There have been multiple reports in the media over the past few months highlighting the rising demand amongst homeowners who want to move to a bigger property.
This rising demand is hardly surprising. A third UK-wide lockdown has seen millions working from home and having their freedom restricted as the pandemic carries on and for many, ‘stuffocation’ is causing feelings of claustrophobia in their space.
Trapped within our four walls, many of us are feeling swamped with clutter, as our work and home life intermingle. As a result, Brits are looking for ways to dispose of unwanted items taking up space. Data by Google Trends shows a 284% increase for the term ‘declutter’ this January, compared to January 2020.
With 46% of Brits feeling stressed about lockdown, and 42% feeling anxious, decluttering your living environment can keep your mind healthy during these times.
In a year where people have never spent more time at home, it’s crucial to make your home an oasis of calm that starts with a serious decluttering schedule.
While the thought of decluttering your room can be overwhelming, Kate Devine, insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket has provided some top tips in helping declutter your home, room by room, offering advice on how to make each room in your home spotless and stress-free.
1. Living Room
The centre of the home, the living room can often turn into a dumping ground of clutter and mess, especially for larger families. Being a shared space it’s important to keep this room as tidy as possible to meet the needs of each family member.
Go through all the items in your living room and decide whether you want to throw, donate or keep. It is easy to get into the habit of wanting to keep everything, as all items hold memories, but as decluttering expert Marie Kondo says, if it’s not bringing you joy then donate, recycle or throw it away.
Get into the habit of putting away items that don’t necessarily belong in the room. Mugs, phone chargers, glasses cases, toys, the list is endless - if they’re not meant to live there, move them out of the room.
Make sure any newspapers or magazines don’t get left out, they easily dominate space and make the room look immediately messy. If you’re done with them, recycle them, don’t keep them for the sake of it.
Also, if you’re working from home, try not to turn your living room into a workspace. It’s understandable that you might have to use the space for home working during the day, but make sure you clear up any laptops and paperwork at the end of the day, to keep a clear distinction between work and home life.
2. The Kitchen
The heart of the home, the kitchen is probably the hardest room in the house to keep clean and clutter-free. Kitchens, especially smaller kitchens, get easily cluttered with food, cookbooks, cooking supplies, not to mention the clutter than kitchen cupboards can accumulate.
The key in decluttering kitchens is to ask yourself “Do I really need this?” Over the years, it’s easy to suddenly find yourself with five wooden spoons, four mixing bowls and 20 dish towels. If you honestly don’t need that many, donate to a neighbour.
With the cupboards, organise accordingly. Throw away any spices that you tell yourself you’re going to use but never do, and just stock your basics. You can always buy a smaller sachet of a certain spice if you need it for a future recipe in the future. With Tupperware, do you really need so many? Donate any that you no longer use or any mismatched items that have lost their lids over the years.
Same with mugs and glasses, ask yourself how many you really need. Any that are chipped or damaged can be recycled. Keep it simple.
Similar to the living room, put away any items that don’t live in the kitchen. Car keys, letters, hats and gloves, they all seem to gather on kitchen countertops - make sure you put them in their correct spot to avoid the clutter.
The bathroom is another room that can easily look cluttered. Usually small, and sometimes shared between the whole family, it's easy for bathrooms to feel chaotic.
Similar to the kitchen, get rid of anything extra. Do you need old products that are way past their use-by date? Remember that most bathroom products last around 6-18 months, so throw away anything that has seen better days.
Also, ask yourself if you really use all the products in your bathroom. Is making your life easier, and better? Many of us still have face masks and body butters given to us for Christmas five years ago still lying around in our cupboards. If you’re not using it, throw it out and make some space.
With your towels, if you have any that are looking a bit overused, donate to a local animal shelter. Figure out how many you actually need per your household, keep a few extras for guests, but donate any extras that you don’t need.
Maybe the biggest room to tackle, bedrooms usually hold our favourite items, which can sometimes be hard to let go of.
The best place to start is with your wardrobe, usually the biggest clutter culprit. Ask yourself some basic questions, do you really need this? Do you currently wear this? Will you wear this? If the answer is no, donate it. It’s easy for us to hold onto clothes which bring us good memories but don’t get into the habit of keeping something for the sake of keeping it. Donate anything not used that is still in good condition, and make room for more items and new memories in the years to come.
Invest in furniture that has a double purpose. Adding a storage bench to the end of your bed works as a place to sit and put on your shoes whilst also storing bedding or anything lying around. Also, consider the area under your bed - a storage bed can hold plenty of extra shoes or clothes which won’t fit in your cupboard that you currently have lying around.
Use bowls, trinkets or baskets to store jewellery, watches, and other nicknacks. Donate anything you no longer need or that book you haven’t finished in two years.
Finally, do regular decluttering sweeps in your bedroom, and build it into your cleaning routine. Remove any items on your nightstand to their proper place, and place any dirty clothes into the washing bin and clean clothes back into your closet.