New year, new space

New year, new space

Then it’s time to start the declutter; 
but you stop.

Looking at the clutter, it seems like there is a mountain you must climb to get through it, and look someone has tweeted something funny on Twitter which you have to read. Now there is a new show to watch on Netflix. Oh, wait you still must read that book on decluttering you got for Christmas!

The excuses continue, and you get nowhere with tackling the clutter.

This year forget the self-help books and follow these tips to slowly, but easily start the decluttering process in your home:

1. Start easy - Declutter in an area that is easy to tackle, such as the kitchen. There are always out of date food items to throw away or items you don’t want to eat which you can donate to the Food Bank. Ditch the broken plates and mugs, and donate the sports bottles you received from networking events to your security guards. Just by decluttering these few items, you will find you suddenly have lots of space in your cupboards and counter tops. Once decluttered, you can then organise each area easily. 

2. Start small - declutter a small area first, such as one drawer. Empty that drawer, sort the items into donate, trash or keep. Then organise what is being kept back into the drawer. Move onto the next drawer, and then the next, etc., until you have done one room. Do not take everything out of all the drawers and cupboards otherwise you will have a mountain of stuff (and a major panic attack).

3. 1 in, 2 out - If you have bought two pieces of clothes while venturing to the malls, get rid of items from your wardrobe to make space for these additional items. My mantra is: put 1 item in, declutter 2 items out. The items out don’t have to be the same as the item’s going in (but it would help to ensure there is space for the additional item).

4. Keep a clutter bag - Nearly every time I open my wardrobe, I will find an item of clothing that I do not like, doesn’t fit or is just plain horrible; that item of clothing is thrown into my “clutter bag”, which is a large recyclable bag. Once it is full, I take the bag to one of the charities and donate the items. The bag is then returned to its hiding place in my wardrobe to be filled up again. I also add any other items I find in the house, which I wish to declutter. You can keep your clutter bag in the storage room, in a cupboard in the kitchen or in your wardrobe like me. Also, if you keep filling up the clutter bag, you fulfil the 1 in 2 out rule!

5. Make smart purchases - Decluttering is a waste of time, if you keep replacing your old stuff with new things. This year, ignore the sales and buy less (ok… only the essentials). Instead of buying stuff, why not buy experiences instead, such as zip lining in Dubai or going to a spa. 6. Get non-boxed gifts - Instead of buying friends and family a physical item for their birthday, Eid or Christmas, why not book them an alternative gift such as an experience or adventure. No one needs another bottle of perfume for Eid. Examples I have seen of great alternative gifts currently are a cookery class at one of the 5-star restaurants and a drive on the Formula 1 track in Abu Dhabi.

7. Don’t keep guilt items- You should only have items in your home that you love to look at or use. Declutter those items that you do not like which were bought for you as presents. If you do not want to offend the gift bearer, give them an excuse such as “the maid burnt the Christmas jumper” or “the dog broke the smelly candle”.

8. Use a shopping list - Almost all of us have the bad habit of coming home with more things than intended after a shopping trip. To avoid this, make a shopping list and most importantly, stick to it! This will reduce unnecessary clutter and save you money in the long run.

With thanks to Shelina Jokhiya who is the founder of DeCluttr Me. She set up the home and office organising company in response to a need for a professional service in the region and has grown the business to become the UAE’s only licenced, professional organising service.

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