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Top Tips For A DIY Declutter

If you are thinking of doing a DIY Declutter, here are a few things to get you there

You might have one or two cupboards that are giving you grief and you might decide you want to have a go at it yourself: A DIY Declutter.

Cupboard clutter can be overwhelming. The problem is that limited space is filled with too much stuff. Much of this stuff is unnecessary and is taking up the space for the necessary things. This results in other storage areas being used to cope with the overflow. A storage knock-on effect, if you will. Many people end up purchasing expensive ‘storage solutions’ to cope with this situation. However, if we declutter these spaces we find there is plenty of space for everything.

Let me illustrate this with a story from a recent encounter.

I was contacted for an emergency declutter.

Emergency? Surely you know for ages whether or not your possessions are taking over? However, the client had just put their apartment on the market and a buyer was coming over the next day. They had no idea it would be so quick as they had not even met the estate agent! I guess the housing market for apartments in East London is on fire!

They sent a couple of photos of the offending cupboards so that I had an idea of the size of the problem.

As you can see from the photos, there are items in this hallway cupboard that belong elsewhere. They look like they probably belong under the kitchen sink or in the pantry.

So what is happening in those cupboards that there is overflow here?

The short answer to that is they are full of stuff not needed, wanted or useful.

Questions: So where do I start? What is the first move?

Answer: Get the real pantry sorted out.

Getting Ready To DIY Declutter

If you are setting out to do a DIY Declutter here are a few things you need to think about and prepare before you start. Having these things ready to go will make the whole process less stressful and a whole lot quicker. 

  • Make sure you have a good amount of clear space around the cupboard you are sorting
  • Have plenty of rubbish sacks available.
  • If you are able to recycle, have an organic waste bin, recycle bin and rubbish sacks ready. 
  • Cleaning cloth, cleaning fluid and rubber gloves.
  • Solid step ladder or other means of reaching the higher spaces.
  • Wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • Don’t injure yourself. You will be reaching up, stretching, twisting and going up and down your ladder a lot. Therefore, I would recommend you get warmed up beforehand.

Although this is specifically for a pantry declutter, the preparation is much the same for any decluttering project.

Now you are ready to get your DIY Declutter underway.

Where do you start when decluttering the pantry? 

Start simply by removing all the stuff that is out of date. By this I mean beyond it’s “use by” or “best before” date. Obviously, we all know there are things that can be quite usable after these dates so you need to use a bit of common sense. In the example of the recent emergency declutter, I was able to relieve the pantry of 5 rubbish sacks worth of expired or unusable items that had been lurking and taking up space for long past their time, in the case of one packet of biscuits since 2018! So much space is now available.

The next stage – putting it all back

Of course, once you have removed the stuff that is no longer useful and cleaned the shelves it’s time to organise the remaining items and put them back in places most beneficial. 

  1. Every day used items go in the place you can most easily reach them this is usually at straight arm or eye height. 
  2. Be careful not to shove things to the back without being able to reach them. This is the main reason things end up sitting in cupboards forgotten for years.
  3. Make sure you have space on the shelf so that you can move things around. Many people see their cupboard like a Tetris game with a need to fill every nook and cranny with stuff. Instead, you should think of it more like those sliding-tile puzzle games where you must have one blank space or you can’t move the tiles around.
  4. Don’t put heavy stuff in the top of the cupboard unless you are tall and can reach them safely.
  5. If your children need to be able to reach things, put them somewhere that they can.
  6. If your children should not be able to reach things (bleach, alcohol, your favourite chocolates) put them somewhere that they can’t.

And that’s all there is to it!

What was over-flow knock-on is now free-space knock-on.

In this example, enough space in the pantry was freed up so that the overflow items in the hall cupboard could be moved to the pantry. That in turn allowed space for children’s toys and sports equipment to be stored in the hallway instead of the laundry. Therefore, although I was initially called to sort out two cupboards, we actually decluttered and organised the pantry, under-sink area, alcohol storage, hallway cupboard and laundry. We were also able to create a space for breakfast items and now the children’s cups and plates have their own place easily reached by small people. The feedback was especially wonderful about the children, who now enjoy the responsibility of fetching their own plates and cups at meal times.

So there it is, your ‘How to DIY Declutter your Pantry’.

If you are still feeling overwhelmed or know that it is not something you can do yourself, for whatever reason, then please do Contact Cat for a consultation about what you have and what you need. Try not to leave it to the last moment and need an emergency declutter yourself! 

I might have to do another blog piece titled ‘Prevarication & Accumulation’!

If you think you might want to look into the more radical minimalist lifestyle then I would recommend you take a look at The Minimalist Vegan who have some great ideas as well as some delicious recipes.

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