Updated: Oct 4, 2021
If like us you are staying home for the duration, we hope you are healthy and well and coming to terms with your enforced downtime.
It seems like many people are using this time to get on with all those little tasks they have always meant to do, whether it be creative or DIY. And certainly in our little part of the world the sun is shining which makes it a great time to get out in the garden.
For many people this is a great opportunity to make a start on some of those decluttering jobs that always seem to be put off for another day.
However we know from experience that trying to declutter the whole house (or even a whole room) in one go can feel simply overwhelming. We always advise starting with something small and achievable. We all have one area of the house that just never feels quite right - maybe it's that odds and ends drawer in the kitchen that you can never close properly, or the overflowing coat cupboard in the hall.
Whatever it is, choose something achievable, something you can do in an hour or less but that will make you feel good, something that will improve your daily life just a little bit.
Here are our suggestions for 5 quick fixes to tackle today. None of them should take long but you should feel a whole lot better afterwards. Don't forget to comment on our Facebook or Instagram and let us know what you've been up to!
1. Your salad drawer
Come on, we know how it is - that bit of lettuce that's seen better days, those limp old carrots. Maybe you even have things in there that are growing other things!
So go on, be brave, take the whole drawer out of the fridge and empty it out. Give the drawer a good old wash in warm water with a squirt of washing up liquid. Take the opportunity to wipe out the area behind the drawer and maybe even the fridge door pockets if you feel up to it. If you line the clean dry drawer with kitchen roll it makes the next clean up even easier.
Before you throw things away, see if there is anything that could go in a soup or casserole. Even if they're a bit limp or wrinkled lots of veggies like carrots, peppers, onions, celery etc are great in a soup and you can even chuck in lettuce leaves, spinach or rocket.
Anything that really can't be saved can go in your food recycling or even better compost if you have it.
By the way, if you buy prepackaged veg such as punnets of mushrooms, it's a good idea to take them out or at least open the plastic to let air circulate as keeping things dry will prolong their shelf life.
2. Your sock collection
We don't know about you but one of the great mysteries of life is what happens to socks. No matter how carefully you wash them you always seem to end up with odd socks. Of course some people like odd socks and choose to wear them that way, but for those who don't, why not take a moment to sort them out.
Tip all your socks out onto a bed or other surface. Take out any that are too small, worn out, faded, have holes in them, etc. Unless you're a whizz at darning, it's probably time to let them go. We suggest starting a bag for recycling which you can either drop off at some supermarkets or take to a charity shop once life gets back to normal.
Some people like to use sock organisers but we prefer to just pair and store them neatly in a drawer or bag.
3. Your spice rack
Yes your chewing gum might lose it's flavour on the bedpost overnight, but you might be surprised to know that herbs and spices also tend to fade in terms of aroma and potency.
While elderly curry powder won't make you ill, it will most likely not be doing much to add flavour to your food and may even start to taste bitter or unpleasant.
Take a few minutes to empty out all your herbs, spices, stock cubes, salts, peppers etc. (Top tip - I like to keep my spices in a shallow drawer so I can easily see what I have).
Most spice jars will have a "best before" date stamped on them, either on the label or the jar itself. If you can't find one, the "sniff test" will tell you if they still have life left in them.
Any that you're not keeping can be emptied into your compost bin and the containers recycled. Once you've got rid of all the old and tired ones, give the others a wipe as they often get greasy or dusty. If you're really feeling organised you could even put them into alphabetical order!
4. Your inbox
We're doing a separate blog soon on digital decluttering, but your email inbox is a good place to start.
Scroll back through your last few days or weeks of emails and you might notice a lot of them are advertising or newsletters. Usually if you scroll to the bottom there is an option to "unsubscribe". Doing that should help cut down on clutter. And next time you buy something online, make sure to untick the box for publicity.
Depending on which email service you use, you should also be able to do a bulk delete, by searching for all emails from a particular sender and then deleting them all at once. If you need help with that let us know and we should be able to talk you through it.
5. Your make up bag
If you have a make up bag or drawer, now could be a good time to go through it and get rid of all those dried up old mascaras, face powders etc. Make up contains preservatives but these do wear off over time, and older make up may lose texture and pigmentation. Not only that but it may even cause skin reactions and irritation. Liquid products such as mascara and foundation will tend to go off quicker than powders like eye shadow or blusher.
And even if you don't wear make up, the same is true for skin care products like moisturiser, body lotion, shower gel etc. Many people have these lurking in bathroom cupboards or at the back of the shower cubicle and it's a good idea to check them every now and again.
If it's not been opened and is less than 24 months old then it's probably okay to use but be more cautious with products that you were given as gifts or you simply don't know how old they are. (For that reason we suggest not passing on old cosmetics to charity shops).
If you're getting rid of them, you can wash liquid ones down the drain and recycle the bottles, but for oily or waxy substances like body creams they are probably best emptied into the bin rather than the drain.
So, whatever you choose to do, give yourself a big pat on the back. Take the time to have a rest with a cup of tea or whatever you choose, maybe sit in the garden or balcony or even just by an open window and enjoy the fresh air.
Decluttering is one of those things that always feels like a drag but you always feel better for afterwards.
And if you feel like you need some moral support, give us a bell, or send us your photos/videos so we can offer our suggestions. We're even offering "virtual decluttering" at the moment via Facetime or Skype.
Let's hope that life returns to normal very soon, and in the meantime we wish you and your families the very best of health.
All the best,