De-cluttering seams to be the buzz word of the moment, and it can not only help you in day to day life, but can also save you money by reducing what you buy, and using up what you already have.
We have broken down the top tips from around the web and grouped them into three main areas, the kitchen, bathroom and your bank account. These ideas can also be applied to other areas of your home, like your bedroom, or living room.
The kitchen is the heart of the home and can be where you spend the most of your time at home, but it also the place that can be most cluttered.
Make a plan and set a timer
De-cluttering your kitchen is a big task and for meaningful change is not happen one afternoon. You will need a few boxes (to separate items that you are selling or donating) and some bin bags to get started. A good tip is to set a timer, of say an hour and just do one hour a day, this will help keep you focused.
One area at a time
Start with one cupboard or draw at a time and be systematic. It is tempting to take everything out, but that can create more clutter and confusion.
Do I use this now? – we all have appliances we would like to use, but often the constraints of real life mean while we had good intentions when we bought it, the reality is that it is gathering dust at the back of a cupboard. For more expensive items, re-selling via Facebook or a Car Boot, or Ebay could recoup some of the money you spent.
How many do I have? – We often accumulate extras of things like wooden spoons, baking sheets, Tupperware. How many do you regularly use? Keep your favourites and donate the rest!
Would I buy this today? Tastes and lifestyles change, if you would not buy it today, sell or donate it.
Remove things that do not belong
There are probably things in the kitchen that do not belong there, from kids toys, to magazines, or hair bands. Don’t waste time relocating everything, get a box and put everything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen in the box to relocate after you have done de-cluttering.
Think of how you live
If you regularly pay your bills in the kitchen a little basket, or wall mounted pocket to store mail helps keep things tidy once you have finished de-cluttering. Do you kids regularly do homework or drawing while you cook in the kitchen? Keep pencils and a notebook etc in draw nearby to where they regularly do their homework.
Keep it tidy – some top tips!
Make Use of Your Cabinets. Hopefully after de-cluttering you will have more room in your cupboards. If you have created the space, move items that are not used daily from the worktop into the cupboards.
Use up, & downside your cleaning products. If you have lots of different bottles for different jobs around the kitchen, you may have more cleaners than you need. Sort through them all and only replace what you use most. Multipurpose cleaners are sometimes cheaper and can be just as good as the specialised cleaners. Also, to keep under you kitchen sink tidy a spring-loaded curtain rod can be used to hang up spray bottles under the kitchen sink, the handles fit perfectly over the rod.
Someday Supplies. You may have paper plates, serving dishes and extra glasses for a special occasion. Group these supplies into a large box and think of putting the box in a more appropriate location like under the stairs, or airing cupboard. Writing down what supplies are in the box and check before you go and buy extras for the occasion, will save you money.
Hang Up bags. Bag hooks for kids’ backpacks, your bag etc. will keep the bags off the floor/work top and make them easy to find. By putting the hooks for the kids bags at their height can encourage them to use it more.
The bathroom can be the smallest room in the home but also the place that can be the most disorganised.
As with the kitchen, question everything!
Do I use this now? – we all have products we had good intentions when we bought it, but for one reason or another we have moved onto another product. For non-medical items being strict and using up the last of the conditioner, moisturiser or body wash, before buying new, can help create more space and save money.
Can I use it? – Check the dates on all your products and bin any that have expired. Stretched out old hairbands, bent hair-clips, if you will not use it, put it in the bin!
First Aid – Create a first aid box/draw or basket to help you find what you need in a hurry and keep things tidy. Remember to double checking expiry dates and use up what you have before buying new.
Make -Up – Keeping make up brushes and products tidy and clean is an ongoing battle. There are lots of different ideas on Pinterest and blogs, from mason jars, to draw organisers. Everyone has their own routine, so find an idea that works for you. Remember to go through your products every few months and get rid of old mascaras, broken eye-shadow platelets and disintegrating sponges to keep things hygienic and de-cluttered.
De-cluttering your bank accounts can help you save/or make money and be a good starting point to improve your finances – check out our other blog (How to really improve your finances) next.
Where to start,
For your main current account there are a few key questions you need to ask yourself
• Do they offer good incentives, such as a cashback on purchases or rewards for direct debits?
• How much does it cost each month in fees?
You may find another provider offers extra that are more useful to you such as travel insurance if you travel regularly or is cheaper on monthly fees.
For your main savings account, check the interest rate, and find out if there are any better rates out there, Money Savings Expert normally has an up to date list of the latest savings rates. Additionally, do you have any old bank accounts lying dormant? Close them down and consolidate any funds into one main account if you no longer need them.
Blitz your bank statement
With so much online, when was the last time you went through your bank statement? By printing off two months of statements you can tell you when you spend money and what you spend it on.
Your regular outgoings. Do you make the most of your gym membership? Could you get a better deal on your mobile bill, internet or car insurance? Multiple each regular monthly cost by 12, so you can see how much a year it costs. Do you feel in a year you get that much value?
Any payments you don’t recognise. Fraudsters are getting smarter and sneakier all the time, and they count on people not scrutinising every transaction on their bank statement. Don’t be afraid to query something that looks a bit dodgy with your bank. It could save you a ton of heartache (and money).
Send old paperwork to the shredder
Going through old paperwork can be a big challenge, but by doing a bit at a time, you can de-clutter, and access important paperwork easily.
When sorting through your paperwork, keep in mind that:
• Statements for phone bills, credit cards, utilities, loans and bank statements can be accessed online, so there’s not always a reason to keep paper copies. If you would like to keep a record, scanning the document to your PC, and putting in a clearly marked folder ensure you still can access the information without keeping the piece of paper.
• When getting rid of a document, make sure to use a shredder to protect your and your families personal information and always double check that you are not binning something you do actually need – if you’re unsure call the bank or authority who sent it to you.
• Keep documents like driving licences, birth certificates, passport, property deeds, marriage certificate, wills and other personal identification and property ownership paperwork. Keep these in a separate file away from day to day paperwork.
• While going through your paperwork you may come across paperwork that may have sentimental value. This could range from first school reports, cards received for significant life events, or other sentimental items. You can create an individual memory boxes for each member of the household for these items. By dividing these bits of paper into personal memory boxes keeps these items safe. Remember you do not have to keep everything just the ones that mean something! Inviting each person to go through their pile can also be a great way to share memories and but also a great way to find out what that person wants to keep!