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Decluttering Done Right: 5 Steps to Clearing Out Excess 'Stuff'

Merely hearing the word “declutter” can evoke feelings of anxiety in the most seasoned organisers and proud housekeepers. Yes, even your friend with the spectacularly immaculate home that always smells of apples or ocean breeze can feel daunted by the prospect of going through their cupboards, storage spaces and rooms to ensure they’re not holding onto anything they shouldn’t.

We’ve all seen those TV shows, where family, friends and experts come together to help someone make their cluttered, rundown home liveable. For some people, this is reality – and the issue of hoarding can stem from other significant mental health issues. However, for most of us, there is a part of our home (maybe a couple of parts?) that needs a good clear out to lighten the load to help make life a little bit more enjoyable.

But where do you start?

1. Focus on one small area at a time

Break the areas you need to focus on down into small chunks that you know you can complete in one session. You might start with a wardrobe, the under stair storage space or a section of the garage, but the key is to avoid biting off more than you can chew – or you’ll end up disappointed and frustrated.

2. Plan and allocate time

Before lifting a finger, make sure you’re clear on what you’re trying to achieve. Plan where and what you need to sort or clear out. Whilst you’re going through ‘stuff’ consider whether you intend to clean and dust surfaces as well, or are you happy to declutter the space and let the cleaning wait until your spring clean?

The easiest way to plan and allocate your time to the jobs that need doing is to write a list or create a spreadsheet of every area that needs decluttering then, if necessary break down each room or space into sections, then allocate time to each area.

3. Know what you want to keep and, importantly, what you don’t want or need

As part of your planning process, it can help significantly to create categories for the types of things you want to get rid of and keep. Having criteria to determine what (and what not) to keep can be a great help. For example:

· If you haven’t used it for 12 months – get rid of it

· If it’s broken and you haven’t got around to fixing it – dispose of it

· If it doesn’t fit – pass it on

· If you’ve already read it or used it – it’s time to pass it on or get rid of it

The list is endless, but being clear on what you’re trying to achieve will help make your job much easier than going in blind!

4. Categorise the disposal piles

We all care about the environment, so it makes enormous sense to reduce the amount of stuff we send to landfill. If you envisage having a lot of ‘stuff’ to get rid of, it’s essential to work out exactly how you’re going to get rid of it. Creating 2 or 3, or even 4 categories for disposal is super helpful when it comes to being clear about the types of junk you have, and you’ll feel good about reducing the amount you send to the tip. Categories for sorting can include:

· Donate – sort donations into categories, and make sure you take them to the collection points as soon as you can

· Hand on or give away on your community Facebook page – this could be functional items such as kitchenware or furniture that still have lots of life left in them and could help your children, grandkids, a friend or someone else who lives nearby

· Sell – one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. If you have the time to list on eBay, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace or a specialist auction site, this is a great way to move items on and make a little bit of spare cash. But set yourself time limits on moving these items on – there’s no point decluttering if you’re just going to shove these items back into a cupboard because you don’t have time to list them for sale

· Send to the auction house – this one is a pearler! There are auction houses all over Australia that take consignments, list them, sell them, then hand you the proceeds – less their fee. It’s a fantastic way to make some cash without having to do all the hard work, and without having to deal with buyers who may or may not turn up, and try to undercut you on pick up. Sending items to auction is a fabulous option if you have many items, and if you’re happy to take whatever comes in terms of sale price. A word of warning though, auction houses can be quite picky about what they accept – but a quick Google search and phone call can give you some insight into what they will and won’t sell for you

· Recycle – plastic, timber, metal, white goods, green waste, e-waste – the list goes on.

· Rubbish – broken, unusable, doesn’t work, needs to be chucked out

· Crackers Clearout – when you don’t have the time or inclination to sort and dispose of unwanted items, Crackers Clearout offers Sydney’s premier rubbish and junk removal service. We come to your home, sort the items for disposal, and take them away. We charge a per-job rate which is inclusive of tipping and recycling fees. Our philosophy is to reuse, recycle and repurpose as much as we can to reduce the amount we send to landfill.

5. THE GOLDEN RULE: Action the disposal piles

The whole decluttering process has the potential to come tumbling down spectacularly if you don’t take the critical step of actioning the disposal piles you’ve painstakingly sorted.

To start with, if you intend to keep an item, make sure you put it in it’s correct “home” as soon as you can. Likewise, if you want to keep something but it needs repairing or a new battery or a good clean, make sure you allocate the time to fix it up and put it away as soon as you’ve completed the decluttering process.

Getting rid of the items that were cluttering up your space and stressing you out is critical to the decluttering process. There is no point spending the time planning, sorting and categorising your unwanted stuff if you’re going to put it all in bags to store in your garage or, worse, next to the front door to get rid of “when you have time”. Moving the items on is just as important as the act of actually decluttering a space.

To discuss your junk and rubbish removal requirements, call Crackers Clearout today – 1300 257 688.

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