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How To Declutter Your Home As Lockdown Eases 

Now that more of us are getting vaccinated and able to leave our homes more freely, it’s time to bring our spaces back to their pre-pandemic glory, you know, like before we were spending all hours of the day in our living room. 

Dilly Carter is a professional home organizer and self proclaimed “declutterer” who stars in the show ‘Sort Your Life Out’ which helps homeowners organize their cluttered spaces. Carter recently discussed how it’s important to have your home as organized as possible because it has an indirect impact on your mental health. 

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“You wake up in the morning, you tumble out of bed, you try to find a towel, you try to find your toothbrush, you go to the wardrobe, you try to find a shirt that’s been ironed, you try to find a pair of trousers. Your socks are in the kitchen drawer. You stumble down the stairs, trip over some Lego, go to the kitchen, sniff the milk to see if it’s off. And you start work and you’re like, ‘Why am I so stressed?’  This build-up of tiny annoyances is why you need to declutter,” she says.

Carter claims the easiest place to start is an empty room, or by completely emptying out a room. “An artist would never create a masterpiece by drawing over another masterpiece, would they? The next trick is to put back only the things you absolutely need in the empty room. Be as ruthless as you can; the goal is to create as much space as possible. We don’t want to be surrounded by stuff, because stuff clouds our mind and clouds our judgment. We need space to breathe.”

It’s important to also reclaim the spaces that may have been taken over by clutter. “Sometimes a kitchen is a kitchen, but it can also be a playroom, and it’s also a study, and it’s also a front room. That’s why the kitchen doesn’t feel like a kitchen at the moment. So let’s bring it back to just being a kitchen. Let’s take out all the kid’s toys and put them back in the bedroom. You will end up with dedicated spaces that don’t feel encroached upon by the rest of the house,” Carter explained. 

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Begum Zarmann is the UK’s go-to decluttering trend expert who recommends taking photos as you declutter your space so you can keep track of your progress: “Before you start to declutter, choose a small part of your home, like a bathroom cabinet, and take a photo of it. Once you have tidied and organised that space, take an after photo. Why? Keeping a record of your transformations gives you the motivation to declutter more.”

Zarmann also recommends sorting all of your things within four large boxes. “Label them ‘rubbish’, ‘give away’, ‘keep’ or ‘relocate.’ Whether it’s a drawer or a full room you’re tackling, the key is to organize your items into one of the four boxes and to not skip a single item, no matter how insignificant you may think it is.” 

Carter also recommends getting one big box for paperwork exclusively. “Walk around your house with the biggest cardboard box you can find and just shove it all in there. Doesn’t matter if it’s unopened mail, paperwork or files. Whatever it is, get it all into one box. Because then, mentally, you are only dealing with one box. And then when you’re ready to deal with that box, you sit there, in front of your favorite TV show, and you can start going through that paperwork. From that, you will soon have your keep pile, your burn pile, your shred file.”

From that point forward it’s up to you to be diligent when deciding what gets thrown away, what can be donated, potentially sold, or relocated to get actual use within the home.

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