It’s almost half way through February, and your 2020 vision for a more organised life isn’t shaping up the way you had planned. Your intentions were good – you got your notepad out, your new shiny gold pen and you wrote down your number one goal: 'declutter my house.'

This was YOUR year to finally get, and stay, organised. So, what happened?

In this quick article, we say, "Don't panic! Don't focus on an early set back! Everyone knows January is just a practise month... February is the month you really start your goals!"

Whether you’re moving house, or you’re just moving in – or you’ve lived in your house for more than 5 years -- we have 5 tips on how to declutter your house, that are sure to get you feeling like you’re living your best life and hitting all your #2020housegoals.

Tip number one: Know your habits: take a good hard look at yourself!

We only ever want to clean our house, once. Ever. But reality works vigilantly against all our best ideas – and somehow, within a week, the house ends up messy again.

In order to keep your house clutter-free, you need to figure out the underlying reason why things keep piling up. Try asking yourself some of these key questions:

  • Are you too busy?
  • Are you unaware of what you already have because it doesn’t have a place in your house?
  • Do you keep things ‘just in case’ you need them in six months time?
  • Are you overwhelmed in your life and you have no idea where to start – and not just in the house?

Whatever it is, get to the bottom of the problem and find out the real reason why you can’t keep your house organised.

Tip number two: The three-basket rule on how to declutter your house

One of the biggest obstacles you’ll face when decluttering is deciding what to do with your stuff. It can be such an overwhelming process that often you’ll think about it, make a start, and then stop when you come to something difficult.

We’ve made it a little easier for you -- collect three baskets or boxes from around the house (no, this isn’t an excuse to go on a Kmart trip to buy matching boxes as ‘backup’*see tip number three) and label them with the following titles:

  • (Do I) keep it (?)
  • (Do I) throw it (?)
  • (Do I) donate it (?)

When starting the process, you need to be able to ask yourself those three simple questions, and answer them honestly, driven by the intention of keeping your place organised, calm and spacious.

Tip number three: Sort first – buy later

If you’re like us, your first thought when organising your house will be: "Oooooo, I need me some new containers!"

And we get it. The excitement of having matching baskets for the pantry, all the same wooden square boxes for the bedroom and uniform, foldable laundry baskets for your linen cupboard, can all just be too much and too powerful!

But getting more stuff is not the right place to start!

If you’ve thought about organising for quite some time, and you've saved 21 different posts from Pinterest on how your pantry should look—that’s great…but you need to prioritise your first order of business, before taking that shopping trip to get all those killer boxes and baskets: sorting out what you already own!

It is more effective and productive to kick off your decluttering exercise by sorting through your items, sticking to the three-basket rule, and then assessing what space you have for storage pieces – and where they will fit.

So, remember, shopping trips are banned until you have worked your way through the first three steps of this article!

Tip number four: Don’t get in over your head

When we set our minds to decluttering, we all want to succeed – but the trouble is, so many of us don’t set realistic goals, beginning with how much time we can dedicate to this exercise.

Don’t set aside the whole day to declutter your house, you want to take things slow and be realistic with your time commitment.

Think about it, if you’re training for a marathon, very rarely will you run the whole 42.2kms on the first day without any training. Or if you’re dreaming of getting into shape, you won’t go to the gym 24/7 until you’re fit – you’ll more than likely go for a couple of hours.

Apply this logic to decluttering – all great things take time.

When organising your house, treat it like a marathon or fitness goal – spend a few hours – two or three, on one space within your house, as you are likely to stay focused and be more productive and efficient throughout the sorting period, then take a break.

You don’t want to overwhelm yourself or become frustrated and burn out from the process. Once one room is completed, you will feel determined to complete the next.

Tip number five: Go that extra mile

You're almost at the finish line – you’ve found your three-baskets, you’ve done your first room for two or three hours, and you have your piles to throw, keep and donate – do not get discouraged now!

Often when the finish line is in sight, we lose focus and feel as though we can pull back a little. Wrong. Finish the job.

Once you have decided where something should go or belongs, take it there. Never keep the bags for charity or the bags for the trash in a pile by the door – place it in the bin, drive it to your local charity or drop it off at your family home straight away.

You’ve already completed so much, stuck to your time limit, not burnt yourself out – so make sure you finish your task.

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Once you have created magic and your house is totally decluttered, you can apply a few simple rules to keep yourself in check:

Rule number one: Make sure every single item has a place in your home. If you decide to go shopping, take a look at what space you have, and if it’s limited, find something in your cupboard that you haven’t worn in a while, and donate it to replace it!

Rule number two: Make your new organisation habits stick, by hanging your clothes up, or placing them in the laundry basket, when you get home. Put your cereal back in the pantry when you’ve finished pouring it, place your hairbrush back under the vanity in the basket where your hair items are kept. Keep applying this method and get into the habit of spending that extra minute putting things away, so in two months time, you’re not re-facing a disorganised room.

Rule number three: Every six-to-twelve months, treat your house as if you’re moving – this will ensure a proper tidy up is done, and you’re not carrying any extra belongings that aren’t serving a purpose.