How to declutter while in self-isolation

PUBLISHED: 11:03 26 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:47 07 April 2020

Time to tidy: Follow Tracy's simple steps to decluttering success. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Time to tidy: Follow Tracy's simple steps to decluttering success. Getty Images/iStockphoto


With most of us in lockdown at home for weeks to come, there’s never been a better time to get stuck into some decluttering. St Albans-based expert Tracy Ross of Blissfully Organised tells Jane Howdle where to start.

Tracy Ross of Blissfully Organised. Picture: Claire LaneTracy Ross of Blissfully Organised. Picture: Claire Lane

Being stuck within the same four walls for weeks on end is challenging for all of us, and finding a positive amid the hand sanitiser shortages and wider health and economic concerns is far from easy.

Commencing a decluttering project is one way of putting your time in lockdown to good use, making your home a better environment to live and work in - while boosting your mental health in the process.

“This is the perfect time to organise your living spaces and review your current home management systems,” says decluttering expert Tracy Ross of Blissfully Organised.

“Simplifying your home management is a journey that, once completed, will reward you with more time, save you money and most importantly benefit your mental wellbeing. It’s like a huge weight lifted off my clients’ shoulders.”

Here’s Tracy’s guide to achieving clutter-free bliss:

Tour your home

Now is the ideal time to tackle the decluttering projects you've been putting off. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoNow is the ideal time to tackle the decluttering projects you've been putting off. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Walk around your home with a pen and paper and review each space with fresh eyes. In each room, make a note of the areas that look cluttered, including hidden spots such as inside cupboards.

Create a plan

Create a priority action plan. This might include specific spaces or themes (paperwork, toys, toiletries) or setting up a new system, such as for paperwork or laundry.

Be prepared

You will need bags for the things that you no longer need and would like to pass on to an appreciative new home, a box or basket to move items that don’t belong in the space that you are working in, and a pen and post-its for labelling.

Choose a time

You now need to decide when you will do your decluttering and organising. You might want to do this first thing in the morning when you are feeling energised, midway through the day as a break or anytime that you are feeling anxious. Decluttering and organising has a lovely calmness to it and can help when you are feeling unsettled.

Set a timer

I usually work with a client for a four or six-hour session, but I always recommend working in smaller blocks of time when alone. I would suggest that you set the timer for 30 minutes then review how you are feeling after this.

Don’t be scared

Things will look more chaotic before being organised. I like to work on solutions with long term benefits rather than shuffling things around the home. I always empty a cupboard completely so that we can review what is stored in there currently, group items by theme then make decisions on whether the storage space is currently being used effectively.

Review your systems

Having effective household systems in place for daily tasks such as paperwork, laundry and meal planning can really help you to feel in control of your home management, instead of reacting to everything that needs to be completed.

Reuse and recycle

As many of the usual places that we can recycle are currently closed, simply store unwanted sorted items in a space such as a loft or garage until things return to normal. You’ll be so pleased that you used this time to organise your home.

Government restrictions mean that Tracy is currently unable to visit her clients at home, and is instead offering virtual guidance sessions by Skype or FaceTime. She is also posting top tips and guidance on her website, Facebook (@BlissfullyOrganised) and Instagram (@Blissfullyorg).

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