A lot of people talk about decluttering methods, but what are they, and how do they work? We’ve looked into how these different methods work and how you can pick which is going to be the best one for you.
This method, associated with Marie Kondo, has become an incredibly popular way to tackle clutter. It’s a bit of a change from the typical decluttering approach; generally, you would decide what you want to get rid of and work from there. Instead, Marie encourages you to pick out the things that you really want to keep and to get rid of anything else. It’s recommended to work in categories; for example, start with your wardrobe and break it down into items.
The main advantage of this is that it’s a really thorough way of sorting through your things, and will mean you can eliminate duplicates and anything that you don’t really like but seem to keep hold of ‘just in case’. It also means that you can sort through things at your own pace, doing a few categories a day to make progress without feeling overwhelmed.
One of the disadvantages is that it can take a lot longer than other methods – while you can make it work for your timeframe, you often can’t contain it to one room, which means your entire house will be disrupted when you’re clearing. This makes more mess than you started with and can not only be off-putting but result in you giving up and having even more to organise to put it all back.
2. Coat hangers
This idea has been popular for a long time but was made even more so by Oprah. It focuses on your wardrobe and is the perfect solution for those of us who own a huge amount of clothes and don’t really wear them but refuse to let them go in case we need them down the line. You rearrange your hangers to all face one way, and then as you take clothes out, you can turn that hanger around to show that it’s been worn. After a couple of months, anything that hasn’t been turned around hasn’t been worn – so you can get rid of it.
The advantages here is that it’s an easy method and doesn’t take a lot of work. You can see straight away the items you have and haven’t worn and then get rid of anything that hasn’t been touched in that timeframe. You can also apply the same idea to other areas in the house; anyone who has a lot of mugs, for example. You can turn them upside down and only turn the ones you use upright, showing you what you use and what you can get rid of easily.
There are some disadvantages to this method; it can be very slow and isn’t ideal for those who need to make more progress in a shorter timeframe. It also only really works if you’ve got enough space to hang your things up, so it isn’t great for clothing stored in drawers. You will also need to think about the seasons – if you do this in the summer, you’ll obviously not reach for winter clothes, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t need them in the colder months.
3. Four boxes
The four-box method is a great approach in homes that have got a lot of items in different conditions. Get four boxes and label them keep, throw away, donate, and sell. You can then sort through your items and decide which box it belongs in. After filling them, you can get rid of the items in the boxes that aren’t going to stay accordingly and then start again.
This method is popular as it’s easy and very self-explanatory, avoiding any confusion about what goes in which box. You can also add a fifth box if needed that’s labelled as unsure, giving you more time to decide on any items that are a real struggle to put in the other boxes.
A disadvantage is that if you do use this unsure box, you can end up just putting everything in this category and not make any progress. It’s best to use this box as a real last resort and try to find homes in the others for your items as much as you can.
4. One item a day
Approaching your decluttering with this method is a really simple one but incredibly effective and has proved popular with millions of people. It’s exactly what it says – you get rid of one item a day. This can be a single item, or if you’ve got a lot to get through and want to make faster progress, one box or drawer a day.
An advantage of this method is that you will adopt this task into your daily routine, making it a normal part of your day, which over time, will make it easier and help you continue to make progress. You can also change it as you need to, so if you’re struggling one day, you can do just one thing, whereas if you’re having a good day and think that you can handle a bit more, you can aim for a big box to clear.
The disadvantage often found with this is that depending on your schedule, it can be difficult to stay consistent, especially if you’re often out and about or your days vary massively. It isn’t the best approach for those who like to do things in short, sharp bursts, which a lot of people find more manageable compared to doing a bit each day.
By looking at these different approaches, you can see which is going to be a good fit for your style and which might be less effective – making sure that you start the right way and achieve the goals that you’ve set for yourself, especially if you’re working to a timeframe because you want to move home! We buy any home across the country as an alternative to the open market, perfect for those looking for a faster process.