Being messy and disorganised at work costs us nearly 4.5 hours every week. The biggest cause? A messy desk and lots of paper clutter.
If that’s all we need to waste more than a sixth of a day every week, think about how much more time we waste when our homes are cluttered and messy.
Thankfully, we have decluttering tips and techniques from organisation experts like Marie Kondo. Since January 2019, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” has helped tidy spaces and transformed lives.
Her Konmari Method is now a household secret. It’s categorical approach to tidying up (Remember, clothes first, sentimental items last) is certainly useful and effective, just as this beauty writer’s little experiment shows.
If you have already tried it, or found it not quite working out for you, fret not. Everyone’s decluttering experience is different. With her emphasis on keeping only items that speak to the heart, we’re sure Marie herself will agree.
Here are 5 other proven and effective decluttering techniques for home decluttering you’re sure to love!
1. The Minimalist Game – Steady Decluttering Everyday
Forget tidying up whole rooms in one go. This technique will have you start decluttering just one item on day one.
Developed by Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn of The Minimalists, The Minimalist Game speaks to home owners who prefer a gradual, slow approach to decluttering over home organisation shock therapy.
So it begins with one item on day 1. This builds up as the days go on. Day 2 will have you decluttering 2 items, 3 items on Day 3 and so on. It stops on Day 30, where you would have decluttered 465 items in total.
There is no criteria for what item to start decluttering with. Anything goes. This technique is effective because unlike most others that advocate sweeping measures right from the start and fizzle out after a while, The Minimalist Game keeps you highly motivated even until day 30.
You don’t necessarily have to start with just one item. It may be frustrating and needlessly arbitrary, so feel free to start with a higher number. Just remember to add more items to your decluttering list every day!
2. The Backwards Closet Hanger Technique – Wardrobe Downsizing Made Easier
Some parts of your home may require special attention. For Oprah Winfrey, her wardrobe needed extra decluttering love.
How the Closer Hanger Method works is simple: to identify clothes you would want to clear out, just hang all your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction. After you have worn an item, place it back in your wardrobe facing the right direction. After some time, you should begin to notice that some clothes are still hung in reverse – you should declutter starting with those.
There is a catch to this – make sure to separate seasonal clothes from your everyday ones. You wouldn’t want to start decluttering your wardrobe by getting rid of your expensive winter jacket, would you?
If you don’t have enough hanger space, the idea behind this technique still works. Simply fold your clothes in a certain pattern, and then after you’ve worn them, refold them in another pattern. Same idea, same results.
3. The S.E.E.Y.A Technique – An Emotions Checklist for Decluttering
We buy with our emotions and rationalise with our logic. The S.E.E.Y.A Technique plays on this by ignoring rational processes and going straight to our inner feelings.
Advocated by Katrina Teeple of Operation Organisation, S.E.E.Y.A is an abbreviation of 5 questions:
– S: Is your item sucking your energy?
– E: Is your item excessive?
– E: Is your item emotionally draining?
– Y: You don’t love your item?
– A: Is your item An eyesore?
Discard an item as long as you find yourself saying yes to even one of these questions.
Because this technique emphasises emotions, it does overlap somewhat with the KonMari method’s concept of keeping only things that spark joy. The SEEYA technique is more specific however. Instead of just evoking happy feelings, there are clearer criteria to help you decide on your decluttering journey.
4. The Four Box Technique – Relocate, Donate, Trash, Sell
Decluttering is also about putting things in the right place. Instead of going from room to room or having your emotions lead the way, The Four Box Technique starts with assigning purpose to everything.
The default four boxes are: things to relocate, things to donate, things to trash and things to sell. Some versions of the technique have only 3 boxes, but the main idea is to simply categorise items you want to declutter according to purpose.
In the relocate box, you should place anything that currently does not belong in the space it is in.
In the donate box, these are items you do not want or need but are still in good condition and can be useful to others.
In the sell box, these are items of value you can make a quick return on. You will need to set a limit for this box in order to make selling the items worth your time.
Lastly, your trash box is simply where items you no longer, are damaged and cannot be sold should go.
5. The 5-Minute Method – Everyday decluttering for busy professionals
Not everybody has the luxury of time to start decluttering. For Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, small, daily steps can still produce results or at least stop your home from getting messier.
That’s why he’s a huge advocate of doing simple 5-minute decluttering tasks every day. The idea is to spend five minutes each day looking for things to actually give away. Tasks can change, and Leo also has a whole list of tips on how to make every 5-minute decluttering task meaningful and effective.
You might not see any results at first, but give your 5-minute decluttering exercises a couple of days and your home will start looking a lot more organised.
Don’t have time to declutter? Let us help you.
Whether you’re a staunch Konmari disciple or experimenting with the other decluttering techniques above, one thing is certain. Decluttering takes time – a lot of time.
Getting your home tidy and organised also takes a lot of energy. Categorising things can be mentally exhausting, and moving things around can be physically demanding.
And doing daily housekeeping to maintain your decluttering results is no less strenuous. In fact, a huge reason why so many people can’t seem to find success with decluttering techniques isn’t because they don’t work for them, but because they can’t keep up in the long run.
Let us keep your home in peak form for you.
When you engage our full suite of lifestyle and property management services, expect us to cover everything you need for a comfortable and well-organised living experience. Our professional housekeepers will oversee cleaning and disinfecting, pest control, utility maintenance and even outdoor landscaping. Need help with decluttering errands? Let our housekeepers take over for you.