A House and Home promotion
We're coming into a new year, and what better time to tackle a decluttering challenge than when you're in peak 'new you' mode? We've teamed up with Organised Chaos to bring you a 31-day decluttering challenge!
Tackling your whole house in one weekend is unrealistic for most people, so break it down. We've put the most time-intensive projects on the weekends, while the weekday challenges are a little smaller and more specific to make sure they're achievable even if you're coming home from work to tackle a new project.
Clear out the things that are clogging up your home - not only will the space be clearer, but you may find it's a mental lift too. While a lot of the decluttering challenge focussed on getting rid of things, we would say that where it's possible think environmentally, so donate, give away and recycle what you can.
We're hoping everyone can join in for January, but you can pick any 31 days and challenge yourself to create space in your home. But if you're joining us, please follow along on our Instagram, where we'll be sending out reminders, Sarah will providing her expert tips to help you out, and we'll be sharing your progress. Take those before and after shots - we want to see them!
So what's the plan?
The House and Home 31 Day Decluttering Challenge
1. Get rid of out of date food and forgotten condiments
Clear out your fridge after the Christmas season. Chances are you won't use that cranberry sauce jar for another year and by then it'll be out of date so put it in the brown bin and move on. Same goes for anything else that's now out of date, whether it's leftovers lurking at the back of the fridge or party food that just never got eaten. Take a look at the condiments floating around as well - if you're over your hot sauce on everything phase, chuck it out. Those rogue sauce bottles you're not using are taking up too much space!
2. Sort through your post
Most people have a small pile of post they're meaning to get back to. Some people have a big pile, let's be real. Take an hour and sort through it all. Action whatever needs to be actioned and bin the rest - not only will this get rid of the pile off your hall table (or wherever you keep it!), but it'll take a mental load off, and tick some things off your life admin to do list, too. While you're throwing post away - recycle those takeaway menus you've left lying in a drawer. Almost all of them will have an online menu, so you don't need 'em - they were only sent to tempt you anyway!
3. Get rid of gimmicks
Yeah, that ice cream maker seemed like a great idea at the time, or those plastic egg moulds that make your eggs fry like smiley faces made for a gas gift, but unless you're using them, move them on. You don't need them lying around in your presses and drawers - the novelty has well and truly worn off.
4. Clear out one wardrobe
Weekends are for those slightly bigger decluttering tasks, like clearing out your wardrobes. Don't overwhelm yourself by tackling every wardrobe in your house in one day (unless you're feeling brave!), but pick one and get rid of those old clothes that are haunting you. Whether you've gained or lost weight, holding onto the clothes in case you change size again is no good for you. Unless you're likely to fit into them in the near future, donate what you can from your unwanted pile and make room for clothes that fit your style and shape now.
5. Sort out your Christmas decorations once and for all
Every year when you get into the attic to get your Christmas decorations out, you probably swear blind that one of these days you're going to get rid of half of them. There's only so many decorations you need, and yet every year we all seem to add another few to the collection. Before you put them away again, sort through them and keep only the pieces you love. You're curating a collection you adore this way, which will curb the temptation to stock up on another tree-ful of decorations the following year. Plus, it makes it much simpler to put them away this year, and take them out next!
6. Throw out old pens
Your house is probably chock full of pens and yet the minute you need one, you can't find one that works for love nor money. This is a task that needs only about five minutes of your time - scribble with every pen you can find in your house and just throw away the ones that don't work once and for all.
7. Empty one junk drawer
What home doesn't have a junk drawer? Or, potentially, a junk drawer in every room. You know the ones - the place you put things you're not really sure have a home. Those dodgy pens you've just gotten rid of probably filled a corner, along with rogue post its, cords, sentimental bits and bobs, you name it - sort one junk drawer out and make space for stuff that is actually useful to you.
8. Clear out books you'll never read (again)
As much as we love a full bookcase in someone's home, there really is only so many books you can keep and store. And only a certain percentage of those that you will actually read. You've definitely picked up books at the airport that you'll never look at again, or been gifted books that simply weren't your jam. Gift or donate your unwanted books so they can be enjoyed by someone else rather than lying idle on your shelf.
9. Purge your makeup drawer
We try not to think about it, but old make up is pretty gross. There is definitely tonnes of bacteria lying in wait in your old make up and skincare that's been lying unused for months or possibly even years. If you didn't love them the first few times you tried them, you probably never will so just give up the ghost and get rid. We all have our favourites and reliables and that's okay - concentrate on the products you empty every time instead.
10. Clean out your cutlery drawer
Isn't it weird how we all end up with about three teaspoons when we started out with 12? Where do they go? Probably wherever the unused bits floating around your cutlery drawer need to go. Get rid of those useless or blunt knives, dodgy can openers or gadgets you're not even sure what they're for. If your cutlery drawer is anything as full as ours, it jams every time you open it and why? You don't use half the stuff, so just keep what you need.
11. Donate gifts you didn't like or want, but couldn't return
No matter how good your friends and family are at gift giving, chances are you received a few gifts this Christmas, or over various birthdays and occasions, that you simply don't like or would never have chosen. Sometimes shops can be fussy about giving a refund if you don't have the receipt, and what do you do then? It's okay - you don't need to hold onto gifts that just aren't right for you. Do a clear out of the ones that aren't right for you, and sort them into what can be donated or gifted to someone else. They're right for someone!
12. Clean out your kitchen presses
Between chipped crockery and out of date canned foods you've long forgotten, your kitchen presses are chock full of thing you need to get rid of. Empty them one by one and figure out what you do and don't need. You'll probably be shocked at just how out of date some of the stuff in them are. Eugh!
13. Clear your wallet of unused items
Carrying around endless receipts that are long past being useful? Or loyalty cards you got when you bought one thing and that haven't seen the light of day since? Take some literal weight out of your bag and clear out your wallet. Create a digital copy of any receipts you need and bin the rest.
14. Chuck obsolete technology
Why do we keep old mobile phones that have long since worked? Same goes for old gameboys, laptops and even kitchen appliances that we simply will never - if we're honest about it! - reach for again. Find out where you can have them properly recycled and give up the ghost on them. They gave it up on you long ago!
15. Catch up day
A month of cleaning, tidying and decluttering is a long time, so take this day to catch up on those tasks that have escaped you mid-week or as a rest day reward for keeping on top of your challenges so far.
16. Sort souvenir clothes
Have you kept a souvenir t-shirt from every charity run you've ever done? Or clothes from your travels that realistically you are never going to wear, even to do the painting? Unless it's of particular sentimental value, you don't need to keep them all, especially as they just accumulate over time. Be ruthless!
17. Clear out your tupperware
If you've about 17 lunchboxes and only five of them have lids, you're not alone. We're not quite sure where all the bits go, but they do, and chances are that lidless lunchbox is no use to you anymore. AND, they take up a lot of space, to boot. Sort through and only keep tupperware you have all the pieces for.
18. Clear out your shoes
Listen, we've all bought shoes only to find out too late, after a day of walking in them, that they are simply too uncomfortable to wear. We know there's a mental block against getting rid of them - you've bought them, only worn them once or twice, and you love them so you hope someday you won't find them so bloody uncomfortable, but be real - you probably will never wear them. They might suit someone else's feet so pop them in a charity bag and free yourself from the pain of them.
19. Purge your bathroom cabinets
Old makeup and skincare, leftover medicine so old you're not even fully sure what it's for, and random odds and ends can be found lurking at the back of most bathroom cabinets so take a look at yours and get rid of anything you didn't even realise was in there.
20. Donate those extra buttons
You know those packs of buttons that come with your clothes so if one falls off, you can replace it? Have you ever done that? Chances are you haven't and your stash of spare buttons is so large, you have no idea what some of them even came off. Unless you're going to use them, or they came off a particularly special piece, send them on to a better home.
21. Sort your jewellery
Obviously if you have lovely, solid gold or jewelled pieces, you're unlikely to want to throw them away, even if you only wear them the odd time. That's okay - you can keep some pieces for precious use, assuming you adore them. However, that collection of high street jewellery that has become tarnished from lying around, or a broken necklace you keep intending to mend, or earrings that you can't find the partner of - that can all go unless it’s suitable for donation.
22. Get rid of mismatched socks
Unless you're the kind of person to wear mismatched socks, holding onto a collection of socks that don't have a partner is stashing for no good reason. We know it's a job that everyone hates, but do it once and for all, and you won't know yourself with all the space in your sock drawer! Perhaps they might make good rags for cleaning so have a think before you simply dump them.
23. Organise your cleaning supplies
You've hopefully been putting them to good use over the course of the month so maybe you have a better idea of the products that are your holy grail, and the ones you know are less than useless. Do a clear out of your cleaning supplies and get rid of anything you don't and won't use. It's no use having a spare kitchen cleaner 'just in case', if you know it won't cut through the grease anyway.
24. Go through your paperwork
Old bills, birth certs, official documents, random letters - we keep it all because it 'might' be important, but realistically only some of them are. Get yourself a specific paperwork box, and sort out what you have into what you need to keep and what's just taking up space. Some pieces will be totally out of date so there's no point in keeping them - pop them in the recycling. Sort them cleverly into your new paperwork box, and it'll make finding what you need a breeze in future.
25. Empty your underwear drawers
Listen, we all have our comfy pants and there's no shame in it! But sometimes we just end up washing and putting away those tired old underwear pieces you never wear - bras with dodgy underwire, knickers with broken elastic, and laddered tights, we're looking at you! Oh - and if you'd be embarrassed to wear them, these probably aren't ones for the charity bag, unfortunately.
26. Sort your hot press
A lot of people store their sheets and towels in their hot press, and we bet lurking at the ends of those piles are scratchy towels you can't bare to use, and bedraggled sheets that never see the light of day. See if a local animal shelter can make use of your old towels and bed linen, rather than throwing them away. If there's other clutter taking up valuable hot press room, now's the time to tackle that too.
27. Donate unused toys
Particularly after the Christmas rush, we're sure if you have kids you have an abundance of new toys knocking around the house. While they're distracted by the new ones, now is the time to offer up their old ones (that are still in good nick) to kids who are less fortunate. Look into donating them to your local children's hospital or direct provision centre, or if all else fails, they should find a good home through a charity shop.
28. Empty a second junk drawer
You can't hide from us! We know you have a second junk drawer. Take twenty minutes to tackle it - maybe focus this one on that drawer you keep all your spare wires and leads that you're not totally sure what they're for. You're not a person that has space for dodgy cables - clear them out!
29. Clear any dining room clutter
Dining rooms often end up as inconspicuous dumping grounds. Whether you end up with a pile of forgotten post on the one chair no one uses, or it's the place people end up setting down their random stuff every day, it can pile up, and the dining room is suddenly the place to look for those takeaway menus. Unless your dining room is an actual dumping ground, this hopefully won't take long, but it will make a different to how the space feels.
30. Give away old furniture
You don't need to keep old furniture knocking around your house, attic or shed. If we know anything from our Instagram community, it's that there's plenty of crafty people out there keeping an eye out for free or bargain second hand furniture they can upcycle to fit their home. Offer it up on Adverts or Done Deal or see if your local charity shop takes in pieces like yours rather than letting it go to waste. Plus, furniture is bulky. You'll appreciate the extra space.
31. Commit to staying decluttered!
You did it! Hopefully your home is looking clean and clutter free and you're ready to face into Spring with your spring-clean already done. Now, all you have to do is commit to keeping that clutter in check - trust us, it'll be much easier now you've eradicated most of the big guns from your life already.
We'll be starting on January 1st, so do join in!
About Organised Chaos
Sarah Reynold's is an organising expert and the brains behind Organised Chaos, Dublin's first professional decluttering and organising service. Sarah established the business in 2010 during a career sabbatical and has never looked back.
She's passionate about organising and trained under the personal guidance of America’s number one Professional Organiser, and regular contributor to the Oprah show, Julie Morgenstern in New York.
Over the last number of years, Sarah has been helping home owners and companies reach their full potential through effective organisation. She transforms oppressive spaces into functional, productive and stylish places to live and work. Through her passion and practical solutions, individuals move from feeling overwhelmed to calm and in control.
Sarah has written a book 'Organised - Simple Tips to Declutter your House, your Schedule and your Mind', which offered organisational guidance and inspiration to help you along the way.