Living a simple life is something I am passionate about and decluttering is something that goes hand-in-hand with simple living. Keeping our environment clean and tidy isn’t just enjoyable for living in, but it helps us feel more organised, less overwhelmed and stressed, and can also help us be more productive. The habits I share below have made a huge difference in my life – I hope you’ll find them helpful x
1. CLEAN AS YOU GO
Whether in the kitchen or anywhere else, when you’re done with your items / ingredients, put them away so they don’t pile up as you use them. This makes it so much easier to stay tidy because much of the “tidying up” is already done.
2. MINUTE OR LESS RULE
This rule is simple: if a task takes a minute or two or less to complete, just do it! Washing a dish, hanging up your coat, putting your shoes on the shoe rack, or making the bed are a few examples of tasks that take no time at all. Resetting my Home every night before I go to bed is my favourite tidy habit – it sets the tone for the next day and makes my Future Self very happy when she wakes up.
3. HAVE A SPOT FOR EVERYTHING
This one’s a game-changer. It is so easy to bring something home and not have a proper spot for it! This alone is a recipe for clutter. Take a moment to select a proper basket, drawer, jar, etc. for your household items. This not only tidies your space but makes it so much easier to find things as they’re always kept in the same location. Having a spot for everything also applies to the files and documents on our computer. If you’re like me or many others, you use your computer a lot. Get into the habit of saving documents and files to properly labelled folders so they’re easy to find
4. ONE IN, ONE OUT
The one-in, one-out policy essentially means with each item brought into your space, another item is eliminated. Whether it’s a new piece of clothing that can replace an older piece you no longer wear, a new piece of furniture, a kitchen gadget, or a rug. This helps prevent over-accumulating too many things. Simply be aware of what “new” items you bring into your space and donate or get rid of what’s being replaced.
5. HAVE A CLEANING SCHEDULE
Having a specified cleaning day (or more than one day, if that works for you) is an excellent way to help you stay organised and on track with your tidying duties. For me, Friday afternoons always feel like cleaning days; Laundry, vacuuming, cleaning the windows, and a bit of decluttering if need be.
Doing the weekly reset of our Home on Friday, I get the weekend off to enjoy the weekend.
6. ASSESS YOUR BELONGINGS REGULARLY
This applies to anything, and it’s so very helpful! Regularly assess the things that you have: Go through your kitchen cupboards, your pantry, clothing, makeup, drawers, etc. and get rid of things you no longer have or that have expired. This feels so good to do!
7. HAVE A DONATE BAG / BIN
Having a bag or bin handy that’s dedicated to items you no longer want or need and can donate is a fantastic way to help you stay tidy. Simply put away the items in the bag as you come across them and make a trip to your local charity shop when ready. Something I recently started doing is listing unwanted & unneeded things on an app called OLIO.
OLIO connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. This could be food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home-grown vegetables, bread from your baker, or the groceries in your fridge when you go away. For your convenience, OLIO can also be used for non-food household items, too.
8. MAKE USE OF YOUR TIME
The time spent while cleaning can simultaneously be used to your advantage by learning something new or interesting by listening to a podcast, an audiobook, or simply just playing some music. Turn your cleaning time into an enjoyable activity. In fact, I find tidying often becomes “me” time, and I really enjoy it. Looking after my Home & belongings is a way of practising gratitude for all that I am blessed with.
I recently started practising KITSUGI – the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold – built on the idea that by embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art. My old self would have just thrown these plates away, but KITSUGI taught me about accepting fragility, building strength and resilience, and taking pride in the imperfect.
9. CREATE A BLANK SLATE
Ever tried this before? Completely clear off your desk, counter, table or whichever surface you choose, and re-add items one at a time. This is a great way to assess belongings and have a vision of how you want each space to look and feel. You’ll likely realise you have so many more things than you thought that you can now store elsewhere, donate, or toss. Before I go out shopping for new things that I need, I’ll actually walk around our Home and see if I can find something I can use instead – I shop our Home first. Most of the time, I end up finding something I can use.
10. UNSUBSCRIBE FROM MAILING LISTS
How many of you have mailing list subscriptions and receive emails constantly that you don’t read or you just delete? These emails quickly pile up – so take a few moments to scan your email inbox for subscriptions you no longer care for. Keeping your email inbox tidy is another way to keep our computer spaces organised, which in turn helps our brains feel a whole lot more organised, too.