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What is Decluttering?

We’ve all heard the term. We’ve all embraced the thousands of self-help books, videos, probably bought a ton of organisers in the bid to declutter. However, what exactly is decluttering?

Decluttering refers to the process of letting off items that don’t belong. Maybe they’re crowding up your room or haven’t been used since 2002; either way, decluttering means you’ll have to get rid of the items.


Decluttering can be a simple but arduous task for most of us. However, for a certain population decluttering and organising can bring intense distress. Who are we talking about? You might’ve guessed it already, hoarders.

Hoarding is a significant issue with serious consequences for a person’s mental and physical health. It isn’t just a few clothes you can’t seem to part with, although it could start that way. If it isn’t just a few unnecessary items in boxes, what is hoarding?

Hoarding is actually a disorder! It refers to when a person has significant difficulty parting with possessions. They believe that the items they are hoarding are a necessity and see no need to declutter their homes. A hoarding disorder usually requires somebody else to step in and help with the problem.

Recognising Hoarding

Whether you have a hoarding disorder or not, it is important to know the signs. A problem like hoarding can build up in you or a family member. Here are a few early signs of a hoarding problem.

Difficulty parting with possessions

We’ve all had sentimental items that we’re unable to let go of. This may be a card, a gift, maybe even a bottle cap! However, hoarders don’t just have difficulty parting with a sentimental item, but any of their possessions.

You might see outdated newspapers, trash that has accumulated, and clothes that are no longer useful. Items that one would normally discard by donating, selling, or throwing out.

Cluttered Home

All of us get a little messy at times. We may leave the laundry a few days too late and have an overflowing pile or forget to throw away that pile of papers taking up too much space. A hoarder will start to build up clutter to the point where living spaces start to become inhabitable.

If you notice walkways, bedrooms, and even bathrooms being cluttered and unable to use, then make sure you address the problem.

The trouble with organising, categorising, decisions

If you notice a distinct inability to organise, categorise, and declutter their homes, then it could be a sign of something more serious. Hoarders generally have trouble making decisions relating to their possessions and other situations.

The trouble with decisions and organisation does not mean that they had trouble once or twice. Trouble organising and making a decision will lead to a gradual increase in clutter.

Excessive Shopping

Surprisingly enough, hoarders don’t just keep possessions but add to them constantly. You’ll find that hoarder shops excessively and stores anything they buy or find. This could be a large number of clothes with their boxes as well as free samples they got for their purchases.

Not recognising the problem

A hoarder never acknowledges or sees the problem. They do not recognise the seriousness of the issue even after it has gotten out of hand. There can be items all through their house making it uninhabitable, and they will still not acknowledge their problem.

Tips To Declutter

Whether or not you’re a hoarder, everybody needs some tips on how to declutter. So, even if you’re a working professional with no time, here are a few tips to declutter your home!

  • Take it Slow

Decluttering your home does not have to happen overnight or even over two nights. It is a slow process that can take a few days, but make sure to take it slow. If you rush the process, you can get fed up and quit halfway through.

Start with the areas of the house you actively use. Areas such as walkways, bedrooms, the kitchen, and bathrooms are a good place to start. You can begin by making space to move comfortably and then proceed to declutter the rest of the space.

Once you have space to move around, you can move on to papers, clothes, and other items. If you start decluttering by category, the process won’t be as distressing or time-consuming.

  • Declutter ‘Spark Joy’ Items

The KonMari method will tell you to categorise your items into those that ‘spark joy’ and those that do not. This means those sentimental items you’re keeping need to be sorted into a different pile.

Even among the sentimental items, you need to be practical and declutter those that are simply taking up space. Split up your ‘Spark Joy’ items and split them into three categories – sentimental, instrumental, and intrinsic.

Take a look at each section and assess the items based on their usefulness. If they are ‘useful’ because they are pretty, then they are not actually useful. If the ‘usefulness’ like that of an empty toilet roll has to do with possible use, then it needs to go.

  • Leave The Past Behind

Keeping mementos is a great way of keeping the memory of a moment alive. Be it a photograph, souvenir, or small item, looking at the mementos can instantly remind you of happier times.

These signs of a happier time are important; they become useless and need decluttering when you can’t remember the memory behind them. A champagne cork without an attached memory is one that needs to be discarded!

  • 12-month Rule

The 12-month rule is particularly useful for decluttering clothes. According to the rule, if you haven’t used, seen, or thought about the item for 12 months, then it has to go. This applies to those pants you bought four years ago and the seven mixing bowls in your kitchen.

The thought is that if you have managed to live without the item for a whole year, then the chances are that you can survive the rest of your life. It is easy to get caught up in saying that you’ll use the item in the future, so make sure to declutter.

  • Stop Buying More!

We cannot stress this rule enough. Seven mixing bowls are excessive; you do not require another. The more you buy, the more clutter will form in your household. It puts an added responsibility on you and just adds to a problem.

Speaking of adding to problems, excessive shopping also doesn’t help the environment. In a time where global warming needs to be taken seriously, excessive shopping can only worsen the problem. Make sure to only buy what you require, and if you’re having trouble differentiating between needs and wants, then approach a family or friend to help you out.

Benefits of Decluttering

Decluttering your home isn’t just a way to get a picture-perfect house. A decluttered space has more benefits than you realise. Here are a few of the benefits of decluttering.

Clean Space; Clean Mind

A chaotic space is reflective of a chaotic mind. Cleaning up the environment you are in can help you clear up your mind. There is a reason those organisation videos are so fun to watch!

Health and Hygiene

Living in a crowded and cluttered space can have negative impacts on both your mental health and physical health. A cluttered environment is proven to worsen depression, anxiety, and stress as well as harbouring a lot of dust.

However, clean you believe you are being, there is no way that you manage to clean every object in your home. Dust and dirt trigger allergies, and worse. When you declutter, you literally purify the air!


When you declutter your space, you declutter your mind. The process is long and arduous, but taking it one step at a time will help and allow you to get the peace you deserve. Just make sure that all the items you set aside during the process of decluttering your home gets recycled, donated, or sold and not pushed to another corner!


Organising and decluttering has become a bit of a phenomenon these days. From Marie Kondo to Pinterest posts, everyone is jumping on to the decluttering bandwagon. There are numerous posts, articles, videos, and television shows surrounding the topic!

The appeal is understandable. Watching someone clean space or organise a drawer is immensely satisfying. Better yet, having a clean and organised space can do wonders for us! Starting on decluttering, however, is a different ball game.

So, how can you declutter your home without any hassles? There are multiple ways in which you declutter your house and live a healthy life. The first step should be finding the reason for all the mess. Once you have a clear idea about the issue, make sure you do not rush through the process of decluttering. Take it slow but do it properly.