If “declutter” made it to the top of your new year resolutions, (and you’ve realised it’s already February!) this article is a must-read. There’s $59.36 billion worth of clutter Australia-wide according to the recent Choosi Clutter Report – there’s so much clutter that if we were to store it all in standard packing boxes, it would surround the entire coastline of Australia with a wall six boxes high. Recover some space, money, and maybe even some sanity by trying these five ways to declutter your home.
There’s $59.36 billion worth of clutter Australia-wide!
Give to charity
If gifts or your latest sale finds are replacing older items at home (clothes, books, household goods, and furniture), consider donating the quality used items to a charity store. According to the Salvation Army, this is one way you can introduce less waste into the environment and help raise money for vital community projects, but before you visit your local Salvos or Red Cross, do a final edit to ensure you’re not handing over items they can’t sell.
Charity stores are not rubbish dumps. Despite donations to Salvos Stores slightly increasing over the last few years (2%), the quality of donations has reduced a lot. Don’t donate worn out items or those with stains; instead, donate items you would still wear yourself, but simply don’t for whatever reason. The annual waste collection and disposal bill for the Salvos Stores is somewhere between $5 million and $6 million!
1 in 3 Australians express a strong or extreme desire to declutter their home.
Throw stuff out
According to Australians surveyed in the Choosi Clutter Report, some of the most ridiculous items they’re storing include old appliances and electronics (19.5%), clothing and accessories (12.8%), and papers like magazines and newspapers (12.3%). Why are we holding on to these things? That’s the same question tidying experts and enthusiasts have been asking too.
One such professional, organising consultant Marie Kondo, has sold millions of copies of her organising books around the world, inspiring readers with her unique KonMari method. This involves gathering your belongings in categories (clothes/books/linen/accessories etc.), and questioning if each item “sparks joy”. If it does, it stays, if it doesn’t – like a pile of old newspapers or the tired jaffle-maker collecting dust – it’s thrown out.
Up for an organising challenge? Play the 30-Day Minimalism Game by the minimalists. Over 20 million follow this duo in the hopes of living meaningful lives with less.
Sell and trade clutter
Wasting money on things that aren’t necessary is one of the top motivations to declutter according to respondents of the Choosi Clutter Report. This may explain why Aussies are embracing the Second Hand Economy by selling and trading their clutter online. According to Gumtree's annual Second Hand Economy Report, more than 90 per cent of Australian households have at least 25 unwanted items, worth about $5,400 per household they could sell.
The key to making your unwanted items (appliances, books and games, clothing, and home furniture and décor) stand out to potential buyers on Gumtree is to avoid advertising during the post-Christmas period. Gumtree research suggests product listings on the site increase by almost a third at this time of the year as 2.8 million Australians jump online to sell unwanted gifts they’ve just received from family and friends.
More than 90 per cent of Australian households have at least 25 unwanted items, worth about $5,400 per household they could sell.
Get smart with storage solutions
You’ve narrowed your belongings down to what “sparks joy”, and made some extra money selling unwanted clutter on Gumtree, but how do you keep the remaining items under control? Ensure everything has a dedicated space at home. Before you invest in pricey storage solutions, consider cheap ways to keep things neat.
Shoe boxes and egg cartons make great drawer dividers, a sheet set can be tucked into its matching pillow case for an organised linen cupboard, use a tackle box to store batteries, and hang your ironing board on the back of the laundry door to save on cupboard space. You can also heed the advice of a third of the Choosi Clutter Report respondents (34.6%) who sometimes buy furniture because of the storage facilities it offers.
Be disciplined about accumulating clutter
Instead of committing to a never-ending cycle of organise-clean-organise-clean, cut the clutter habit for good with these words of advice:
- Always place daily used items back in their designated space at home: keys in the bowl, shoes in the wardrobe, dishes in the cupboard etc.
- Change your mind set about consumption by asking yourself a few questions before buying non-essentials: Do I really need this item? Do I have a designated spot at home for this? Am I buying this for the right reason?
- “Just in case I need it one day” is not a good enough reason to hold onto an item.
- Always organise your things after you’ve decluttered. Hooks are no good to put up if you’re never going to hang anything on them!
These five avenues make it easier – and in some cases financially rewarding – to declutter your space. A little exploration into each option with some spare time on the weekend can help you create a simpler, fuss-free space with your belongings. And to keep your clean start going, retrain your thoughts to shop and live differently.
18 Feb 2018