Decluttering DIY: tips for success

Published 11:39am 1 April 2020

Decluttering DIY: tips for success
Words by Kylie Knight

The latest decluttering craze may have been sparked by author and TV star Marie Kondo but, Donna Donaldson has been helping customers restore order for nine years. Here are her tips for getting your life sorted out.

The mother of three sons knows how difficult it is to organise the hardest to deal with at home with clothes, toys and paperwork.

Paperwork was her biggest problem with mail, newsletters from schools, junk mail etc. When someone came over she would put it all in a box and then when she wanted it she couldn't find specific notes or letters.

“As soon as you put a piece of paper on a horizontal surface, they invite their whole family,” she says, laughing.

Donna says you need a system to handle all of the paper. Trays, noticeboards, folders, calendar reminders can be used in and out to pay category bills and filing systems, colour coding, alphabetisation, or a combination of it all.

It's about figuring out what's really good for you. Just make sure that you don't have to double-handle paperwork or lose track of bills to pay.

Decluttering DIY: tips for success

Clothing can also cause problems in wardrobes, drawers or wherever it piles up.

“Most women will go to their wardrobe and say I’ve got nothing to wear even if it’s bursting at the seams. They have bought things over time, and there are items they have never worn, have worn out or they no longer like,” she says.

You need to take everything out of your wardrobe and organise your clothes into like items — strapless, strappy, short sleeve and long-sleeve tops into coats; then pants, shorts, skirts and clothing. In each category arrange garments from light to dark in categories, making it easier to see where each item is located. She also recommends that you leave the hanger in place when you are wearing something so you know where to put it back.

It's also important to get a clear sense of what suits your body type and colouring so you're more likely to buy clothes that you like. It is reducing waste and freeing up space.

The best way to organise shoes depends on how much room you have and how many pairs of shoes you own, from person to person, from home to home.

Categorise your shoes — like styles together — and colours together. Place dark-coloured shoes on the bottom and light colours on the top; or light to dark from left to right. You can store shoes in clear boxes, on racks or shelves.

Categorize your shoes together-like styles-and colours. Place dark-coloured shoes on top of the bottom and light colours; or from left to right, light to dark. Shoes may be placed in transparent cases, on tables, or on shelves.

Children's toys, much like paperwork, appear to multiply before the eyes of most parents.

Donna recalls decluttering rooms for her sons every school holiday in a bid to keep the collection of toys under control. Before birthdays and Christmas, she would do this too — when new things were likely to enter the room.

Donna would remove broken toys and those her kids had outgrown or left out playing with. She says it's important to get your kids involved in this process and encourage them to select items that could be given to charity. It simultaneously teaches them about giving and declutters.

Just like in a panty, clothing and grocery stores, the key is to store together like items. For younger kids, labelling boxes with a content photo can make it easier for them to place their own belongings in the right container.

Cube shelving is perfect for children's toys, as they can easily access the items and you can see what's inside.

Donna says excessive clutter can make people feel depressed and nervous about having people over, which contributes to loneliness and shame.

If you're disorganised, you 're also spending more on clothes, food and items you don't need because you're already buying things you've got.

“It affects wellbeing for the whole family … it becomes chaotic and distressing when life is out of whack,” Donna explains.

So, how do her clients feel when she’s worked her magic at their place?

“They feel elation, joy and massive relief. They’re more confident and feel satisfied and de-stressed. They can take a breath,” she says.

“I come in at a point of crisis, major distress and bring them out the other side with new skills. I don’t want to take someone fishing for a day … I want to teach them to fish.”

DeClutter & Organize It

Phone: 0403 435 685

Visit: organizeit.com.au

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