Start by tossing out as much as you can. All too often, people feel discouraged about decluttering their homes because of the sheer volume of stuff, but a decent portion of this is usually rubbish. Once it's out of the way, it's far easier to make clear decisions about what can stay and what can go.
Do away with the illusion that 'I might need that someday,' and embrace the fact that since you've already acquired such items, you can do so again if you do ever need them. If something doesn't serve a clear purpose and you don't anticipate needing it at a specific point in the future or haven’t used it in the last few months, it's probably alright to let it go.
Possessions end up in rooms far from where they're meant to be stored, and it can be a hassle to get them back. Doing this job all in one go is a great way to declutter your home fast. Just go from room to room looking for items that aren't where they belong and return them to where they should be. Next, do the same within rooms.
Sometimes, the best way to declutter your home quickly is with little tasks that you complete frequently. Thomas Owens, a technical consultant from cleaning system manufacturer Pure Freedom, advocates one such method for purging items that you never use. His test is to take everything you suspect you rarely use and pack it into a box. When you need an item, you can take it out and return it to its regular place. "If you find that after three months some of the boxes have not been opened, or that you haven't used a particular product, feel free to get rid of it," Thomas concludes.
If you're hoarding clothes, there's a similar variation of this test for clothes. Put all of the clothes hangers on the rail backwards and replace the hanger in the normal orientation once you've worn something. At the end of a set period, you can get rid of the clothes on hangers that are still backwards, safe in the knowledge that you aren't likely to wear them.
Once you've determined that you want to get rid of these accumulated items or clothes, you need to make a plan for how to declutter your home quickly. You can turn to online marketplaces to try to sell them, or you can take them to a local recycling centre or tip. It's also worth considering stopping by a charity shop if you're throwing away something that is in good working order and that you think may have some value. They'll happily take it off of your hands and sell it on, and you can feel good that you've contributed to a cause – plus, it saves you the journey to the tip!
It's also vital to keep your walls clear, according to Sam Bradley, founder of designer paint and wallpaper site Lick Home. "Decluttering often makes people think of overstuffed clothes, drawers or stuffed kitchen cupboards. However, walls can be cluttered too. Over time, we can all accumulate bric-a-brac from holidays and keepsakes that we have displayed on a pinboard or wall space in a key focal area. Curate your wall space by only displaying art and images that have meaning to you."
If you're running low on storage space, consider adding shelving, cabinets and other pieces of functional furniture to allow you to stay organised and keep everything in its place. Modern wall-mounted storage is straightforward to install, and once it's in place, it's far easier to declutter your home quickly.
Sometimes, creating more space may mean reconsidering the layout of your rooms. Lighting expert and the founder of House Of, Michael Jones, says that lighting is the key to this: "Whether it's freeing up desk space or bedside tables, employing a wall light means you will have more surface space to work with. They are also perfect for narrow hallways, where any clutter can make an entrance seem extremely congested."
Consider rearranging rooms to disincentivise the collection of clutter in the future. Ask yourself whether your drying rack in a logical place relative to your washing machine? Consider whether you may be tossing clothes onto a chair because the wardrobe is hard to reach, and reconsider your rooms to suit your needs better.
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