40 Bags in 40 Days Declutter 2013: How to Declutter and Week 4 Update

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So, I’m more than halfway through the 40 Bags in 40 Days 2013 Decluttering Challenge now, and my experience has helped me come up with a  handy “how to declutter” guide to help make your challenge a success.

1. Tackle it in small chunks

Once you’ve worked out the areas you are going declutter, allot 20-30 mins and tackle a small area. A couple of drawers, a shelf in your wardrobe, a kitchen cupboard. Don’t aim to clear a massive amount, or you’ll get swamped in the task and might give up. I tried to tackle my entire wardrobe in one session,  and I ended up moving things from pile to pile and not sorting much out. So: Smaller goals and frequent successes. It’s much more motivating.

2. Take everything out

Yup. You heard me. Let’s say you’re tackling your junk drawer in the kitchen. (I think everyone has one of those! Mine’s a shocker. *Hangs her head*) Take everything out of the drawer and go through each item individually. Sort your things into four piles: keep, donate, bin, recycle. Don’t put ANYTHING back into the drawer until you’ve done this.

3. Get the clutter out

Once you’ve finished number (2), bag up the items to donate, put the rubbish in the bin and the recycling in your recycling box. Get it out of the way so it doesn’t get mixed up with the things you want to keep. And it’s often too tempting to start re-evaluating half way through.

4. Look at what’s left with a critical eye

Come back to the things you have left  and decide which ones you really want to keep in that space. Do you really need a spare screwdriver in the kitchen drawer? Wouldn’t it be just as easy to get it out of the toolbox when you need it, instead of seeing it there cluttering up your drawer every day? Is there somewhere better for your collection of hair elastics to live? Almost certainly. Again, be ruthless and decisive.

5. Organise it and put it back

Now that you know exactly what needs to live in the space you have just decluttered, you can start to put it all back. Think about ways to keep the area tidy. Do you have drawer organisers, boxes or baskets that could help keep everything in its place? Do you need new items to help keep things tidy? (NB Think before you buy and don’t forget to have a wander around your house to see if you already own something that fits the bill.)

6. Enjoy your space

You should now have a nice tidy space with clear homes for everything. This should make it easier to keep tidy and to help you remember what is in there. Enjoy!

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As for this week’s update, I’ve not done so well this week. I’ve been out of town again. One bag of assorted random items awaits a charity shop run (sunhat, shoes, songbook, old cake tin, couple of books and other bits and bobs.) That said, I did sort through my summer clothes and realised that I didn’t need to go out shopping and buy more, as I already had plenty. So that’s at least kept extra clutter out of the house.

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