Get ready for a spring clean with expert tips from decluttering guru Donna McGinnigle
Make a list
Before you start your clear out note down the exact tasks you want to focus on, that way you can estimate how much time you'll need to complete it all. This will also help you to think of any cleaning products or storage aides you may need to purchase before you start. The BHF (British Heart Foundation) offers a free collection home collection of unwanted items so it may be worth getting in touch with your local shop to book a collection in advance if you think you will have lots of unwanted households items to get rid of at the end of your clear out.
Block out the time
Now you have more of an idea of how much time your spring clear out will take, make sure you block out some time in your diary to complete it. Marking out a clear timeframe, free from distraction, will help you to stick to it! If you don’t want to complete it all in one day, why not block out small slots of time and assign different tasks to each?
What are you going to do with unwanted stuff?
It’s key to think ahead to what you are actually plan to do with any unwanted items that surface during your clear out. The BHF offers a free home collection service to collect donations of household items from books to bags. Once you know when you plan to have a clear out it may be worth going online to bhf.org.uk/bagit to order some free donation bags and find out more about our home collection service. The website also includes information on what can and can’t be donated and details on your local shop.
Set the scene
Don’t underestimate the importance of your environment when you are planning your clear out! Why not pop on your favourite CD whilst you declutter? Or even make a special playlist to spur you on?
If you haven’t got much time or are daunted by all the tasks on your list, you can always start with a small task such as clearing out just one shelf, drawer or cupboard at a time. Focussing on one small area will help you to get into the swing of things and often takes a lot less time than you first think.
Take everything out!
The best way to clear out a space is to take everything out at once! It may seem counterproductive to do this but completely clearing the space out and starting again is the best way to get everything in order. It also helps you to see all the items you have and make sure there are no duplicates or similar items.
Look at the space
Once all your items are out of a space, this is a great time to really look at the space and re-evaluate the best way to use it. Is there a better way you could be storing your possessions? Or would it be more worthwhile swapping this with another storage space in your home? It is always a good idea to make your frequently-used items easily accessible.
Put a timeline on use
When you are clearing out, always ask yourself ’when was the last time I used this? With some items like a torch or ladder, this is less applicable but for most, including your wardrobe, CD rack or bookshelf, this will really help you to determine what items would be better off elsewhere.
- The BHF are urging everyone to help Bag It. Beat It. during their spring clear out by donating any unwanted items to their local BHF shop. Accepting a whole range of items from bags to books and jackets to jumpers, your local BHF shop would love to receive any good quality household items. Every item donated will help to fund even more life saving heart research. To find your local shop, order donation bags or find out more about our free collection service, just visitbhf.org.uk/bagit
- For more useful tips see Yours magazine, out very fortnight, on a Tuesday.