Preparing to declutter

Prepare for action
Refer to your SMART goals and decide which room, area or items you’re going to tackle first. Don’t try and do your whole house or room at once. To begin with, I recommend you choose specific sets of items or particular areas and start with them only: for example, your books, bathroom cabinet, shoes, bags or simply clearing your desk or table will be a good start. Don’t try to do everything at once, however much you’re in a muddle.

Always keep your paperwork until last, unless you are doing a paper declutter only. Allocate a specific day and time

For a deep purge I recommend you try to set aside a block of 3 hours minimum, 5–6 hours max. I might sound like a tough taskmaster, but here‘s the thing: decluttering is a messy business and once you start, you need to finish! You may find it a challenge to cope with
the chaos you’ll create at the start, but don’t panic, I’ve built in time for clearing up.

Here’s a suggested schedule to use if you think a structured approach will help:

  •   9 – 11.30am – start weeding
  •   15-minute break
  •   11.45 – 1.15pm – continue weeding (start clear up at 12.45pm for a half-day declutter)
  •   45-minute lunch break
  •   2 – 3.30pm – more weeding
  •   15-minute break
  •   3.45 – 4.15pm – more weeding or start to categorise, if the weeding’s finished.
  •   4.15pm – start clearing up and putting away
  •   5.15 – stop!

Timing is important  Jot down the times when you plan to work and use a timer to keep you on track. Trust me – the time will fly by! The only way it won’t is if you start to agonise about decisions. Stick to your schedule, as your partner or flatmate might not be too happy if they get home and can’t find the TV remote under all the piles!