Updated April 2022

Finding yourself wondering how to declutter your home? You’re not the only one. According to research compiled by Jelson Homes*, we're a nation of anxious, stuff-it-in-the-cupboard hoarders who only spend an hour cleaning.

Particularly when it comes to selling your home, and suddenly having to present our homes to complete strangers. It seems to be a common worry to have spotless presentation, with a clutter-free environment and a pleasant odour. However, many of us find there just aren’t enough hours in the day to carry out deep cleans. 

Let’s take a look at the decluttering statistics:

  • When it comes to preparing a home for sale, 66% of people feel anxious about how their home is presented to potential buyers. 
  • 72% of people admitted to stuffing items in cupboards ahead of a viewing. 
  • 89% of time-strained families with young children admit they often resort to shoving toys under beds, in wardrobes, or behind the sofa to make their house presentable. 
  • Single homeowners are the most anxious about the details when preparing their home, with 46% admitting to focusing on clean sinks, taps and immaculate carpets. 
  • Couples were the most ‘laid back’ within the survey, with most citing they could share house work. 

The home moving process can be stressful right from the word go, and these survey results highlight just how hard the clearing out and cleaning up process really is for some people, even before they have started their search for a new home.

If you’re looking to move, and don’t know where to begin with the clear out, some decluttering tips may help. We have spoken to a hoarding expert, who has said: “There are some simple techniques we can all adopt to make our homes become a better living environment, whether people choose to stay or move, and all it takes is time and a little forethought.” Here are our expert top tips on how to declutter your house.

Let’s start with decluttering tips for hoarders.

No matter your time constraints, if you struggle to let go of anything, then taking baby steps is crucial. Little but often is the way to go if the task ahead of you is just too big to tackle. This may seem dull at first, but this will help to build long term habits that will help you keep clutter free. You’ll also get the little rush of satisfaction from sorting something out, without it being too exhausting or overwhelming.  

  • Start with the easy stuff first. Look at your wardrobe and if you haven't worn an item of clothing for 12 months, bag it up for charity or even better, sell it on and make a few pounds. If even one big sort is too much, you can make a deal with yourself to pull one item out of the wardrobe to bag up every time you look in your wardrobe.
  • Pull all of your paperwork together - bank statements, junk mail, all the letters you put to one side to sort later. Make a plan to take 30 minutes each Sunday night, and work through your paper backlog (and any fresh post that comes through). Bin anything that is obviously rubbish and organise remaining papers into relevant groups. It may be worth investing in a box file to pop all of your organised work into. 
  • If the kids' toys are getting out of hand, but you’re struggling for focus to give it a good clear with the kids there, try to arrange some child free time with friends or family. Even a half hour undistracted can get you started. Throw away anything broken, bag up any unloved toys that can go to a charity for a second life, and you can make slow but steady progress. Pick a cupboard, or section of a room and work through a new section each bit of distraction free time you get. 

Decluttering and anxiety

An untidy house can cause us all a bit of anxiety, but for some the need to be ‘show home perfect’ can be unrelenting. By looking for quick tasks that provide a big buzz, you may be able to find a healthier relationship with cleaning that allows you a clearer mind and happier home life. 

  • Dedicate small pockets of time for satisfying tasks. Having 20 minutes a day to do something such as making the beds, cleaning the loo or shredding paperwork, can give you the satisfaction buzz that then allows you to move on with your day. 
  • Get outside and get some fresh air. You may have a garden that also needs maintenance, so spending a small amount of time outside each day, sweeping up, cutting plants back will complete a task whilst also helping to improve your mood.
  • It’s really hard, but try not to sweat the small stuff. If you keep finding job after job to complete and are feeling overwhelmed, try stepping out the house for a moment. When you come back in, look at it with fresh eyes as if you were a potential buyer, and make a note of what you would check if you were looking to buy the house. This is then your priority list, and you can focus your attention on these jobs. Any other jobs should then be easier to put to one side if you don’t have the time or mental energy. 

Decluttering extras for those with time 

If you are lucky to have a bit more time, and you're looking to take your decluttering process one step further, there are still other areas you can look at.

  • Tackle the garage or shed. Those areas where a lot of clutter is dumped to allow the house to stay clean and tidy. Have a more ruthless sort out, and plan a trip or two to the tip?, to get rid of some of the clutter once and for all. 
  • Clear out your toiletries, cosmetics and medication/first aid cabinet. All of these can have best before dates on which we rarely pay attention to. Take the time to bin anything that is out of date. 
  • Finally, take some time to declutter your technology as well. Go through your emails, organise them and most importantly unsubscribe from nuisance emails that regularly plague your inbox. Then turn your attention to the apps on your phone and have an organise of your apps and notifications. Removing several unnecessary pings from your phone a day will definitely declutter your head space. 

If you’re selling your home, and looking to avoid the process of decluttering to show strangers around, have you considered Part Exchange**? If you were to buy a new home with Jelson Homes (and you’re eligible for Part Exchange), we could provide a market valuation on your current home, and once an offer is received, the home moving process kicks into action straight away. No long selling period or keeping your home clean and decluttered constantly. 

Take a look at our Part Exchange** page for more information, or contact our team. 

*Research compiled in 2017
**Part Exchange is available on selected plots only Offer not in conjunction with any other offer. We reserve the right to refuse Part Exchange.