Stop Messing Around

Tripping over all the mess in your room? If you can’t find that pesky stray sock, it’s time to declutter.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Tripping over all the mess in your room? If you can’t find that pesky stray sock, it’s time to declutter.
Images TPG/Click Photos
Images TPG/Click Photos

Are you a closet hoarder? While we would like a house elf to keep our living spaces clutter-free, sadly, there aren’t enough Dobbys to go around. No one likes packing, but it’s time to throw those excuses out of the window.

EXCUSE #1: “But I might need it in the future.”

Here’s the harsh truth: we’ll never know exactly what we’ll need in the future. So is it worth storing a tent or heavy-duty winter boots when you can find better homes for them elsewhere? The answer is “no”. And when you do need a specific item, you can always rent or borrow it from a friend. Having all that clutter isn’t worth the off-chance that you might need something in the next decade.

But how do you tell if something is worth keeping or ditching? Kenneth Worsdale, CEO at Extra Space Self Storage Asia, gives us some tips:

DUST TEST If it’s dusty, chances are, you aren’t really using the item as frequently as you think. It’s that simple.

KNOW IT OR THROW IT If you can’t name the majority of items stored, you’re probably wasting space.

TRACK IT Stick a post-it note on the items you use less frequently and mark each use over three months.

EXCUSE #2: “I can’t bear to throw it away. It means so much to me.”

Everyone gets emotionally attached to their belongings. According to a survey conducted by self storage operator Extra Space last year, 63 percent of what we keep are nostalgic keepsakes!

“Identify if you’re holding onto the items because they are valuable or for sentimental reasons,” advises Worsdale. “It’s also important to determine how frequently you use the items.” The same survey revealed that 88 percent of people are bothered by the clutter at home, with 45 percent admitting that it causes them stress. Our home should be a peaceful place for us to relax in, so steel yourself and tackle your building pile of belongings.

Getting Organised

So you’ve decluttered your home and are feeling great. But how do you stop yourself from falling back into the slippery slope of hoarding? Worsdale has some suggestions to keep your living space junk-free.

1 “Think twice before accepting someone else’s ‘free’ unwanted items. ‘Free’ is not always a bargain.”

2 “Before you buy something new, think about what you don’t need or could store to make room for the new item(s), especially clothes that go out of fashion.”

3 “Encourage everyone in your home to commit to ‘sorting time’ once a month, so the items don’t just get moved around the home.”

4 “Make use of your newfound space to prevent it from being a dumping ground, such as creating a reading corner with a super comfortable chair.”

5 “Take a photograph of the room or your house after you’ve decluttered. It can really help to keep you motivated to maintain a less cluttered home, along with regular spring cleaning.”

More: space items