Sometimes a space needs a speedy declutter, other times it requires a full-on commitment to streamlining your stuff. If you're the type of person who struggles to let go of things, the latter approach might be in order.
The more clutter you accumulate, the harder it is to part with your junk. Many of us get attached to the stuff we own, whether that be for sentimental reasons or the dreaded 'what-if' thought game, but we've found a decluttering trick that promises to help you finally tackle your clutter once and for all and get a handle on your belongings.
If you've been searching for a ruthless approach that cuts through the noise to help you start decluttering, look no further. This trick for downsizing your stuff requires nothing but a spare room or storage space that you rarely enter, and it could be the key to cutting the clutter for good. Here we learn more about the technique from professional organizers themselves, including how to use it and the key mistakes to avoid.
What is the decluttering trick for downsizing your stuff?
This decluttering tip involves utilizing your garage or loft as a sort of temporary liminal space for stuff you think you can part with, but aren't prepared to just yet. The idea comes courtesy of content creator Jessenia Gillian via TikTok, and we're convinced it could change your relationship with clutter for good.
'The idea here is that you place items into a box and store it out of sight in a basement, garage, or under the stairs,' says professional organizer Lisa Ruff from the NEAT Method. 'In 30 days, if you haven't thought about or needed the items, it's safe to say you won't miss them in the future and can safely donate or toss them.'
It might sound a bit counterintuitive but it's a great trick for very indecisive people and those who are afraid of making a mistake when they discard something, says expert organizer Amelie Saint-Jacques. 'You can prove to yourself that if you don't need or miss those items for one month (or six), then you can let go without regret,' she says. 'For some people, it is also easier to get rid of something after that period of time, because they have become less attached to the item after not seeing it for so long.'
What situations is it best for?
This method is extreme and won't work for every person or every situation, but there are certain times when it might be the best way to find success with your decluttering. 'For those who haven't yet developed strong decluttering muscles the maybe bag is a good tool to help bridge the gap between drowning in clutter and a honed collection of home belongings,' says Kim Corey, a professional organizer at Finely Sorted Organizing.
As mentioned, this won't work in every instance, however. If you have a relatively uncluttered home, quick audits might be more appropriate as you can be more targeted in your approach. However, when decluttering a whole room or even entire houses that haven't been decluttered before, it can be a game changer. 'This is especially useful for downsizing sentimental things that many have a hard time parting with at first viewing,' says Kim. Living without something for a while can help you make a more objective decision about what you can and can't live without.
Like all decluttering methods, this one should be approached with caution and with some considerations in mind. 'I would caution against getting rid of someone else's things that way,' says Amelie. This professional organizer especially advises against using the technique to declutter kids' toys as they might not realize what's happening.
Another thing to be careful of is mistaking the items for immediate trash. 'Placing things in garbage bags is a disaster waiting to happen,' says award-winning professional organizer Carrie Kauffman. 'Trash bags mean trash, so someone else in the house might see them and throw them out,' she says. To avoid this catastrophe place items in a clear bin marked what’s inside, and you could even organize your storage with QR codes if you're feeling truly dedicated. Doing this will ensure the technique is foolproof and effective.
Our favorite books to help you declutter
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Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.
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