Urban Road

Five mantras to get you in the mood to declutter

If you’re anything like us, you may be feeling like you’re fighting a losing battle with clutter.

It doesn’t take long for our homes to sag under the weight of gradually accumulated paperwork, toys and who knows what else!

If you’re getting ready to tackle your own clutter, we’ve asked the experts to share their personal decluttering mantras.

Related article: My secrets to keep your home organised and tidy
Related article: 7 steps to a Pinterest worthy pantry

Have what you love, and use what you have

Kylie Browne from Get Organized Gal says this mindset can help you decide what doesn’t earn a place in your life. If you don’t love it, and you’re not using it, you need to evaluate whether you really need to hold onto it.

She also suggests making changes to turn your bedroom into a sanctuary — rather than a dumping ground.

“By removing stressors such as computers, paperwork or excess clothes, and adding relaxers such as soft lighting, comfy pillows and scented candles, you can create a retreat that it truly blissful to be in.”

You can find more tips to create your own bedroom sanctuary here.

Bedside table styling
Image by Get Organized Gal

One in, one out

Repeat after us — for every item that comes into your space, one item must leave.

Decluttering expert Heather Clark says decluttering is an activity you can even get the kids involved in.

“Occasions such as Christmas or birthdays mean you know there are more gifts on the way. Before they arrive, clear away items and toys you no longer use.

“Then you’ll be ready to receive new items without the overwhelm.”

Kid's play area Declutter
Image via Project Nursery

Have a one-touch policy

Communal areas like the kitchen can be very prone to clutter. Interior Designer Adam Watson suggests a no-nonsense approach.

“Whatever the item is, either find it a permanent home, or dispose of it.

“For example, the best way of handling mail is to open it and deal with it. Either pay the bill straightaway, or take a photo of it and save it and then put it in the recycle bin with all the other junk mail.

“Save important dates for events on your phone or on a calendar. The only paperwork you need to save are tickets for events.”

If you saw it in the shop, would you buy it again?

One of the hardest parts of decluttering is letting go of items that still hold value. Whether that’s monetary or sentimental.

Founder of Style Curator and Interior Designer Gina Ciancio says one simple question that shifted her mindset is ‘If you saw it in the shop, would you buy it again?’. It helps to bring your thinking into the here and now.

Find more helpful questions to ask yourself when decluttering, and tips to create a more mindful home, in this article.

KAS bookshelf
Gina’s bookshelf displays treasured memories and pieces… using a less is more approach!

Pull everything out and start fresh

Most homes would be guilty of having ‘that’ drawer — you know the one we mean. It’s full of paper, cosmetics, stationery and loyalty cards you don’t really need, and barely use.

The best method to declutter in this scenario isn’t for the fainthearted. You need to remove every single item and sort it into four piles — keep, relocate, donate or bin.

Sure, you might make a bit of a mess, but the end result will be a functional, clutter-free space.

Vi Trang from Dan Kitchens suggests taking advantage of some simple storage tools when you’re putting everything away.

“A simple DIY insert for a kitchen drawer can go a long way in storing your herbs & spices in an organized fashion and thus, freeing up your bench.”

This approach also works well in your wardrobes, and you’ll be amazed at how much space you can create!

declutter Spice rack
Image by Dan Kitchens

Tackle it one zone at a time

Sometimes, the sheer thought of facing those overflowing shelves can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s a great idea to write down the individual problem areas and tackle them one at a time. You could aim to do one a week, or a month.

Eva Bowker from the Fantastic Handyman uses the example of your dishes, plates and bowls which can quickly accumulate.

“Yes they’re really pretty, but what’s the point of taking up space with them? Give them to someone who will appreciate and use them.”

Floating kitchen shelf declutter
Image via Bunnings

Do you have any other fab tips to declutter? We’d love to see them in the comments below!

More organising articles

This article was first published in January 2018 and has been updated with new information and images

Gina Beschorner Style Curator

Welcome to Style Curator, your destination for daily interiors inspiration, styling tips, reno advice, home tours and DIY projects!

We're on a mission to help you create a home you love. And with plenty of tips and tricks, tutorials and other home inspo, we give you all the tools to achieve it!

I’m Gina, Founder and Interior Designer, and you can read more about Style Curator here.


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    1. I agree, people shouldn’t get too attached to items, this is how hoarders are being born. At home we have a decluttering session each spring, all clothes are being reviewed, the ones we don’t wear get donated, and space for new things is being made. I love that time of the year, because my house looks so clean and organised for a while.

    2. Focusing on one room at a time is definitely key to success here. And where I tend to fail hahaha! I love the idea of adding one thing but removing another. This is something I am sure to adopt this year now.



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