought it would be fun to share my decluttering tips should anyone need a little help or motivation. After all, I was once a collector and a hoarder, so if I can do it anyone can! And before I start I just want to say this is by no means the best way to live, some of my favourite people are hoarders, and very happy – hello mum!

1. Getting started

Starting any task is tough especially when there are so many fun ways to procrastinate, so I decided to set myself small goals like addressing a cupboard or drawer. Once I started to see the immediate results and feel the benefits I was motivated to continue.

It’s good to start on the quick win areas rather than the dreaded loft or shed, after all jumping straight into spider territory is no fun at all!

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2. What to remove

The toughest part was knowing quite what to part with and so I created a little rule which I now live by:

Do I use it?
Do I love it?

With these two questions in mind, the decision making was simple and it enabled me to let go of things I was keeping ‘just in case.’

3. Duplicate items

I was guilty as charged when it came to duplicates: 2 tin openers, 3 bottle openers, hundreds of mugs, more cute plastic boxes than there were days in the month, numerous towels and bedding sets, it just went on and on. Once I’d scaled down, everything became organised and easy to find without the need for tidying. I was amazed by the volume of things I didn’t use and probably never would, yet I was having to wade through them on a daily basis to locate what I needed.

4. Out-of-date items

Out-of-date food and toiletries I bid you farewell.

5. Unsure items

There were a few things I was unsure about parting with and so I simply boxed them up with a view to addressing in 6 months time. I decided if I didn’t miss them they could go. This is a good technique as long as it doesn’t involve boxing everything!

6 months on and my unsure items have been taken to charity, as suspected I didn’t need them or miss them.

6. Sentimental items

To me sentimental items are a non-negotiable and so I dedicated 1 box to all my keepsakes.

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7. Time

I’ve been hoarding and collecting for most of my life and so the process took time. I started to scale down my belongings when I moved from a 3 bedroom house into a 2 bedroom apartment 3 years ago, and it was the feelings of freedom which motivated me to take the final steps towards a simpler life.

I found it quite an emotional task, there was a lot of guilt wrapped up in some of the things I’d spent money on and never used. It also took a lot of time to physically sort and give away. I began to understand the quote ‘don’t let your belongings own you’ because at times I felt completely overwhelmed by all my things. The process has certainly made me think twice before I buy anything!

8. What to do with it all

I sold a few of my collectable items on eBay and Gumtree and took the remainder to local charity shops. I wanted the clutter out of my life and off my mind, and I didn’t want to spend the next few months listing things on eBay, not to mention queuing at the Post Office.

I’m convinced my neighbours thought we were moving out when they saw car-loads of stuff being taken to local charity shops. We took the majority of my hoard (!) to Cancer Research and the rest to Sue Ryder and Helen & Douglas House. Everything was gift aided and so it was wonderful to receive letters detailing how much money the charities had made.

Other useful places are Freecycle and a good old fashioned car boot sale, although I would recommend keeping your prices low or you will end up bringing it all home with you. Or worse still having a look around and going home with more than you arrived with!

9. Have fun

Decluttering shouldn’t be a bore because the results are so positive. To make the task more enjoyable, I cranked up my music and took plenty of tea breaks. I also pulled out drawers and sorted through them while watching old films.

You can ask family and friends to help. My sister was so motivated by my declutter she asked me to help her tackle her overflowing wardrobe. We had a fun afternoon, and after taking 4 large bags to a local charity she was thrilled with her new capsule style wardrobe.

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10. The onward journey

What I use and love now probably won’t be the same in 6 months time and so I’m always evaluating what I have. Getting into the habit of purging my belongings keeps the on-going process simple. I probably take a few items to charity every month and it’s easy to keep on top of things because there is so little to manage.

So if you’re feeling like having a little autumn declutter I wish you the very best of luck. I hope to post about the benefits of clutter-free living very soon, after all there are many and I seem to discover a new one every week.

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23 Comments

  • Reply Ingrid Orens 26th September 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Respect….
    I cannot persuade myself to declutter…
    My house is nice & tidy, but unfortunately it is quite big (well, more like huge), so I have a lot of space to store stuff. And oh yes, storing I did ;-)))
    I just seem to attach a sentimental value to everything, and I cannot get rid of things with a sentimental background…
    Sigh…

  • Reply Heather @ my little red suitcase 26th September 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Making space for all those new experiences! great post, always trying to do this! Loved reading about your American adventure and Kate. Good times. X

  • Reply Katie Bedlow 26th September 2014 at 2:18 pm

    This is my task over the winter months this year, I am guilty of hiding everything away in cupboards in piles of clutter rather than letting it show, whoops! I know I can get rid of over 50% of my clothes without really noticing, I'll only use ebay for the obviously popular bits and donate the rest to my local hospice charity – it's all for the best! πŸ™‚ x

    • Reply Candy Pop 27th September 2014 at 8:12 am

      Good luck with your declutter!

  • Reply ZoΓ« Power 26th September 2014 at 3:17 pm

    We've been in decluttering mode for a while now, in preparation for the move – and it feels so good! Lots more to go too. Great tips, and a beautifully laid out post – love all the space πŸ™‚ I hope all is well with you guys x

    • Reply Candy Pop 27th September 2014 at 8:15 am

      Thank you! We're good thanks, I hope you are too.

  • Reply Jo 26th September 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Really interesting post. I'm very impressed by how much you've decluttered this year! I try to keep my hoarding in check by having mini culls two or three times a year and a big cull every couple of years. I like owning pretty things but don't want to feel overwhelmed by "stuff". Only problem is that quite a few of my things are in storage at the moment (moved home after uni and still here) until I can afford a place of my own so I actually own more than I think. I can barely remember what's in the attic, other than all my art portfolios and a massive bag full of mugs! It'll be exciting and terrifying when I eventually unpack it all.

  • Reply bubblesarah 26th September 2014 at 6:20 pm

    I have been doing the same! it is so much fun clearing stuff out and revamping and finding new ways to work what you have left over!

  • Reply CraveCute 26th September 2014 at 8:26 pm

    I declutter constantly but my hubby keeps buying stuff! Great tips!

  • Reply Patchwork Harmony 27th September 2014 at 5:45 am

    So inspiring Natasha! I've been trying to do the same lately. The thing I feel most guilty about is unwanted gifts from people, seems so mean getting rid of them!

    • Reply Candy Pop 27th September 2014 at 8:19 am

      Thank you Caroline! I've always given my unwanted gifts to Cancer Research because I don't think anyone would mind, I certainly wouldn't!

  • Reply found and sewn 27th September 2014 at 10:04 am

    I'm really inspired by this post! Thanks for all the great tips…I've already started on my living room, next the kitchen xx

    • Reply Candy Pop 27th September 2014 at 3:46 pm

      Thank you and good luck!

  • Reply KatGotTheCream 27th September 2014 at 3:27 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this post and can identify a few areas of our home that need similar attention – hello toiletries cabinet!

  • Reply Katie 28th September 2014 at 8:38 am

    My friend's home is meticulously tidy and clutter free. I joked that we should do our own version of "Hoarders" and she could come and help sort me and creative clutter out. She took me up on it and I had a big panic to have a sort out before she came. She was still shocked when she saw the state of my mess, but really helped me to get rid of things. I think it was the shame of justifying my junk to her that really spurred me on to get rid of things. Now I just wish she would come and help with the rest of the house! I totally agree that Less Stuff=more freedom!

  • Reply http://evaetsandra.com/ 28th September 2014 at 8:55 am

    "Less stuff more freedom" totally agree with this! After holidays I started looking around me in my home! So many stuff! I started with my dressed closet and I couldn't stop it! I give it to an association. Once I made a "vide grenier" (a market) with a friend, we sold a lot of things and we had so much fun! Have a nice sunday πŸ˜‰
    I enjoyed reading your post, very interesting!

  • Reply tinajo 28th September 2014 at 9:56 am

    I try to do this now and then, itΒ΄s always a relief afterwards. πŸ™‚

    https://twitter.com/tinajoathome

  • Reply Victoria Eales 29th September 2014 at 10:21 am

    Whilst I still like my 'knick knacks' I am finding the older I get the less I want 'stuff' around me and I'm constantly having decluttering sessions and am always amazed by how much I get rid of.

    Victoria
    FlorenceandMary.com

  • Reply Olivia W 18th January 2015 at 6:17 pm

    This is so inspiring. Although I can't do this on a large scale I can definitely do this to my room. There is so much in there that I just don't need!

    http://thelittlebluesailboat.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Reply Josh 22nd September 2015 at 11:51 am

    Great post Natasha! I’m a notorious clutter fiend and always overdue a clear out.
    We loved this post so we included it in our recent blog about tips to help you enjoy your home.

    Good stuff! πŸ™‚

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 24th September 2015 at 8:32 pm

      Thank you Josh!

  • Reply Yukova 20th October 2015 at 10:15 am

    Very useful tips, love it. Here is my article on a same topic. Feel free to visit for more wardrobe detox tips
    http://www.yukovablog.co.uk/de-clutter-101-how-to-bring-order-to-your-wardrobe/
    Yukova x

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