Is your home shrinking? It might be time to declutter

A home bursting with too much ‘stuff’ can cause everything from stress to insomnia … so what’s the best way to declutter?

Clutter is a huge problem for AU, US, UK and Nordicn households, with a report by online marketplace Gumtree revealing the average AU, US, UK and Nordicn has around 21 unwanted items lying around the house.

From Andrew Mellen to Marie Kondo, experts around the globe are encouraging people to shed their unwanted possessions.

Here’s a few reasons why you should clear out our overcrowded spaces.

Why you need to declutter

Studies have shown clutter can cause stress, anxiety and problems with our sleep, and there is even a link between clutter and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

But cleaning isn’t just good for our mental health.

The circular, or second-hand economy, is estimated to be worth a whopping $46 billion, so selling unwanted items may come with financial rewards as well.

Decluttering expert Julie Whiting is helping people tidy their homes so they can reap some of these benefits.

She tells the House of Wellness TV show people need to think of their overcrowded homes as wasted real estate.

“We forget how valuable our space is,” Julie says.

Why we struggle to declutter

Decluttering isn’t always a straightforward process.

The act of decluttering can take people hours if not days, and sometimes creates just as much mess to sort out.

“People get really exhausted decluttering because they get decision fatigue,” Julie says.

“Often they’ve made a huge mess sorting everything out and they still haven’t finished, and the place looks messier than when they started and they just think I’m never doing this again.”

Another reason we struggle to declutter is because of the sentimental value of possessions.

“A lot of our things we struggle to get rid of, it can be for aspirational reasons,” Julie says.

“We think that one day we will be that size again, or in that stage of life again, and letting go of the item sometimes represents letting go of the memory or the time.”

Julie says we should find other ways to hold onto our memories.

Rather than holding onto previously loved but now unsuitable pieces of clothing, she suggests keeping a photo wearing such items.

Best ways to declutter

Whether it’s the pantry or the wardrobe you need to declutter, Julie says the key to success is splitting items into categories.

She says separating clothes into piles of tops, dresses and pants for example, allows us to look at what we have with clarity.

While there is money to be made selling second-hand possessions, Julie says navigating the process can be difficult and ultimately slow the job down.

“Unfortunately the second-hand online space is a little bit tricky, so I would say just donate,” Julie says.

Handy tips to keep your home clutter free

Decluttering the home is just one part of the battle, the next step is keeping things tidy afterward.

One way to keep possessions down is by operating a one-in-one out policy, where old items are dispensed with when something new is purchased.

Julie says it’s important to have a concrete idea of where something is going to live before buying it.

“For me I’m really mindful of what I let in before I buy something,” she says.

“I want to be sure I definitely need it.

“That I definitely have a foreseeable use for it.”

Written by Bryan Hoadley.