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22 secrets a decluttering expert wants you to know so that you can tidy your house fast

You can tidy your house effectively. Honest...

Nicola Lewis, aka This Girl Can Organise, has become a home organising social media star with celebrity clients including Gemma Collins, Ferne McCann and Katie Piper. Here, the Instagram star shares her tips for decluttering the 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...

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Nicola Lewis (This Girl Can Organise) knows a thing or two about decluttering

1. Look around your house

This may seem rather strange but trust me, it’s important. Taking time to really understand what’s filled 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.

2. A place for everything

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. 

3. 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! 

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4. 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.

5. Sort into piles

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.

6. 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!

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7. 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 note pad in the front of the car to remind me of what’s inside the boot.

8. Watch out for flat surfaces!

These areas can quickly become clutter zones such as the kitchen worktop or dining table. 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.

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9. 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

10. 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.

Pack of 50 velvet hangers, £17.99, Amazon


11. Shoe Bags

If you have any unused shoe bags just hanging about then put them to good use, I like to use them to store, gloves and hats in the winter and sunglasses and lightweight scarves in the summer.

12. Wires, Cables, Chargers oh my!

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 too. 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!

Cabel labels, £4.99, Amazon


13. Everyday bathroom essentials

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.

Set of four storage baskets, £18.69, Amazon


14. 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. 

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15. How old is your make up?

The recommended shelf life of most make up products is between six and 12 months. Old make up can harbour germs and cause skin irritations, so don’t take the risk, get rid!

Makeup organiser, £13.99, Amazon


16. Do an inventory of every room

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

17. Make your bed first thing in the morning

It’s a small accomplishment but it will set the tone for the rest of the day. Your bedroom should be your sanctuary and a made bed will make it look put together and tidy. This will also help you declutter your space and in turn your mind.

18. Donate rather than BIN!

Always try to donate things where possible. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure! someone might benefit from the things you no longer need or use.

19. Label everything

If you want others to know where things are and to help out with tidying the home, then you need to invest in a label machine.  Everyone will be able to see exactly where each item belongs avoiding confusion and wasted time.

Label maker, £35.69, Amazon


20. 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 best you can.

21. Upcycle your household items

Use items that you would normally get rid of, such as glass sauce jars and candle jars, and wash them out so you can reuse them as handy storage solutions! You can even upcycle old tin cans by painting them and turning them into herb pots to put on your kitchen window.

22. Start off by getting in your happy place

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.

Nicola Lewis from This Girl Can Organise is supporting the Recycle Your Electricals #LittleSpringClean. The campaign calls on the nation to gather up their unused electricals, ready to be recycled when lockdown lifts. Go to recycleyourelectricals.org.uk to find out how you can get involved. 


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