Written by Roberta Striga : Photographs by Drazen

It is no secret we live in a consumer society, constantly accumulating stuff. Clothes, shoes, books, old records, skincare, electronic doodahs, and let’s not forget the detritus of life – bills, take-out menus, pens, computer cables – sometimes it feels like this stuff breeds overnight (gremlins come to mind). You might not enjoy housework, but a good clear-out is good for the soul, it can feel so liberating to let stuff go.

LOOK – Take a long hard look around your home, one room at a time. The situation may not be as bad as you originally thought, all your home may need is a minor de clutter and a good clean. Or maybe the clutter has completely gotten out of hand, honesty is really important at this initial stage otherwise it simply won’t work.

PRIORITISE – Once you have identified the problem areas in your home, it is time to prioritize. There is no right or wrong way to go about it, you may want to start with the most problematic room/area and get that sorted. One good tip is to start small to get a sense of accomplishment early in the process, this will give you the impetus you need to keep going (hey, no judgement here, instant gratification has its merits).

PREPARE YOUR SUPPLIES – Think about what you might need once you get started with the de cluttering. Garbage bags are an absolute must, opt for multi-coloured ones if you need to recycle. Cardboard boxes might come in handy if you have heavier items you would like to donate (books and household appliances come to mind). Labels will add the final touch of organisation you need.

GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT – Will you have any chemicals or hazardous waste that needs to be disposed of? Likewise, are there any bulky items that are not suitable for donation? Other recyclables like batteries, ink cartridges etc? You can arrange for a collection crew to come and collect your unwanted items. You will have to check with your local council to see how to arrange a pick-up and which item can be collected. If you are thinking of donating certain items to charity, give your favorite charity, a call. The British Heart Foundation are a fantastic charity that collect items for re use.

TRY NOT TO GET OVERWHELMED – Easier said than done, for sure! There will come a moment, several even, where you will realize, while yes, you have done loads, you are still nowhere near where you thought you would be. We all deal with this realisation differently, hysterical laughter, tears more laughter! At the risk of sounding all new age-y, it can help to just take a deep breath in and let it out, acknowledge the emotion and let it pass. A great tip is to set a timer for 30-45 minutes and just power through, you will be amazed how much you can accomplish.