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The spring cleaning season is upon us and one of the most common questions I am asked as a Professional Organiser by my clients is ‘how much can I keep?’

So, here are some of my professional recommendations of how much is enough in those regular clutter containers – the linen press, kitchen, wardrobe and office. Having some guidelines may help you to be more motivated as you undertake the task of a good Spring declutter in your home.

Linen Press

Personally, I think 2 towels per person is enough, one that you are using and the other that is either in the wash or in the linen cupboard. Of course, different households have different systems and maybe you need 3 because you don’t get the laundry done as frequently due to work commitments, etc. This rule also applies for beach towels, if anything I’m more strict on this as these are not used as frequently.

About 3 sets of linen per bed, one for winter, one for summer and one mid season is enough. If you have more storage space for linen you can be more generous on this rule, but most households I visit usually have the linen cupboard bulging with mismatched, thread bare sheets, fraying towels and the like. Use this time to also discard those sheets that you hate for their garish colour or scruffy feel, donate them to your local animal charity and use only linen that makes you feel happy. Our sleep time is sacred.

Kitchen

The general rule of decluttering is, if you haven’t used it for a year, you should let it go.

We often keep things in our kitchens that were given to us as wedding presents. We know we won’t use them but feel obligated to keep them because they were a gift. I give you permission now to let it go. That friend or family member probably doesn’t even remember what they gave you or care whether you have used it. The other trap we fall into with our kitchenware is keeping things for the promise of how healthy we will cook, how gourmet we hope to be.

If you haven’t used the juicer, bread maker, pasta machine, slow cooker, pressure cooker, fondue set or bullet-smoothie-all-in-one-with-free-steak-knives machine for a while, you probably won’t. Don’t get mad at your purchase, learn from it and be more mindful and less impulsive next time you buy a kitchen gadget.

Generally, I have enough place settings for my family x 2, that’s enough to fill my dishwasher and put it on every second day. It also is the maximum number I could fit at my table for a nice dinner, any more than that and we are using plastic plates.

Every home runs differently but the point is to think, what do we use? How often? What capacity can we fit in our space?

Wardrobe:

Like other areas of your home, your wardrobe space has limits. If you try to shove too much in, you can’t find anything, your clothes will be all creased and getting ready in the morning will be a stressful event. Have fun but be ruthless, start with chucking out anything that doesn’t fit. Keep one or two goal clothes if you must, but stop hanging on to clothes that make you feel bad.

Be happy with where you are and dress for that person now.

Get rid of anything you haven’t worn in a year – your style, lifestyle, tastes have changed and that’s okay. If these clothes are in good condition, donate them to charity or sell them online or at a consignment store. Let someone else get joy from your clothes that no longer give you joy.

Paperwork:

The times are changing and the need to keep a paper copy of every bill and receipt is no more. Get digital with your bills, scan your receipts before they fade, keep PDF versions of manuals. Have a cull and declutter your filing drawers, desk and more – get rid of old instruction manuals, bills older than a year, payslips, old tax stuff, random recipes, etc.

Almost every home I visit, we start in one of these spaces as they seem to attract excess – we use them every day, yet just close the doors rather than deal with the issues. Make this Spring the time to clear out the clutter and take stock of what you have accumulated. Have a purge and then be proud of what’s behind those closed doors. Enjoy your things rather than be burdened by them. If you need further help perhaps hire a Professional Organiser.

Know that we are not here to judge but to help you live your best life.

Visit AAPO.org.au to find your local PO.

Are you decluttering this year? Do you have any other tips? Share them below.

Image: depositphotos

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  • I had the author of this article come to my house to help with a declutter! She was so good. Not only did we actually get in there and donate bags to charity, she spoke to me with lots of tips and suggestions.

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  • I hope to, yes. Thanks for the reminder.

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  • I am decluttering, slowly. I need the time to do it, and will probably use the holiday period over Christmas/New Year to really get into it.

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  • I’m moving next week, so yes I’m finally decluttering ;)

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  • I can be ruthless in every part of the house except my wardrobe – I just never seem to get round to doing it.

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  • Something I missed that is very important. do NOT throw away receipts for items you could need to lodge an insurance claim for it stolen or damaged. You need proof of purchase…or if still under warranty you will need proof of purchase to request repair, exchange or refund.

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  • The clothes in the picture above were hung properly more would easily fit on there. Commonsense says you do the washing when you have a full load, not just one or two days worth. If you work you need clothes for more clothes for different types of weather and it also depends on the type of work you do.
    Re raggy stuff if you know a trademan who uses rag for various aspects of his trade, if the fabric is cotton he may be desperate for some to use – amy even be buying bags of cotton rag on occasions. Most synthetic fabrics do not absorb moisture. If the person is involved in any type of mechanical work, they often use cotton rag to wipe parts, tools etc clean. Some parts are cleaned with kerosene and have to be wiped clean in the processed then dried with rag. Any substance with any type of oil will often smear and not clean off properly. If a vehicle drips oil on cement or pavers, you can remove it rubbing hard with cotton rag and turps. The sooner you can do it the easier it is to remove. if it is in a sunny spot you may need to do it 2 or 3 times. Cotton fabric is absorbant. Large sheets that are only thin on one part can sometimes be made into cot sheets.

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  • It’s really important to declutter regularly. I did it lately in the kitchen and in the study. I decluttered the wardrobe a couple of months ago.
    Now I need to start with the shed. It needs so much work!!

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  • Decluttering is a continual process – love it.


    • The essential thing is to be fairly ruthless as it can be too easy to hold onto unnecessary clutter and stuff.

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  • I agree with a good spring clean and paper work after a year you so do not need!

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  • Has this woman ever lived with small children? One sheet set for each season and for for in between? Clearly she has a dryer and doesn’t mind doing washing in the middle of the night so she has something to put on the bed if her kid wets more than once.

    And only two towels each? Again. Clearly has a dryer. My house has clothes hanging everywhere in winter and it takes longer than a day to dry. The idea with spare towels and sheets is that you may hardly ever use them but it sucks when they aren’t there if you need them. A little bit of clutter is good. Humans aren’t machines.
    We have way more plates than we need but I’m not throwing any out just yet.


    • Thanks for your feedback. Yes I have done young kids (and no dryer) and through that experience and working with many families I see that most have way more stuff than required. Of course every household works differently- this is just a guide.

    Reply

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