You may not be a hoarder or a big shopper but daily life - especially when it involves children or crafts - can fill your home with stuff. Always add and never subtract and you'll eventually bury yourself. Sarah Heeringa tackles the decluttering challenge.
Creating a home that is functional as well as inspirational involved keeping useful but less attraction items tucked just out of sight and your beautiful, meaningful things arranged so you can enjoy them every day.
1. If someone gives you an unwanted gift accept it gracefully, but don't let guilt cause you to hold onto it forever
2. If you're unsure about getting rid of something, start a 'maybe box' and store it for a set of time in your garage, attic or under your bed. Note the date in your diary. If you haven't need it in that time, throw it away.
3. Tip everything out of a drawer onto a table. Sort into three piles; stuff that belongs in the draw, stuff that belongs elsewhere; things to get rid of. Put the stuff in the first pile back neatly, and deal with the other piles straight away.
4. Photograph and load unwanted items on Trade me, or join Freecyle, (www.freecycle.co.nz) to connect with people who might need your surplus stuff.
5. Do you save every plastic container that comes into your house? To avoid getting swamped, set yourself a limit. Allocate one shelf or drawer and donate or recycle any that don't fit in the space allowed.
6. Set yourself the challenge of decluttering for 15 to 30 minutes every day. Set a timer, put on music and target one area at a time. pick up five things and find homes for them. If you don't know exactly where things belong, designate a spot. if you have children, show them where things belong.
The home office is a potential dumping zone. Clutter breeds clutter - and a messy desk gives everyone permission to leave more stuff there. Completely clear the surface and as you pick up each item, ask yourself why you are keeping it.
Get a filing cabinet or establish a simple filing system - then use it! Use interesting old tins or jars as an attractive way to stroe pens and pencils, and stow larger straionery items in paper-covered boxes. Allocate zones within your book shelf, sorted according to subject then size. Collect all your travel books, maps or cookbooks in one place. If you haven't looked at a book for several years, consider giving it away. Make space for new books and fresh inspiration.