33 decluttering tips from a professional organiser

Decluttering the kitchen, living room and bedroom can feel like mammoth tasks, but if you break it down, room by room, it feels much more manageable.

To help you know where to start, we've put together a simple guide to each room in the house, offering clear decluttering advice and a check list you can tick off.

We also spoke to professional organiser Vicky Silverthorn who offers her top decluttering tips to help you to get to grips with the chaos, and create a clear and calm living space.

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First steps

Before you begin finding all your things neat new places to be stored, Vicky recommends getting a charity bag and making some sensible clear out choices.

"Walk around each room of your home with your new eyes on. I bet you can easily fill a bag. Make it your mission to fill at least one bag during a sweep of your home," she says.

The decluttering expert also explains that it's important not to move onto tasks in a new room until you've finished the one you started.

"Be systematic. Work from room to room, one room at a time," says Vicky. "That’s the key,"

7 decluttering jobs for your kitchen

  1. Go through your cupboards and throw out any food past its expiry date.

  2. Safely dispose of outdated medicines.

  3. Get rid of unused gadgets. Most charity shops are delighted to take electrical items but do check first.

  4. Cut out favourite recipes and store in plastic pockets.

  5. Banish plastic bags – reusable bags will save you money and space, and are much greener.

  6. Stock-take your freezer – and discard anything that’s been in there for more than three months.

  7. Consolidate! Group lightbulbs, batteries and bin bags together so you know where to find them and when to buy more.

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5 decluttering tips for your living area

  1. If you have children, teach them to put toys away at the end of the day. Consider repurposing existing furniture, such as sideboard cupboards, to store them. Otherwise, have a look at stylish storage baskets with lids, which can hide messy toys away.

  2. Research multi-use furniture such as an ottoman which doubles as a fold out mattress or a footstool which contains storage space.

  3. Keep surfaces as clear as possible so cleaning is quick, straight-forward and more likely to get done.

  4. Avoid keeping to-do or action piles in your living space, such as piles of receipts or work laptops. Keep the living room as a space for relaxation.

  5. A tray is a great way to give miscellaneous items like remote controls and glasses a neat home.

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7 decluttering tips for the bedroom

  1. Put out-of-season clothing into storage boxes or bags.

  2. If it doesn’t fit or you haven’t worn it in a year, give it away!

  3. Organise jewellery in a compartmentalised box or on a jewellery tree.

  4. Invest in some attractive baskets for storage.

  5. Divide and conquer with drawer compartments.

  6. Underbed storage is great for stashing out-of-season clothes. "I keep my holiday clothes in a separate drawer, ready to pack when needed," says Vicky.

  7. Use skinny hangers to gain extra space in your bedroom wardrobe and hallway coat cupboard.

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2 decluttering tips for your paperwork

  1. Make Post-it Notes a thing of the past by going digital. Whether it’s a web link, a screen shot, a photo or simply a note to self, use Evernote to store it all in one place. Simply download the app for free from your app store on to your phone, tablet or computer and create an account.

  2. Leave files behind and access documents wherever you are with Google Docs – a free word processing app. As documents are stored in Google Drive – a free online storage area – you can access them from any device that has the Google Docs app downloaded on to it. All you need is a Gmail account to get started.

Vicky says:
• Piles of stuff are the enemy! Try not to let them get started but if they do develop, grit your teeth and sort them out – 10 minutes and it will be done.

7 decluttering jobs for right now

  1. Write down your goals: why do you want to get organised? What do you want to accomplish?

  2. Decide where your clutter is going to go. Charity shop? Recycling? Tip?

  3. Ask a friend to help – it’s easier to be objective about someone else’s things.

  4. Don’t buy organising supplies – this is just another word for more clutter.

  5. Take 'before' pictures of each room and work out what needs to be cleared.

  6. Switch to paperless post where possible and opt to receive bank statements electronically.

  7. Tell yourself, if you don’t love, wear or use it, it’s out.

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4 ways to keep up the good work

  1. Schedule a time each day for a routine tidy to your home to clear surfaces and floors.

  2. Be wary of the sales – clutter often comes with a reduced price tag.

  3. Keep a donation basket handy for unwanted items.

  4. Use the weekend to get organised for the week ahead: clear out and stock the fridge, wash bedlinen, plan meals so you’re not buying food daily.

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