How to start decluttering

It seems everyone is decluttering these days, or wants to. But how do you actually go about it? Flow’s creative director, Astrid, offers some good tips for getting rid of all the stuff you just don’t need anymore.

Don’t let things gather dust

Many people don’t tidy up, they just rearrange. Moving stuff around – rearranging – is strictly prohibited. Tidying up means finishing up and putting everything back in its proper place. That’s either on the shelf or in the cupboard where it belongs, or in the trash. There is no place for stuff to lie around gathering dust in between those spaces.

Repeat after me

One sentence can really help when you do a cleanup. You can repeat it endlessly with all the things in the house: Will this [object] make someone else happier than it makes me now? Would it make your neighbour, your cousin or a colleague happier? Would any one of them be far, far happier with your old typewriter, your leather jacket or your wooden stool than you are now? If yes, give it away. If no, you can keep it.

Make it a game

The Minimalism Game is a project where you throw something out every day for a month, each day a little bit more stuff. One thing on Day 1, two on Day 2, and so on, every day. After 30 days, you will have a total of 465 objects from the house.

Text Astrid van der Hulst  Photography Anna Sullivan/