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12 secrets a decluttering expert wants you to know

Tidy your home quickly with our expert tips for decluttering

Woman sorting her items to tidy her home
Leanne Bayley
Leanne BayleyDirector of Lifestyle & Commerce
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Fancy getting a head start on your New Year decluttering resolution? Us too.

We called in the help of Nicola Lewis, aka This Girl Can Organise, to help advise us on how to quickly declutter our homes with minimal fuss. Read on for her expert advice on how to tidy your home, from the dreaded wardrobe to the stash of makeup you can't part with, plus she reveals what to do with all those old cables you have no clue what they're for...

1. Look around your house

woman placing tidy wire box on shelf© Shutterstock
Tidying your home doesn't have to be a chore

This may seem rather strange but trust me, it’s important. Taking time to really understand what’s inside your home, what you use and what you don’t will help you create a system that helps keep your home clutter-free and will benefit your wellbeing.

It can be helpful to do an inventory of all your home items, as you should know what you have in your home. While you’re decluttering, make a list of everything important that is left in each room. that way you’ll know when something isn’t where it’s supposed to be

Every item that comes into our house has a home or a space. It makes life less stressful knowing where things are and brings a sense of calm to your home life.

2. Quality over quantity

Try and get into the mindset of acquiring and having fewer things and look out for the items that are the best quality you can afford. We naturally go to look after and respect items that are more expensive than throwaway cheaper alternatives. I treasure and use the items that come into my home which ultimately makes me happy!

SHOP: 15 must-have items for your home according to 7 tastemakers

3. Make a plan

Make a list of all the areas you want to tackle and slowly work your way through. Don’t overwhelm yourself by doing it all at once, small steps! Remember, one tick of the list is better than none.

When sorting through your belongings, I always recommend sorting them into piles. These are KEEP, DONATE, SELL, BIN, MOVE TO OTHER ROOM. This method brings so much calm and clarity to your home, and soon you’ll be able see the items you love - and use.

Clothes in neat and tidy boxes© Shutterstock
Decluttering allows you to take stock of the things you actually need

4. Clean up in double quick time

When you only have a limited amount of time to get stuff done, set a timer and prioritise the rooms in your house. Dedicate a set period to each area, maybe 10 mins for the dining room, 5 mins for the hallway and so on. Stick some music on whilst you’re doing it to motivate you, especially if cleaning or tidying isn’t your thang!

GET DANCING: Spotify reveals the best songs to clean to

5. If it doesn’t belong in the house, put it in the car!

Whenever I’m busy sorting and decluttering inside and come across an item that doesn’t belong in our home, it goes into a bag or box and is placed in our car boot ready to be dropped off or taken back to where it belongs. A handy tip, I always keep a notepad in the front of the car to remind me of what’s inside the boot.

Woman putting things into her car© Shutterstock
Put things you don't want in your house ready in your car

DISCOVER: Mrs Hinch reveals her trick to a perfectly organised car - and you can buy it on Amazon 

6. Watch out for flat surfaces!

Areas such as the kitchen worktop or dining table can become mess magnets. A quick and easy solution is to clear the space and dress the area! For example, put a flower arrangement in the middle and lay the table with your place settings. This usually prevents anyone from leaving their stuff there again.

READ: 8 best books for home organisation hacks: Stacey Solomon, Mrs Hinch, Marie Kondo and more

7. Organise your dishwasher

Everyone has THEIR way of loading the dishwasher but a handy tip that was passed down to me by my mother was instead of throwing all the cutlery into the utensil caddy, put all the forks in one area, the spoons in another, etc. then when you’re unloading you can just grab all the spoons and put them in the drawer, saving you so much time!

READ: How to clean your house properly to protect from germs

8. How to transform your wardrobe

If you want to make a difference to the inside of your wardrobe, I suggest you switch to one type of hanger. If you have a variety of types, this makes it difficult to see what you have with clothes falling to the floor or getting caught on each other. I love the thin velvet hangers because they are super slim, your clothes won’t fall off them and you can fit more into your wardrobe.

Woman tidying her pink wardrobe© Shutterstock
Keeping your wardrobe tidy is key to respecting your clothes

9. How to sort your cables

Aim to store your cables with the gadget they belong to otherwise you’ll just end up with a box of cables and wires not knowing who or what they belong to. Simply wrap a sticker around the wire and use a permanent marker and write down its paired electrical item. We’re a nation of hoarders and a recent survey revealed there are enough cables and wires in UK homes to circle the earth five times. Recycle them!

10. Everyday bathroom essentials

Bathroom products looking tidy© Shutterstock
A tidy bathroom is essential!

Bathroom storage can become quite limited as generally, they aren’t the biggest rooms in the house so it’s important to not overstock your space. try using storage baskets and containers for your everyday essentials and relocate all the other ad hoc items in a nearby space.

READ: 12 small bathroom ideas to create a luxurious sanctuary 

11. Old electrical items

Let go of anything that doesn’t work or needs repairing. It’s extremely unlikely that you will get it fixed so bag them up and take them to your local recycling centre. Remember, anything with a plug, battery, or a cable can (and should) be recycled. Old, unused electricals are the world’s fastest-growing waste stream so it’s important we don’t just hoard them away.

12. Don't sweat the small stuff

You don't have to be perfect! Life gets in the way and sometimes my sheets go onto my bed un-ironed. Don't sweat the small stuff and just do the bestf you can.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and are not sure where to start when it comes to decluttering your home, get in your happy place and take small steps. Put on your favourite music, light a candle or grab your favourite drink and work on a small area first. Once that area is done this will give you a great sense of achievement and will make you want to carry on knowing you've completed a task successfully.

 Learn how to be happier with our HELLO! Happiness Hub

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