Start decluttering: 12 tips

Decluttering: how do you get started and what are its benefits? Here’s 12 tips, including ideas from decluttering guru Marie Kondo.

  1. Know what you have in your home. It’s useful if you can see that at a glance. Therefore, throw away packaging as much as possible.
  2. When you declutter, first empty a cupboard or space completely. Choosing what to get rid of becomes easier when you let everything pass through your hands.
  3. Go through your pantry every now and then and throw out any expired food.
  4. Often you have a tendency to clean up per room, but according to Kondo it’s much easier to make things shipshape per category. For example: by first tackling all your books, even if you have bookcases in different rooms.
  5. When tidying up, we are used to asking ourselves ‘Is it practical? Can I still use it? Is it valuable?’ about everything we come across. Kondo tackles it differently. She says we should ask ourselves, ‘Does it spark joy?’ when looking at each object. If not, you can throw it away and rest assured you won’t miss it any time soon.
  6. Not every object in the house is meant to be just ‘handy’ or ‘useful’. Sometimes it only has emotional value. Kondo suggests displaying these valuables somewhere in the house and not hiding them away in a drawer. Which means you can keep your children’s drawings and the birthday card with that beautiful message in it.
  7. Letting go is perhaps the hardest part of tidying up or decluttering. Particularly when it comes to items with a sentimental value. Kondo has a tip: recognize the memory of the object and the pleasure you experienced from it and say ‘thank you’ before you throw it away.
  8. Take the things you want to get rid of out of the house immediately. Otherwise you’ll be tempted to go through them again.
  9. Small items are best kept in transparent bags with a label stating what is inside.
  10. Store everything by type, even small things like plugs (for example in a box).
  11. If your closet or drawer is so full of clothing that you no longer see what you have, then fold/roll your clothes as small as possible and place them upright next to each other. According to Kondo, this has two additional advantages: rolls take up less space than a stack and your clothes don’t crease as much.
  12. Use the same type (and color) hangers, so your clothes hang clearly in a row.

Compilation Caroline Buijs  Translation Julia Gorodecky  Photography Patrick Perkins/