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Beyond spring cleaning: time for a deep declutter

We tend to think of spring cleaning in terms of, well, cleaning.

All that scrubbing in nooks and crannies, banishing dust bunnies from hidden corners and giving everything a good airing to get it sparkling and fresh for the nicer weather is definitely the core of your spring clean.

Just as important is decluttering and purging to streamline your house – and your life.

Clutter can be an energy-zapper when you’re forever spending ages rummaging through piles to find what you need, and Psychologies Today magazine recently suggested that the mere existence of clutter can add to your stress levels. A good clear-out is great for reducing stress and giving you a feeling of real accomplishment when you look around your beautifully organised and minimalist home!

Spring is a great time to consider growth spurts, re-assess the well-meaning sports gear gathering dust and think about how many of the summer clothes you brought out this time last year were actually worn.

It’s also a good task for those in-between weather weekends when you can use the garden or driveway for organising stations and “to the dump” piles, but won’t feel you’re missing out on a potential beach day traipsing around with armfuls of tennis rackets and old clothes.

Most importantly, you’re already in spring-clean mode: a deep declutter is definitely something you have to be in the mood for!

On that note, it is worthwhile being realistic about your attention span and energy levels. The thought of clearing the entire house of junk in one weekend might seem satisfying, but you could come to regret it come Saturday afternoon when you’re knee deep in broken toys and can see the entire project could take many more days.

It might be better to plan on tackling a room at a time over a few weeks.

Categorise your clutter

A key element of deep-declutter success is categorising.

The trick is to have as many categories as you need to avoid agonising over a particular item for more than a few seconds before moving on. For some, the simplicity of “Keep”, “Donate”, “Bin” is ideal, whereas for others, a few shades of grey (“Storage”, “Decide Later”) are the secret to being able to charge through the first cut at a pace. It is crucial to be ruthless.

It might help to plan something like an Ebay or jumble sale with a goal of treating yourself to something specific with the profits. That way, your focus will be on gathering enough to sell to meet your target, which will reduce the risk of nostalgia getting in your way.

Don’t forget that decluttering isn’t all about saying goodbye, whether to specific items or the life you imagined when you bought that dress or those skis.

It can also be a great way to discover gems you had forgotten you had, and maybe this time around you’ll actually be ready to take up that hobby or find the courage to wear that hat!