Having a Spring Clear-Out: My Tips for a Clutter Free Home using the KonMari Method

I’ve long been a bit of a hoarder and quite messy by nature, but I’m trying to change (honest!). If anything, I’ve come to realise that getting rid of stuff feels really good. Last year, I jumped on the Marie Kondo bandwagon. Marie Kondo is the queen of tidying up, and developed the KonMari Method. In short, you’re encouraged to work your way through each room of your house, tackling different categories of items you own (clothing, paperwork, books…) and asking yourself, if each item ‘sparks joy’. An old pair of boots no longer sparking joy? Out they go!

I can’t say I followed the method by the rules. I didn’t personally thank each item before setting it free (as is part of the KonMari method) but I did ask myself if I really needed all this stuff. I managed to create six bin bags full of things I no longer needed, no longer used or I had lost interest in. I spent some time reorganising my rickety IKEA wardrobe, and again, I didn’t follow the rules of putting items in colour order, but just folding my clothes and putting everything into some sort of order felt
GOOD!

Bag of clothing that will be donated.

But old habits die hard, and I had all of these bin bags sitting in my living room for (I’m ashamed to say) months. But now we’re well into the new year, one by one, I’ve taken them all to my local Oxfam shop. What I didn’t realise before, is that you now get given a green label to stick on each donation bag – your Gift Aid donation number, name and postcode are added to it, and when your items sell you get an email to say how much money your items raised. You can also track your Gift Aid through the Oxfam Apptoo!   I admit, I got a bit of a buzz out of that email, knowing that some of my items were now ‘sparking joy’ elsewhere, and now I’m putting aside more things to donate. At this rate, I’m not going to
have anything left!

Want to join Sarah in starting a clutter-free life? Find your local Oxfam shop or donation point here  or donate to your local M&S for some loyalty card goodies
You can also get some declutter inspiration from another of our amazing Oxfam Fashion bloggers, Colleen,
here.

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The Ultimate 3 Day Declutter Guide Part 2: How to Clear the Clutter

Declutter Day has finally arrived! I hope you’re wearing something comfortable and you’re ready to take on the world… or at least, the designated area you’ve set out to clear.


Get everyone on the right page

There’s no point in embarking on a declutter mission if the people helping you are clueless. First let them know your goals and secondly give them jobs, so they know exactly what they’re supposed to be doing.

Identify clutter stations

While you’re going through all that mess, it’s a good idea to organise your clutter straight away. To do this, you must take four sheets of paper and write the words ‘Donate’, ‘Sell’, ‘Throw / Recycle’ and finally ‘Undecided’. If an item isn’t needed in your home, it’s time to choose which section it will go into.

‘Donate’ all the items that still work, but you never use. You will be helping others, so give your items to your local Oxfam shop or donation bank.

‘Sell’ any items such as white goods, electrical items or anything else that you think someone would pay for. Broken electrical goods are even welcome on sites like eBay or at a car boot sale!

‘Throw or recycle’ all those things that you no longer need or that don’t work. Be ruthless and take care to identify items that are recyclable.

‘Undecided’ is for those items that you truly can’t bear to part with. Don’t worry, I won’t force you to get rid of them today! A decluttering secret I can share with you is this – fill up a cardboard box with all that clutter that you can neither decide to keep or get rid of. Find a home for this box, out of the way somewhere – perhaps a loft or in a garage, seal it with tape and write the date of one year in the future.

Once that date comes around, donate the box without opening it. You may not even remember what the box contained when the year is up!

Help sort out your clutter

Give it some thought

Give each item real thought before you decide to either keep, or add it to a clutter station. Ask the following questions:

  • When did I last use this?
  • Will I ever use this again?
  • Is this item of use to me?
  • Does it bring me happiness?

The longer you take with each item, the better a commitment you make to your decision.

I am a strong believer of repeating the following sentences in your head:

  1. I will not keep something out of guilt or obligation
  2. I am not afraid to let go

This will remind you that getting rid of an item does not make you a bad person, nor should you hold onto something out of fear or expectation.


How to donate with Oxfam

Now you’ve got lots of unwanted items that can be donated, it’s time to get down to Oxfam. They accept all types of things, including:

  • Good quality clean clothing / shoes / bras
  • Bags / Accessories
  • Books
  • Music – CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays & More
  • Homeware
  • Soft furnishings
  • Knitted items / blankets
  • Toys / Games
  • Furniture
  • Mobile phones

If you are unsure what Oxfam will accept, ask at your local Oxfam shop or ring support at 0300 200 1333.

Oxfam and M&S have made it even easier to donate your unwanted clothes. Drop off all those clothes that you have found during your Declutter Day and drop them off at your local Oxfam shops or M&S. If your donation contains an M&S labelled piece of clothing or M&S soft furnishings, then you will receive a £5 M&S voucher for a shop over £35.

For every £1 donated to Oxfam…

37p goes to Emergency Response
3p goes to campaigning for change
8p goes to fundraising costs
10p goes to support and running costs
42p goes to development work

Decluttering and donating will help people who need it – you’ll be helping to fight poverty around the world.

Go you!

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The Ultimate 3 Day Declutter Guide Part 1: Declutter Preperation

I’m a messy person. There, I’ve admitted it. I also like to buy shiny new things for the kitchen, clothes for my wardrobe and thingamabobs for the home. Messiness and a shopping passion result in a very cluttered existence. This all changed when I looked at the cupboard, I mean, really looked at the cupboard and realised I didn’t need half the items located inside.

It was time to face the music – I needed to declutter my house… for good.

If, like me, you have the same problem, this is not something you can go into lightly. Here are my top tips on how to prepare for decluttering your home.

1. Identify a decluttering goal

There is no point in saying to yourself that you’re going to declutter the house. You need a specific and measurable goal, such as ‘I want to let go of at least 10 items of clothing so my wardrobe has more space in it’. Once you’ve identified this, you will have a clear plan in your head.

Planning your Declutter

2. Write a declutter list

Now your goal has been chosen, it’s time to write yourself a checklist. For example… if you were clearing your wardrobe out to make space, this list could include the following tasks:

  • Remove any clothes that you haven’t worn in the last year
  • Remove any clothes that don’t fit
  • Remove any clothes that cannot be mended

3. Pick the day and stick to it

Break out the calendar and find a day that’s completely free of social activities. Communicate when ‘Declutter Day’ is to be to the rest of your household and make sure they know that no visitors are allowed on the day. Your family or housemates can either stay and help you, or they can leave your home for the day!

Congratulations, you’re now ready for ‘Declutter Day’. Keep your eyes peeled for my next post 

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The Ultimate 3 Day Declutter Guide Part 3: Keeping the Clutter Clear, a Tidy Life

Congratulations, you’ve successfully decluttered and achieved your goal. It’s now time to organise all those items that you do need and make sure the clutter doesn’t build up again. 

Identify day-to-day vs hardly ever items

It’s important to first deal with all the items that you’ve established you really can’t live without and the solution is simple. Place the items that you hardly ever use up high, away in those hard-to-reach places and the items that you use daily, in easy-to-reach places that you can reach without standing on tiptoes or bending down.

Tips to keep tidy

Choose multipurpose furniture

Now you’ve got rid of the clutter it’s time to find the storage solutions that are right for you. Consider multipurpose furniture that does lots of jobs instead of one, such as a footstool with hidden compartments for DVDs, or an ottoman that you can sit on, and store bedding in. Find out if you’re near to an Oxfam furniture shop here.

Treat yourself and make it look gorgeous

You’ve achieved your decluttering so take your time and make it look great. Give everything a lick of paint and invest in gorgeous cupboards and draw dividers. It’s your chance to keep precious items organised, clean and beautiful!

Clothes tidy

Rules for keeping that clutter at bay

1. Buy less – If you’re in a shop and something exciting has caught you eye but you know you don’t need it, take a deep breath and walk away.

2. Recycle, file or frame paper – Paper can easily build up in your house. Make a point to sort it out as quickly as possible. If it’s recyclable, put it in the bin, file if you need to keep it or frame if you child has created a masterpiece.

3. Get people on board – It’s all very well and good that you’ve decided to keep your home uncluttered, but if everyone in your household isn’t aware, there may be some problems! Let your family or housemates know of your intentions and together you’ll be able to stay on top of it.

4. Write a pay day wish list – It’s only natural to want some new things for the house every now and again, so if you’re a shopping fan, why not write a wish list? Each time you find something you like, note it down and at the end of the month near to pay day, check it. You may discover some items on the list no longer interest you.

5. Get a clutter basket – Get a big basket for the living room, or wherever your household makes a lot of clutter. Every evening fill the basket with all the clutter that has built up during the day and return it to their rightful homes.

Give yourself a pat on the back and bask in your clutter-free existence. You’ve done it!

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How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe & Why You Need One Now

What is a capsule wardrobe?

London boutique owner Susie Faux first came up with the term ‘capsule wardrobe’ in the 1970s. For Faux, the capsule wardrobe contained essential items of clothing that would not go out of fashion.

In 1985, designer Donna Karan released a ‘Seven Easy Pieces’ collection, which included interchangeable, essential pieces – for example a bodysuit, skirt, tailored jacket, large scarf, white shirt, cashmere sweater and a dress.

While the number does not have to be strict, the message is clear. You don’t need a wardrobe bursting at the seams with this season’s pieces to be exciting and on-trend. All you need are a few staple items that will see you through.

Clothes hanging in a wardrobe

How to build your capsule wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is a clothes collection that only includes essential items. These clothes can be used to form outfits for all occasions, both for life and for work. It’s a chance for you to make dressing effortless, giving you more time to focus on other things.

The UK enjoys seasons, so it’s important to be aware of them when building a capsule wardrobe. Your Spring / Summer collection will probably feature overlapping items, as will your Autumn / Winter collection.

Use the web

Inspiration can be found all over the internet. Have a good research to identify a style that you like. A quick Google image search or Pinterest hunt for ‘capsule wardrobe’ will give you an idea on what other people have used and enjoy.

Write a checklist

Donna Karan had seven items, however this was created with work in mind. If you’re looking to adjust your entire wardrobe, thirty – forty items (including shoes and outerwear) should be enough.  Instead create a list of the items you need for your capsule wardrobe and divide it into Work Clothes, Life Clothes and Accessories.

Written list of items for a work capsule wardrobe

Look at your current clothes collection

Before you head to the shops, have a look at what you already have. You may already have a jacket, well-fitted jeans or a classic LBD.

Declutter

Now that you’re staring more closely at your clothes, it’s time to get rid of the items that you really don’t need. Take a deep breath and remove any clothes that you haven’t worn in the last year, any clothes that no longer fit, any clothes that can’t be mended. Bag them up and take them to your nearest Oxfam Shop or Donation Point

When choosing your items, take into consideration:

  • Your body shape

    Find the right clothes for you, the more flattering they are, the more likely you are to be comfortable wearing them time and time again. Check out whowhatwear to find out your shape.

  • Choose your colours

    Pick a few base colours such as black, white, grey, navy or brown and get your bags, trousers or coats in these shades. Now you’ve got the bases covered and you know that they will match with any tops or dresses.

  • Picking high-quality pieces

    As you will be wearing your items in different ways, they will get more wear than usual. Choose high-quality fabrics that will continue to look great.

  • Shapes and patterns

    While that Paisley print headscarf looked great that one summer, now it might be considered dated and ugly. Go for classic shapes and patterns that will last a long time.

Your finished capsule wardrobe

Why you need a capsule wardrobe

Enjoy an uncluttered wardrobe

While you’re looking for your capsule wardrobe pieces, it’s the perfect chance for you to pick through the items you have already. You may find items that you have never worn, or that you never will wear again. This is a chance for you to free yourself from stuff and donate your unwanted items to Oxfam.

Fewer decisions = less stress + more time

It’s a chance for you to free your mind, your clothes are already picked for the day so you have spent less time on deciding what to wear and can concentrate on other things. Now you don’t have to agonise about what top goes with what on the bottom – it all goes together!

Save money

If you love to shop, then now is your chance to save some money. You don’t need this season’s jeans, put that money towards something else instead.

Now you’ve discovered how to build a capsule wardrobe and found out what you need one now, it’s time to get started. Head to your wardrobe and start sifting through it. Good luck everyone!

Taken Colleen’s advice but realised you’re missing the piece to pull your new capsule wardrobe together? Take a look on the Online Shop, who knows what could be waiting for you! 

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