We know it can be sad to say goodbye to sunshine, but autumn brings with it a lot to love: fresh leaves crunching on the ground, moody overcast days perfect for mugs of hot tea and chocolate, the soothing patter of light showers, splashing about in puddles in your wellies… Still. If you’re a sunbathing fanatic, you might feel yourself coming down with a case of the post-summer blues.
We think that one of the best ways to combat those blues is to do an autumn tidy-up. Decluttering your home just before the colder months can help keep you busy on rainy days and beat that seasonal sadness. Here’s a list of our top ten decluttering tips.
Make sure to assign a purpose to everything, and give it a “home”, this is often the first step in any decluttering process. Once every type of object has a place that it should be, you take out the most stressful, frequent part of the decision-making that goes into tidying a home. Plus, once you’ve used those items in the future, you can put them back in their “home” to avoid things piling up. It could even save you money, as you’re less likely to buy something you already own, but have misplaced.
If you try to clean your entire home at once, you’re far less likely to start, let alone finish. Set a specific band of time, be it 30 minutes or 2 hours, then commit to decluttering that much every day. Any big job is far easier once it’s broken down into bite-sized chunks.
If setting a routine isn’t doing enough for you, consider gamifying your decluttering. In 2020, the 12-12-12 method picked up steam, and we still think it’s a great way to get going on what can be an otherwise boring task. The idea is to, as quickly as you can, find 12 items to donate, 12 to throw away and 12 to be returned to their proper home. Alternatively, if you’re living with your partner, you can make a fun competition out of it.
If you find something that belongs in another room while decluttering, don’t leave the room to sort it. Doing this uses more energy and stops you from staying focused. Instead, bring a box with you into the room, and put things that belong elsewhere inside. Come back to that box once you’ve finished with the room you’re in, and you’ll save on back-and-forth trips to other rooms as well as energy.
Recommended by spruce.com and many others, the four-box method helps you categorise your decluttering, so you don’t spend all that mental focus on decision-making. The four boxes are ‘trash’ (you can add a fifth recycling box, if you like), ‘donate/sell’, ‘storage’ (things you need, but not often) and ‘put away’ (things you need often). This way, your tidying will have structure to it: simply put things in their right boxes, then rehome them afterward.
If your surfaces are cluttered, it can really drag down your mental state, and make it hard to address the wider tidying problems in your home. This makes your surfaces a great place to start in any room, letting you get a clear head before you move onto the rest of your tasks.
Clutter might be a symptom of poor storage solutions. You may be well-served by a rack to hang up those cabinet-crowding pots, or a fashionable wicker basket to put those folded sheets into. Just make sure you’re not creating more clutter by buying boxes and items you’ll barely use.
Is the outside of your home affecting how you treat the inside? Make sure not to neglect your garden and curb appeal, as they might be contributing to the mental cobwebs. Sweep for leaves, pull up weeds, and make sure to clear up debris like dead twigs. We recommend putting a groundsheet in the centre of your lawn to sweep or blow debris into, letting you wrap your mess up and transport it easily.
We just couldn’t talk about tidying without recommending Marie’s method. Famous for a reason, the KonMari method focuses on tidying by category, rather than location (we know we’re contradicting point 4, but there’s more than one way to bake a cake!) This joy-centred approach helps to tidy your home, but it also gives you a mindful appreciation for the objects in your life.
There’s nothing wrong with needing a little help. With the pandemic starting to drift behind us, many of us might be struggling to make sense of our interior lives after a period of upheaval. Hiring a professional organiser gives you that extra bit of motivational, emotional and logical support. It also helps to have an extra set of hands, which always makes the tidying go quicker.
Regardless of the time of year, we think that seasonal shifts are the best time to get kick-started on cleaning your home.
But if a declutter isn’t enough of a change for you, you might consider a move to one of our beautiful, high-specification homes, which you can browse here. If you’d love to shake things up with interior design, we also share our favourite inspirations all the time on Instagram – come and join our community.