Perhaps decluttering your home is one of your New Year’s resolutions. Or, maybe, you’ve run out of things to watch on Netflix and got excited and inspired when they dropped an entire season of ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ last week. Either way, why not give your home a fresh start in 2019? Make your home something to be proud of! If you bought your apartment a few years (or decades) ago, first of all, lucky you! Property prices in Malta have never been higher. Secondly, it’s probably about time you had a clear out. We humans like to amass stuff. Most of it is exactly that – just stuff! We move into a new house with a couple of suitcases and maybe a box or two, and we need a whole truck to help us leave! If you’re selling your house or you’re soon moving from a rental property into your first home in Malta, then decluttering is definitely a must before you start packing. You’ll honestly be surprised with how much stuff you have. The majority of it, you don’t need (or want), and you’ll feel so much better once you’ve finished. Here are our top tips to help you get rid of all that clutter!
Don’t do it all at once
If you try to declutter your entire home in a day, you’ll very likely not do a proper job. Think about how long it takes you just to clean your house. Decluttering is a much bigger task and it’ll probably take a lot longer. So, our first tip is: don’t try to declutter all in one go. Especially if you have a three- or four-bedroom apartment or house! There aren’t enough hours in a day and you’ll struggle to keep going. Studies have shown that it’s difficult to concentrate on anything for more than a few hours at a time. You could set aside some time every day or you could aim to declutter one room a week until you’re finished. Think of this project as a marathon, not a sprint. You’ll need to keep your motivation up as you go, as well. Before you get decluttering, you could make yourself a playlist. Put together a load of your favourite songs, or a list of motivational and inspirational tracks, to listen to as you declutter. Music is one of the best motivators for a job like this!
Get everyone involved
Those of you who don’t live alone will need to get everyone involved in the decluttering project! There’ll be nothing worse than you spending loads of time and energy, trying to make the house neater and tidier, and then watching your partner and/or your kids undo it all in seconds. If you’re going to do it properly, it’s best to get the whole gang involved. Set challenges or organise a competition. Award prizes, if need be, just make sure the prizes aren’t more stuff! Good rewards are unrivalled motivators!
Design a system
Before you begin, design a system to follow. Facing the mess without knowing where to begin will just be overwhelming. Without a system, you might not even have the motivation to start! First of all, try to make a schedule. Are you going to do a bit every day? Will you tackle your house one room at a time? If you do one room a day, a two-bedroom flat could be done in a week! If you don’t have time to do a room a day because of work commitments etc., you could do one room every weekend until you’re finished. Whatever you think best, just make a schedule and stick to it. Then, make a list of tasks to complete one by one. Ticking off tasks on a list will feel much more manageable than taking your untidy home face-on without a plan. Firstly, put anything that’s out of place back in its place! This includes everything you’ve taken out of a cupboard or drawer, used, and not put back. If there’s no dedicated place for something, find one or make one. Good storage is the best foundation for a clutter-free home! Having your surfaces and table tops free of clutter will automatically make your home look neater and more organised.
After you’ve found a place for everything, it’s time to go through it all. Putting things away in their dedicated cupboards is one thing, decluttering those cupboards is another. You can’t just hide the mess and pretend it’s not there! Well, you could, but that’s not the point of this exercise. Plus, your cupboards are probably full of stuff from the last time you did that just before you had guests coming over. When you’re going through your belongings, it’s important to stay objective and be ruthless. Only keep what you really need. Anything out-of-date can be thrown away – this includes old food, spices, medicine and beauty products. Any item with a shelf-life should be evaluated. In Malta, most homes probably have several bottles of out-of-date sunscreen and after sun! If you have any broken utensils or gadgets, you should get rid of these too. The same goes for any chipped crockery or glassware, for example. Don’t be sentimental!
Donate or give away
Getting rid of stuff is hard, especially when it’s not broken. However, we guarantee that there’s loads of clutter in your home that you can easily part with. In any given room, you probably have 10 or more things you don’t even use that are just taking up space! Of course, if something is broken or damaged, you can throw it away or recycle it. However, anything you have that’s still perfectly usable – just not used by you – you can donate or give away! Have you got any books that you’ve already read but don’t fit on your bookshelf? You could put up another shelf or you could give them away for other people to enjoy! Any clothes you’ve got that either don’t fit you or you haven’t worn them in years? Donate them to charity! If you’re not sure what to keep and what to give away, why not invite your friends over for a wardrobe and wine night! They’ll be able to help you decide what you should keep in your closet and what you should say goodbye to. Clothes aren’t the only thing you can give to charity. You can donate old furniture and old toys, too.