home detox – six practical tips for decluttering & tidying up

new year – new resolutions.

Aufräumen und Ausmisten
Practical tips for decluttering & tidying up (iStock.com/g-stockstudio)

Letting go of old things frees up space for – no, not new things but an entirely new way of life! The following suggestions are designed to help you to establish a new kind of order in your home that will also make you feel better. You know what they say: tidy home, tidy mind…

what is unnecessary and can go?

First of all, you have to spot the unnecessary things that make it more difficult to keep your home tidy. Usually, these are things like objects, clothes or books we don’t use and don’t actually need. Junk and useless things are often not just shoved into cupboards or under the bed but also soon clutter up valuable space in hallways and basements. If certain things don’t have a set place or you can’t motivate yourself to sort out what is not needed, they can quickly collect in a particular area.


Before – After
Empty the drawer, clean it and use an arrangement system for drawers

these six tips will make it easy for you to declutter:

1) all beginnings are difficult
“I’ll do it when I get around to it” is one of the classic excuses for procrastination. It’s highly unlikely that anyone who uses it will sort out anything at all over the next few months. The issue of “decluttering and tidying up” has to become a priority. Set yourself a fixed date when you will start and when the project should be finished by.

2) begin with a short concerted effort
Sometimes, chaos can overwhelm us. Most people will not be able to spend several hours a day or an entire weekend just decluttering and tidying up. It’s a better idea to tackle one small area at a time, for example a drawer with an accumulated assortment of odds and ends: empty the drawer, clean it, throw away what you don’t really need and then return everything systematically to the drawer and give yourself a pat on the back for this first successful effort! This will motivate you and make you look forward to making more changes.

3) set yourself goals and define times
What bothers you the most: your wardrobe, the basement, the loft? It’s a sensible idea to finish one project first, rather than working on several problem areas at the same time as you’ll only get discouraged and let the chaos take over again.
Set aside at least 3-4 hours for a major decluttering effort like a whole room, although it can take as little as two hours to tidy up a cupboard.

4) decluttering and tidying up with the 4-boxes strategy
Careful pre-sorting is a good idea especially for larger rooms where a lot of things have collected over several years: you will need four large containers, like washing baskets or storage boxes.
Label each with a sticker, “keep”, “sell”, “give away/donate” and “throw out”. Dividing things like this will already considerably declutter the cupboard, shelf, drawer or even the entire room.

5) get someone to help you
Many things are more fun if you have company. Maybe a family member or a friend can help you. Your helper can pass things down to you from the top shelf of the cupboard, wipe down shelves, take away the rubbish and generally keep your spirits up!

6) final clear-up after decluttering
Once you have sorted everything into piles with the aid of the 4-box method, you now have to make sure that the things you have sorted out really do leave your homo Take the rubbish out straight away (take anything that is made out of paper and glass to the respective recycling containers, throw the rest away at home or take it to a recycling centre).

  • Take the rubbish out straight away (take anything that is made out of paper and glass to the respective recycling containers, throw the rest away at home or take it to a recycling centre).
  • Take away the things that you want to donate to charity as soon as you have finished (e.g. clothes to a collection container, toys, books etc. to the respective recipients), or at least put them in the car so you can take them away as soon as you can.
  • Set yourself a date by which to sell the things you want to sell. If you do not sell them by that date, give them away for free or get rid of them elsewhere.
  • All you need to do now is to make the rooms cosy again, to tidy them and to give them a once-over with the Hoover.


the most important principle when it comes to tidying up: everything needs a set place.

Once everything useless has been taken out of a room, tidying up is easy. Think about what you want to store where in the drawers and cupboards before you start.
Remember, you can only keep everything tidy if you regularly put everything back where it belongs.
Decluttering is liberating and makes everyday life easier; why not give it a try!



Zu zweit macht vieles mehr Spaß.

Cleaning up is more fun with friends & family (iStock.com/PeopleImages)

Keep it organized!


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