Clearing clutter

Advice for organising yourself before you move

When moving from one house to another, and especially if you are downsizing or haven’t moved in a while, you will no doubt discover that you have more possessions than you originally thought.  For many, sorting out the accumulated chattels in the cupboards and emptying out years of life can be similar to opening Pandora’s box.

For some the accumulation becomes more than just a hobby, it becomes an addiction.  Of course clearing clutter is a lot easier said than done. We can rationalise that we do not have enough time to get organised or maybe there will be a use for that item somewhere down the track.

We have put together some suggestions on how to clear clutter to help make your decisions just a little bit easier.  


  1. Devote 30 minutes every day to sort through your cupboards and wardrobes. This will alleviate having to worry about starting a job you will never finish. Approaching it in in little pieces is far less daunting!


  1. Question your reasoning when keeping an item. Ask yourself “Am I keeping this item because it makes me happy or because I think I should keep it?” If it’s the latter, either throw it away or place in a box to give to charity.


  1. Divide and conquer. If you are still undecided with some items, place them in a ‘ might use’ box and place it out of sight for a month. If over the course of that month you find you don’t need to retrieve it from the box, it is probably not essential enough to keep.


  1. Remember your memories are not just in physical objects — they are in your mind. It is hard to give away items with sentimental attachments, like your great-grandmother’s dinner set, but it doesn’t mean you are thinking any less about your grandparents. Is there a family member who would love to know the story and would gratefully accept a piece of family history.


  1. Discard old magazines and newspapers. If you have not already read them, you probably won’t. If you have read them already, you will be unlikely to browse them again. Instead keep a folder of favourite clippings or better yet, scan them and make a digital copy.


  1. Refresh your wardrobe. Try this trick: At the beginning of a new season, turn all the hangers so they face one direction. After you wear an item, turn its hanger around to face the other direction. Once the season is over, keep only the clothes on the hangers that have been used recently.


  1. Try selling your good used items. Selling on eBay or Gumtree is a great alternative to just discarding items you don’t use anymore. Tools, appliances, clothes and furniture are just some things that can be sold. You could be surprised at what a tidy profit you can turn.  If online isn’t your strength, then grab  a friend or family member to help out or better still have a good old fashioned garage sale. 


I recently spent a full weekend with my cousins at my Grandmothers’ house.  She is getting better a decluttering these days since she has moved into her 2 bedroom apartment however she has a lot of memories that she didn’t know what to do with.  All the family photos, the newspaper clippings of the grandkids, the school photos of each of her own children, her 10 grandchildren and now her great grandchildren.

So we made a weekend of it!  We took the laptop and the scanner and we sat and talked and wrote down who was in the photos, scanned them all, divided into family ‘piles’ and at the end of the weekend we had not only managed to reduce the amount of clutter and ‘paper’ but also record a whole lot of family history.  We are now creating a photo book and having multiple copies printed so that all the cousins can have the memories.

Decluttering can be both emotional and therapeutic! Make an event out of it and ask for help if it seems overwhelming. On to the next adventure – seize your Kairos moment.


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