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Decluttering: How to clear your home and mind according to an interior expert

With a lot of us being stuck at home in self-isolation during the difficult times of COVID-19, you might be wondering what to do with your time. If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed at the current state of the world, it is vital to distract your brain and turn your energy into productivity. If the whole family is at home, piles of letters in your kitchen can build, mountains of dirty socks can be all over bedroom floors and dishes might be left in the sink. The chaos that accumulates can provoke your mental health.

When your space is clean, put together and organised you will be more likely to partake in healthy habits such as exercising and eating fruit instead of chocolate. So, this is the perfect opportunity to clean out your box room that you have been putting off for months. The relationship between your mind and living space is circular, so it is important to begin the journey of decluttering.

Luckily, interior designer Vanessa Arbuthnott has shared her 7 top tips on all things decluttering. A clear mind equals to a happy life, and in times like these we all need to stay positive and healthy.

1)    Set goals

It can be overwhelming to decide on which room and area to begin with. Even if you only have a few rooms or a minimum amount of clutter to sift through, specific goals will help to create a plan which will reduce any frustration on the way. Write down which rooms in your home you wish to tackle and set this as your goal. Ensure you only attempt one room and space at a time so you can keep an order in your head. Even though it might feel like you have a lot of time on your hands, set realistic deadlines for each room you clean up to keep your morale and motivation up.

2)    Start small

You should start small and declutter something which is used daily, this way you will immediately see an impact. Since we are all at home, clothes can be a good place to begin. Organise your wardrobe and prioritise what you will be wearing most by making it the most accessible. This creates ease each morning when you’re getting dressed. If you are feeling extra ambitious do a haul of your entire clothes collection and set aside old garments to take to the charity shop. 

3)    Be strict

It can be hard to part with things you’ve owned for years – even if you forgot it existed! You should divide your items into 3 piles, love it, bin it and donate it. This way you can clearly see what items you don’t need in your house. If you are in two minds about something, sleep on it, during decluttering it can be hard to distinguish between want and need so you shouldn’t act on impulse. 

4)    Keep flat surfaces clear

Flat surfaces such as table-tops, home office desks and kitchen islands are magnets for clutter. It is inevitable for things to be left there but keep it a rule not to let things build up. Clear out any drawers you can and insert small boxes or folders to easily store any paper items. This is vital to implement straight away so you don’t fall into bad habits. 

5)    Be committed

Once you start decluttering a room, ensure that you have the time and patience to commit to completing it. There is nothing worse than doing things halfway, this leads to your items multiplying as opposed to condensing. This rules also applies with maintaining your changes, once you clean your closet out, don’t throw your old clothes back in there after a few days. Fold your jumpers into the neat pile you’ve created to maintain a constant feeling of calm.

6)    Kitchen box test

When you’re cleaning out your kitchen, it can be hard deciding what you use daily and what has been sitting in the drawers picking up the dust. A tried and tested way to find this out is to empty the contents of your kitchen utensils into a box, for a month only put the utensils back into the drawer if you take it out of the box to use it. Anything that has been left in the box should be passed onto charity.

7)    Take before and after photos

Choose an area in your home that is a smaller scale such as a bedside table and take a before photo. Clean all the clutter off and find the items a new home, then take an after photo. This allows you to see what your home could look like once you implement decluttering. This will give you satisfaction much like the ‘Tap to Tidy’ trend on social media – you can even share your own transformations with friends!

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