Ten New Year's Tips to Declutter Your Home

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Do you need to reclaim your home after Christmas? Follow our great tips to declutter for the year ahead.

Be ruthless about things you no longer use or need

Clothes you've grown out of, kitchen equipment gathering dust in the cupboard, even unwanted Christmas presents… It all has to go!

Categorise into different piles

Sort according to things that can be given away to friends or a charity shop; anything to be sold at a car boot sale or online; items to keep but that need to be properly stored; anything that can be recycled or Freecycled (this includes electrical goods that can't be mended); and finally stuff that has to be thrown away because it is no good to anyone.

Hold a toys/clothes/household goods swap party

Why not organise a swap party? Everyone brings their unwanted stuff and swaps it for things they do want. To ensure a clothes party goes with a swing, stipulate that items must be clean and in good condition (no broken zippers!). Anything left over can be donated to a charity shop.

Clear horizontal surfaces

Start by clearing a surface, say the kitchen counter or one shelf. Getting rid of visual clutter makes an instant difference to how things look, and it's amazing how an empty surface will boost morale and inspire you to do more.

Take it slowly

Start off small, by cleaning out a drawer or two. Allow yourself the satisfaction of a job well done and plan to do the next task another day. Spend 2-3 hours on one project, perhaps sorting out your wardrobe. That way you'll feel motivated to carry on another day rather than burned out by the effort of it!

Hold off before buying new boxes

Don't rush out and buy new storage boxes or shelves until after your decluttering. Those shiny new bins and baskets are very tempting, but first you need to assess what you really need.

Get the family involved

Everyone can help with decluttering, whether it's going through toys and identifying the ones that are broken or no longer played with, or clearing out cupboards in the kitchen.

Get stuff out of the house

Once you've sorted into piles or bags of 'donate, sell, recycle, trash', get it out of your home! Finish the process.

Make a memory box

If you are the sentimental type who can't throw anything away, then you may have acquired a lot of clutter over the years. The key is to streamline your memories. Find a box that you like, and fill it up with your precious mementoes. But don't keep things just for the sake of it.

Increase storage spaces

There may be unused spaces in your home where you can create extra storage, to keep books, toys, clothes etc, for example under the stairs, or behind doors. But it's important to create proper storage, like shelves or drawers, rather than piling stuff up.

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