Clearing the clutter: how to dejunk your home

Is your home beginning to resemble an episode of 'Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder'? One of the best ways to free up space in your home is to get rid of things that you don't really need. Whether you're moving house or just looking to find ways to free up some space, we're going to outline some key ways to help tackle the clutter. We suggest that you work on a room by room basis when you begin tackling your junk. Not only is this, in our opinion, the best way to get the job done, but it can also be rewarding for you in other ways, as we will explain.

What are the benefits of de-cluttering?

Let's start by outlining a few of the reasons that you should spend your precious free time going through your possessions.

Finding long forgotten useful items

While it's true that we accumulate lots of items that we don't need over the years which we can get rid of, we also purchase lots of things that we do need, but we had forgotten that we even owned. Decluttering effectively allows us to see what we do and don't have around our home and to make the best use of the items that we have and want to keep. For example, you might find a pair of old football boots that happen to be the right size for your son who starts secondary school this year, or you might find an old phone charger amongst all those cables – handy when you leave yours behind at work. Meticulously going through all your belongings can help to unearth some gems that you had forgotten about and could save you money down the line.

Making money from unwanted items

Of course, the key benefit of decluttering is that it allows us to get rid of the items we don't want, making the house look tidier and freeing up space in the process. Not only can you save spending more money by giving your home an audit, but you can also earn some cash from the belongings that you don't need. Once you've gathered up all the items in your home that you don't have space for or rarely use anymore then you should go through them and see if there are any items which might be worth selling.

To do this simply write a list of all the items that you are considering trashing, or just ones that you have a gut feeling might be worth something. Have a look on sites like eBay and Pre-Loved to see if anyone else is selling those items and to get an idea of whether it's worth your time listing them online. You might be surprised at the value of some items. For example, many items from bygone eras such as vinyl records, turntables, video game consoles and Polaroid cameras have all seen a surge of interest of late and could turn you a very healthy profit.

The same can be said for clothes, and websites like ASOS Marketplace, eBay and Etsy all allow users to auction off their vintage clothing, as well as any recent purchases that didn't quite fit or didn't make it into your usual rotation of outfits.

Depending on what the item is you're looking to offload you might be able to find speciality traders or websites by doing a quick search on Google. For example, there are many online traders who will purchase old mobile phones from you, sending you a pre-paid envelope for you to dispatch it in. For larger items such as furniture, websites like eBay are usually your best bet as you can arrange local collection and buyers can look for items within their area, saving on costly couriers who will charge to collect and deliver the item. Alternatively you could take them to be sold at a nearby auction house, as these are often popular places for people looking to buy second-hand furniture.

Of course not all the clutter that you accumulate over the years is going to be a cash cow but fear not as there are still ways you can recoup some money. Think about hosting an American style 'yard sale' or hiring a plot at a car-boot sale. Here you can take offers for your items and practise your bartering skills with buyers.

Helping other people who might need your "clutter"

Of course not everything you find is going to be worth any money and if you get nowhere trying to sell items online or at the car-boot then there are still a few ways to avoid sending them to the landfill. Charity shops are always on the lookout for donations and many supermarkets have an area with recycling bins for old clothes. Increasingly many 'Freecycle' groups are being set up where people in local communities will list items on Facebook groups that they are giving away for free – try searching for one in your area, just try not to be tempted into taking home more clutter!

Room by room

Now that you see the hidden potential for all the clutter in your home we come to the hard part – deciding what to get rid of. The best way to get started is to grab a notepad and do an audit of each room in your home. Make a thorough to-do-list and note down every cupboard, shelf, box and pile that needs to be tackled. Not only will this keep you on track but it will also help to motivate you as you look back at it and see how much progress you are making as you go along.

Before you get started have a think about any equipment that you might need such as bin bags, plastic tubs and rubber gloves – maybe even a skip if you are having an exhaustive clear out.

Garages and sheds

We often have high hopes for garages, sheds and attics - dreams of converted offices, 'man-caves' and mini-workshops. Unfortunately though, more often than not they end up as an "Aladdin's cave" of discarded junk.

First of all you should try and tackle these rooms on a sunny day, allowing you to use the garden or driveway as a clearing space where you can sort through items and decide what you want to keep, what can be sold and what needs to be discarded.

Garages and sheds can be great for storing important items that you don't need all year long such as camping supplies and Christmas decorations, but they shouldn't inhibit you from using the space for other activities such as DIY, office space or room for parking your car. Using some of the vertical space available to you can maximise the potential of your garage or shed, so clear out everything you can and get some shelves installed.


The kitchen is the beating heart of most homes. Not only is it a space to cook our meals but it is also a common gathering space for the family. This means it often becomes a space full of clutter, much to the annoyance of whoever is the designated chef!

To achieve a clutter-free kitchen you should begin by aiming to remove any items that could be re-homed elsewhere in the house. For example, books and newspapers which could go in the living room or gadgets like soda-streams, chocolate fountains and juicers that never made their way out of the box. It's also worth gathering up any non-kitchen related clutter like letters from doctors and schools and placing them on the fridge with magnets or on a corkboard on the wall.

Next, think about how you store your items. If you're struggling to close the cupboards due to all the cookware then think about installing a hanging ceiling rack or a wall rack. Even better, do an audit of all your drawers and get rid of any kitchen utensils that aren't up to scratch. After all, a spacious and well-organised kitchen makes for a happy chef.


Although for many of us it rarely happens, the feeling of a tidy and neat bedroom can be a great comfort and no matter how uncommon that feeling might be, it is easily achievable if you have a real sort out of your room and look at ways that you can re-organise it to avoid further cluttering.

One of the biggest offenders in the bedroom is the clothes cupboard where all our clothes and shoes end up. Start by looking for items which are broken beyond repair and items that you haven't worn in the past year and try to be honest about the chances of them making it out the cupboard again.

After you have sorted out your clothes and shoes and decided what you're keeping and what you're parting ways with, you might want to look at how efficient your storage is. For example, could you fit another hanging rail, shelf or row or a shoe rack on the inside of the cupboard door? Websites like Pinterest can provide great inspiration, and might give you a sneaky way to squeeze in an extra pair of shoes.

Living room

Like the kitchen, the living room is another important family space and one which can quickly become congested with clutter. To create a more organised living room try grouping together similar items. Utilising a cupboard for your TV, DVD player, and other entertainment goods can free up some space and make your room look more spacious. Bookcases for your books and DVD's and a coffee table that has some clever storage can also help.


We all like to have a bathroom that is tidy and clean but it can be hard to maintain, especially with larger families. Storage boxes and medicine cabinets can be a good way to hide away your grooming products but you should try and make a habit of giving them a regular clear out. Half empty bottles of conditioner and tubes of toothpaste are common culprits for hanging around just a little too long, so next time you go shopping pick up a larger bottle which will last you a bit longer and mean you won't get through so many empty bottles.

Odds and ends

It's likely that you'll discover lots of items during your clutter-audit that you might be a little reserved about getting rid of. Sentimental items such as your children's drawings, old photographs, items of clothing that you really love but just can't fit into anymore are just a few of the belongings that you might struggle to part with. The key with these types of items is to be creative; you could make a scrap-book of memories or even just take photographs of these types of items and store them online; ask yourself how likely it is that you'll use the item again before you make your decision.

The next steps...

At the end of your decluttering journey take a look at your to-do-list that you began with and see how far you've got, also keep a note of the amount of money that you've raised if you've decided to sell any of the items as this can all prove to be a great motivator should you have a feeling it might be time for another round of decluttering, a few months down the line.

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