Top 5 ways to tackle your decluttering

I wanted to share with you my top 5 tips for decluttering. These are the methods that have stuck with me during my minimalist journey.

I do a lot of these without even thinking about it now.

1. A place for everything and everything in its place

This is my mantra when I’m decluttering or even just tidying up. It runs through my head constantly!

Of course, to make this work, you need to have decided on one place for your items. This means one location for pens in your entire house. No duplicate locations. This way you always know exactly how many of a given thing you have. And you always know where to find what you are looking for. Sounds simple? It is. But it really works!

2. Give yourself 10 minutes to tidy

Pick an area to tidy up. Is there loads of stuff on your dressing table? Is your coffee table cluttered? Haven’t tackled the junk drawer in your kitchen yet?

Give yourself 10 minutes to do it. Set a timer! You’ll be amazed at how much you get done.

Get tidy by moving stuff to its rightful place (see tip 1!), throw out anything broken or unusable. Organise the stuff that’s staying. Stack boxes, use elastic bands to bind things together, or simply tidy up.

3. Not sure whether to throw something out? You must use it/wear it this week

It can be hard to make a decision about whether to throw something away or not. There’s the danger of keeping things ‘just in case’ of course. This leads to clutter straight away.

One way to tackle this, if you are really not sure, is to give yourself a week to decide. The catch is that you must use or (if it’s clothing) wear the item you are being indecisive about. If you struggle to use it, or hate wearing it, you know it was meant to leave your home.

4. Get rid of duplicates

You need to be in the right frame of mind for this. I’ve set myself a task on a given day of sorting out my shoes or clearing my kitchen. These are bigger jobs than clearing the coffee table for example.

In my head I’ve usually hit a point where the cupboards are bursting or I can’t find anything anymore. So my approach is to empty out everything in the category you’ve chosen onto your bed or living room floor.

Then group similar looking things together. I did this and discovered four pairs of black ballet-pump style shoes. I kinda knew I owned them all but had never put them all together.

I then asked myself the question “If you had to choose one pair which would it be?” My mind came up with an answer immediately. You know what to get rid of!

5. Aim for a desert island bookshelf

This is one of the first things I ever did in my decluttering! The idea is that you go through your bookshelves  (because I know they’ll be in the plural) and you are ruthless! Your aim is to end up with one shelf of books that you really, truly love: your desert island bookshelf.

I did this, and I still have five shelves of books. This is better than the nine I had previously. I’m just going to ignore the three shelves of books-to-read that I still have….

Share your tips

That’s it, they are my top five tips to get started with decluttering, I hope you found them helpful.

Why not share your tips in the comments? I’m always interested to know how others keep on their minimalist journey.



Just in (Lost) Case Declutter

Those who know me, know my holiday pre-planning/packing list is legendary.

I don’t write a new one for every holiday, that wastes time. I have one ready, typed up in Word, pre-filled with all your holiday ‘must-haves’. That said, one size doesn’t fit all – there’s not much of a need for a snorkel in Tennessee – so there are amends for every trip.

At least I know that all the essentials are there – of course, all this is a bit of a moot point when your case doesn’t show up.

Arriving in Knoxville

The trip to Knoxville took us from Sunderland to Newcastle, Newcastle to London Heathrow, London to Charlotte (North Carolina), Charlotte to Knoxville (Tennessee).

I said “hi” to my case at Charlotte joking with the baggage handler that I hope it’d make it (our layover was barely 40 minutes). He laughed and assured me it would.

So, after almost 24 hours of traveling, we arrived in Knoxville.

Safe and sound and without my case. Ma and Pa’s cases arrived, but not mine.

It turned out that my bag was stopped for a random TSA check at exactly the time that it should have boarded my flight.

What could I cope without?

After my initial crashing realization that I was without my case, I started to wonder what I would do if it didn’t show up. What could I live without? What would I replace as essentials?


The boots I was wearing weren’t ones that brought me joy – to be honest they were quite old and had been chosen for practicality (ease of removal at security) rather than style. My lovely cowboy boots were in the case.

My dress was okay. I mean I’d happily wear it to a bar or restaurant – not fine dining, but it’d do.

My main worry had been that my jacket was in the case and Knoxville wasn’t meant to be that warm when we arrived. Thankfully I’d had the foresight to extract my jacket at Charlotte!


I knew I’d be able to make do with hotel toiletries – and I’d got a little dental pack on the plane so at least I could clean my teeth! Part of going on holiday for me is taking my good quality cleanser and moisturiser – so I was gutted to be missing my Origin’s Ginger products 😦

Getting my case back and meeting Sandy

Luckily the next flight to Knox was only two hours later so I was reunited with my case fairly quickly.

In the process I met the lovely Sandy at the airport – who put in my claim and arranged for my case to be delivered to my hotel.  She was wondering why we’d come all the way to Knoxville. I explained about the Rhythm n Blooms festival happening downtown.  And she’d never heard of it!

Fast forward a few days to Barley’s Taproom and the final night of the festival – who do we see dancing away to Elliot Brood? Only the lovely Sandy! she came over to say Hi and wish us well!

Lose a case, gain a friend y’all!

Declutter dreams

Following my mega day of throwing stuff out I had the weirdest dream.

Broadly, I dreamt I was burgled which is not that odd in itself. However, the burglars had been weirdly selective and had actually replaced stuff. They’d also ransacked my neighbour’s house too.

This is likely to be an unwanted peek into my psyche but here’s the odd stuff I remember from the dream…

They’d found my jewellery and had taken my Tiffany ring but left *everything* else. They had also transported the jewellery box into my CD/DVD case. All of the CDs had been taken.

They had moved my gym kit to my bookshelf. They had taken all my books except the ones I have to read.

They had filled my gym bag with a mini hoover.

All of the furniture was in the wrong rooms. So it was really hard to see what had been taken.

The wall between my backyard and my neighbour had been knocked down. When I went to speak to them at the non-existent wall I looked down and I was standing on Granny Smith apples… barefoot…

Declutter detox will be the next thing, once I fathom out what the hell this means….

I could open my own branch of TK Maxx with what I’m giving away

Well I’m knackered. A day of decluttering really takes it out of you.

I’d been mentally preparing for this weekend. I’d planned to revisit my wardrobe – I had a massive clear out two years ago (over the Easter weekend) – but I was aware that I’d kept things that I shouldn’t have.

I started slowly with a lie in!

Horizontal declutter

Make up spilling out of the box on the right

I decluttered some make up while still in bed. This is clearly the way forward. Stay in bed, throw away old mascara, have another lie down.

Bag of old make up to be thrown out!

Folding Kondo style

I haven’t actually read Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up, but I have read articles about it.

Once I got myself up and showered, I decided to tackle my drawers. This is where I keep my underwear, nightwear and socks/tights. My approach to storage is broadly to toss the clothes into the drawer designated for them. It sort of works. It’s just a bit messy.

I don’t know why but I decided to see if there was a guide to Marie Kondo’s folding technique. I’d read about this before and decided it would be a total waste of time and not for me.  But today something sparked my interested. Armed with a nice summary provided by Goop, I started.

It’s so addictive! I can see all of the socks I own! My pants are no longer just a mass of black – they are neatly displayed in rows. I think I’ll keep this up!

A not very clear picture of my neatly stored tights.
A not very clear picture of my neatly stored tights.

Tackling the wardrobe

I got myself a bin bag and a bunch of old charity bags and started. I pulled all of my tops and jumpers and t-shirts off the shelves and onto my bed. There’s so much stuff. No wonder I couldn’t find anything! Most of it comes from TK Maxx – I bloody love that shop, this is why I’m in so much trouble.

A pile of tops, t-shirts, cardigans and ponchos!

I managed to fill two charity bags with tops.

Next I tackled jeans and trousers. I’m really bad at buying new versions of things and keeping the old. So I got rid of the duplicates that had crept in.

Next up, dresses. I wear a lot of dresses. I should have counted them. I think I must have had around 40 in my wardrobe. Some are worn to death, some still have tags, some are out of style/old, some will never fit.

I tried. I really tried. I probably got rid of about 10 or so. But I’ve still got ones that don’t fit because one day they might.

Everything has its own hanger now. There’s no doubling up. And at least now I can see the new clothes I have – so maybe you’ll actually see me in it at some point!


I ended up with one rubbish bag and four charity bags filled with clothes.

There’s still more to go. It’s a good start though and there’s still the rest of the long weekend yet!

Let me know if you are on a downsizing journey – any hints and tips gratefully received!

I’m rewarding myself with a glass of wine now. Cheers!


Day 30: I did it! 465 things have left my house in a month!

The final push:

  • 1 pen holder/desk tidy
  • 1 notelet box
  • 1 pack sequins
  • 1 lip balm
  • 1 camera case
  • 1 hair slide
  • 1 pack of cream
  • 1 window cleaner (a cloth thing not a person)
  • 1 mop
  • 1 pair of folding scissors
  • 1 towel rail
  • 1 CD
  • 1 table cloth
  • I runner
  • 1 garland
  • 1 star lampshade
  • 1 word game
  • 1 bunny pencil sharpener
  • 1 odd earring
  • about 40 badges (I know this ruins things but hey ho)


  • and 2 books about Minimalism 🙂

I still have way too many clothes, shoes and hand bags. They can be tackled next.  My kitchen is the tidiest it has ever been.

My books are accessible as are my CDs and DVDs.

The process – especially the last week – is hard but I recommend anyone give it a go.

At least 465 items have GONE from my house this month 🙂

Thanks guys….



Day 27-29 glasses, glasses everywhere!

I really didn’t think I’d get to this point. And I’ve had to cut myself some slack with being away and just being busy.  But I’m still aiming to complete by midnight tonight.  There’s only 112 things to go….

Day 27 – I got rid of 25 glasses (I was in credit 😉 ) – these were a mix of tumblers, wine glasses and (mainly) beer festival glasses.  Every time you go to a beer festival you get a glass – I’ll not tell you what the percentage of beer festival glasses was :/

Day 28

  • 1 muffin tray
  • 1 diet book
  • 1 piece of wood
  • 1 monkey cocktail decoration
  • 3 wooden spoons
  • 1 pan lid
  • 1 colander (how my kitchen still held stuff to get rid of i’ll never know….)
  • 1 piece of string
  • 1 zip pocket holder
  • 7 plastic bits off clothes horse
  • 1 eyeliner
  • 5 packs of out of date painkillers
  • 1 cD
  • 1 bag of things
  • 2 more glasses ( I decided to be more ruthless)

Day 29

1 jar of random nails and curtain hooks (contained at least 29 things)

Total 82: )

435 down, 30 to go!

Not sure what I’m doing? Check out my post about the Minimalist game.

Days 23 – 26 and I’m still a day behind…

Oh dear.  This just got way harder.

Been away for a bit and lost momentum. Hopefully back on track but I’m not sure I’ll meet today’s deadline of 27…

Anyway, last four days…

  • 11 CDs
  • 1 string of lights
  • 1 set of pearls
  • 2 Christmas snow globes
  • 1 bunny
  • 44 baubles
  • 13 glow in the dark cherubs… (yes, really)
  • 27 Beatles Monthly magazines from the late eighties

Total 100 – needed 99- I’m in credit by 2 things 🙂

353 down, 112 to go!

Not sure what I’m doing? Check out my post about the Minimalist game.

Day 18: distance decluttering from Dublin

20141116_114230Obviously I have pre-empted this declutter day as I bring it to you from a hotel room in Dublin.

My minimalism has not stretched to throwing things out of hotel rooms yet – I’m not sure how well received that would be.  The hotel room is not minimalist, in fact the décor is quite decadent. The lobby has crazy chandeliers and taxidermy… you heard correctly. Taxidermy in santa hats.

But anyway, I digress… today I got rid of:

  • 1 pair socks
  • 1 padlock (I swear they are multiplying)
  • 1 SDHC card
  • 1 toothbrush
  • 2 body buffers
  • 1 CD
  • 1 stylus
  • 4 boxes of out of date tomatoes
  • 6 out of date condiments

171 down, 294 to go!

Not sure what I’m doing? Check out my post about the Minimalist game.

Day 17: digital declutter

This is not a cheat. I repeat, this is not a cheat. Digital declutter counts.

How often have you looked at your in-box and almost cried at the amount of emails in there?

Well, today I decided I’d get my email down to a single screen worth of messages.

So, I:

  • deleted
  • moved to project folders
  • forwarded to others for action (then deleted)

Before 357

After 35




Even though this is way more than 17 things, I’m counting it as day 17…

153 down, 312 to go!

Not sure what I’m doing? Check out my post about the Minimalist game.