Home & Garden

Clutter/Decluttering - where do you start?

Home & Garden

Posted by: LokiAura

7th Feb 2023 10:05am

I've been in my 2-bedroom flat for almost 20 years. I always swore that my 'spare' room was exactly that but over the years I got used to putting stuff that didn't fit anywhere else or I couldn't be bothered putting away tidily/properly in that room. The end result is the room is badly cluttered and untidy. I know I need to start somewhere but am so overwhelmed I'm stuck. When I think about it, I really need to sort everything in my home and put it where it belongs and in a tidy/neat manner. I also have an issue with getting rid of boxes that I've received orders in because I figure by reusing them, I won't have to buy any when it comes time to send birthday/Christmas gifts to family so in my head I'm saving money. I have a feeling I'm about due for an inspection in the next month or 2 so would like to get a head start on sorting this out before I'm left with limited time frame.

Any ideas/suggestions are very welcome :)

Comments 10

  • 12th Mar 2024 01:13pm

I understand this and imagine you open the door look in and shut the door again because it's too overwhelming. It is too hard to go in there to sort it out as being surrounded by it is just too much so I would suggest getting a small box or small tub and grab a few items, any items and put them in the box and take it out of that room and sort through one box at a time. Decide on what to keep, what to sell and what to donate. If you decide to keep something, find a place in the rest of your flat for it to live and put it there straight away. If you don't have a place for it perhaps you need to decide to let it go. If you are donating it, put it in a bag, place it next to your door and take it out the door next time you leave and if it is to sell, list it on facebook marketplace immediately. The trick is to handle every item only once and deal with it in that moment. Good luck it is not easy so start very small

  • 11th Mar 2024 03:13pm

I read a good post the other day and its got me decluttering.
If you haven't used something in a box for 2 years, you're not going to use it in the box for the next 2 years. Either use it or donate/chuck it out!

  • 8th Jan 2024 12:56pm

I have read all the comments and they are all wonderful and very true. For myself I moved from a large home to a retirement village and had the difficult job of minimizing everything. I thought I had done a reasonable job but when i arrived at my new "smaller" home I quickly realized I had to do a LOT more culling. This time I was very very ruthless. I took car loads of things to the charity shop and that in itself felt good. I realized that just because I got rid of "stuff" the memory was still with me. So my advise is don't give yourself grief trying to sort too much....be RUTHLESS.... the job will be quicker and you will happy that you've achieved your decluttering.

  • 23rd Nov 2023 12:22am

Breaking down the task into smaller, manageable steps can make decluttering less overwhelming. Start with one room or even a specific area within a room. Set a timer for a short period, like 15-30 minutes, and focus on sorting and organizing during that time.

For the spare room, begin by categorizing items: keep, donate, and discard. Consider the utility and sentimental value of each item. As for the boxes, keeping a few for future use is practical, but try to limit the number to a reasonable amount.

To deal with the feeling of overwhelm, enlist help from a friend or family member, if possible. Having someone to assist and provide perspective can make the process more enjoyable.

Remember, it’s okay to take breaks, and progress may be gradual. Celebrate small achievements along the way, and gradually extend the decluttering to other areas of your home.

  • 16th Nov 2023 03:36pm

Get rid of “miscellaneous” labelling. Such items end up in a spare room, cupboard or drawer, never to be seen again! Everything you want should be accessible.
Having said that, my miscellaneous pile of items is a huge work in progress…

  • 23rd Oct 2023 01:06pm

Utilise your boxes and put everything that fits into them.
Don't worry about sorting yet, just move the clutter.
Once the room is as free of clutter as possible arrange any furniture you have and need to keep so as to maximise space.
Stack boxes in one corner.
Every day go through 1 box and sort into keep, donate, sell and throw away.
Use other boxes or garbage bags for now.
Once finished go back through the keep box.
Try and discard at least 1 more item.
Then start the next box.
Throw out, donate and advertise items straight away.
Once you have a smaller collection of keep go back through it several times and try and get rid of more stuff and sort your items.
Get plastic boxes or draws and label what your keeping and put in the designated spot.
Then look back through the box and see if you can get rid of anything else.
It's often surprising just how many of 1 item we collect.
As for your 'just in case items, get rid of them.
You won't use them.
They're are always exceptions but usually it just makes more mess.
Good luck

  • 1st May 2023 10:53am

Hi. I think so many of us are dealing with too much clutter. I can really relate to your situation. Last year I decided I had to do something about my increasing clutter. I realise it was becoming a big problem with more things coming in than going out. So slowly, I started the process. At first I asked myself if I should have a garage sale, but realised that I really didn't want that hassle and that it was easier to take things to a favourite opshop. They now look forward to me arriving with a new bag or bags of things. I started with one room at a time. I opted for the easiest room first, though no room is really easy. With my clothes I had 3 choices - yes, not or maybe!! I realised some things I liked but no longer fit, but if only a little tight I put them in the maybe pile. I decided if they don't fit in 12 months they can go. Doing it slowly was really helpful as it got me into the groove, and made hard decisions easier the more I progressed. Now I mostly finished, except for my study, which is the hardest room for me as it contains all my books (which I love) and all my paperwork. I have left this room till last because I know it is the hardest for me, and it will take me some time as I need to go through all the paperwork. A few years back I set up systems on my computer, so I could take details I thought worth keeping from my bills and then after 12 months I can throw them out, as I have the main details if ever I want to look back at them (which I rarely do, only maybe to compare how much more I am paying or using than before). I neglected that system for a year or two, but part of my decluttering involves updating that and then getting rid of the old bills. I understand about the boxes, I keep a few but only allow myself so much space to keep things like that that I could reuse. The benefits of not having too much stuff around is definitely worth the cost of throwing away something you may later need. So I would encourage you to get right into it, as not only will your flat look better but you will feel so much lighter and freer!! It is such a wonderful experience, and I also feel that I am helping others by taking older unused stuff to the opshop. Good luck!

  • 15th Apr 2023 02:10am

Short answer, watch an episode of Space Invaders and do what they do. :)
Long answer - Empty and clean the room. Replace the furniture. Place everything else in piles of like items ie clothes, shoes, accessories, homeware, photos/albums. Then go through each pile and BE RUTHLESS. Clothes you haven't worn in the last two years - go into the local charity bin. Homeware that doesn't suit your current decor - check with friends who might want it, if not, bin it. Photos/albums - digitize them and get rid of the albums.
Gift bags and boxes - if you really must keep them, keep the ones that will fit into eachother (like a Russian doll). At least they'll have a smaller footprint and throw the rest out. The key words are BE RUTHLESS.
If you can get a friend or relative to help you...they will be the voice of reason and challenge you on why you want to keep whatever it is. Good luck and have fun. :)

  • 7th Mar 2023 10:26pm

Do one room at a time. Take everything out of the room, clean the entire room and then put things back in their place. Close the door to that room and move onto the next. Aim to do one room a day, but if it gets too much do one every 2 days. Only keep a few boxes for gifts and throw the rest out as you don't have space for them. Another good rule is if you haven't used the item for the last 5 years then throw it out.

  • 28th Feb 2023 05:02pm

Maybe start in one place in the spare room and set a goal of one day a week in the spare room. And also clean and vacuum as you go.
You can also put things you want to keep into the spare boxes so you end up keeping the box for the future.

Help Caféstudy members by responding to their questions, or ask your own in Café Chat, and you will get the chance of earning extra rewards. Caféstudy will match these and donate equally to our two chosen Australian charities.

Australian Marine Conservation Society are an independent charity, staffed by a committed group of scientists, educators and passionate advocates who have defended Australia’s oceans for over 50 years.
Reach Out
ReachOut is the most accessed online mental health service for young people and their parents in Australia. Their trusted self-help information, peer-support program and referral tools save lives by helping young people be well and stay well. The information they offer parents makes it easier for them to help their teenagers, too.
Challenge Challenge is a not-for-profit organisation that supports children and families living with cancer, 365 days a year.

Our support is free and immediate, helping to lighten the cancer journey by addressing the practical, social, and emotional needs of all our members.