Decluttering tips for a winter spring clean

The darkest depths of winter are the perfect time to throw out the old, streamline your life and give everything a good deep clean. These decluttering tips for a winter spring clean will bring a myriad of benefits to your life. Not only will cleaning become easier, you’ll have more time, freedom and ease of mind in your home.

Decluttering can seem like a daunting task, so breaking it down into small steps is a way of making it feel manageable. As well as having a plan, getting into the right mindset is key.

Firstly, be prepared to throw things away. Hoarding things you just can’t part with will make your decluttering much harder and indecisiveness will make the process much slower. Think of the positive outcomes that decluttering will bring, and try and stick to being quite ruthless. If you do find letting go of things hard, enlist a partner or trusted friend to help you begin.

Whether you’re hibernating until the spring and carving out big chunks of time to dedicate to your decluttering, or whether you’re going for the little and often approach, fitting it around everyday life and fitting it into your daily routine: try these decluttering tips and think of it as a lifestyle change for a stress-free life. And live by the motto, give everything a home.

Make a plan

Working systematically through your home, room by room, is the best way of decluttering the whole house. Set realistic time goals. Do you have a whole day to declutter and re-organise your kitchen cupboards? Or will you put in 20-30 minutes a day to clear each drawer at a time?

Try not to be overambitious in your planning, get overwhelmed and give up. Start small. If you have the space in your house to create a decluttering area, that can be a good way of keeping it contained. Get some upbeat music on and you’re ready to get cracking.

Set up four areas with four separate bags. One for donating to charity shops or local groups; one for recycling; one for selling at car boot sales or on Facebook Marketplace; and finally, one for throwing away.

Check your local tip times. Some tips, you’ll need a permit to dump things. It’s usually a quick online form, but look it up before you go to save you time. Tips often have a recycling/reuse shop at them and are a great place to get rid of good quality household or garden furniture and bric-a-brac.

Once the donating, recycling, selling and throwing away piles are full, aim to get rid of them straight away (or move them to the car), then you can’t deliberate and take things out. If you’re selling, take photos and get it up on your designated selling platform as soon as possible.

Work out exactly where all your items will go. Vinted and Depop are great for clothes. Ziffit is great for selling books, DVDs, CDs and games, and is easy to use. All you need to do is scan the barcode on the books and it will give you an instant price. You can complete an online trade with Ziffit, package up all the goods and use their free courier service to drop off or send your items. Then you’ll get paid via bank transfer or Paypal. Olio is a useful app for sharing things locally, especially unwanted food that’s still in date.

WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) is the fastest growing type of waste in the UK. Look locally for WEEE recycling or into places like John Lewis and Curry’s. Curry’s will recycle your electricals for free even if you didn’t buy it from them. While IKEA furniture is fairly easy to shift on Facebook Marketplace, IKEA also has a scheme where they buy back assembled furniture.

Get an organiser to keep everything in one place and keep your cleaning goals on track
Image credit: Martha Brook

Update your supplies

You don’t need to buy any storage before you start decluttering, but you should have all the cleaning products needed stocked up. Decluttering is the perfect time to deep clean, as you’ll have everything out of the cupboards and drawers, and moving and getting behind them is easy.

Microfibre cloths are great for cleaning shelves, but make sure your cloths are clean before you start, so you’re not adding more dirt. Invest in a sonic scrubber, a Mrs Hinch favourite and surefire way of making post-declutter cleaning super easy.

As well as updating your supplies, stock your cupboards with the three essentials: lemons, white wine vinegar and bicarbonate of soda for post declutter spring cleaning. They are a trio of ingredients that will transform your cleaning and can be used on so many household appliances.

Keep your cleaning station easy to access and well stocked
Image credit: Joseph & Joseph

Start with storage areas

Got a hall cupboard that you can’t bear to open? Us too. Storage areas are prime dumping grounds and should be tackled first. By decluttering and deep cleaning these areas, you might find you’ve got space for storing key items in a much better way.

And it’s not just hall cupboards that become cluttered, look at your coat racks and shoe racks too. As the first port of call as you walk in your front door, they can become a dumping ground for the family. Streamline what you have there, as in only the shoes and coats you wear every day, and work with the principles of Feng Shui.

Feng shui experts suggest starting with your hallway, as this symbolises the entrance to your sanctuary. Make it as minimal as possible.

“Always try to include a shoe rack, hooks for coats, and storage for rain gear/umbrellas, it’s important that all these items have their ‘own place to call home’ as they hold the energy of the world beyond your front door,” says Kristin Esposito, an interior architect, designer and student of feng shui.

Don’t forget to add a chic key rack, so your keys are not in a messy jumble on your hall table and you’ll always be able to find them when leaving the house.

Get drawer organisers to keep to make sure everything has it's own place
Image credit: Harvey Jones x Swoon

Quick sorting wins

To get you started, it can be a good idea to plan in some quick wins to get you into the decluttering momentum. First up, the junk drawer. We all have them. A console table drawer in the hall full of old pens, a miscellaneous drawer in the kitchen with takeaway menus and rogue elastic bands. Set aside 30 minutes and clear it: the dopamine hit will keep you going to the next task.

Linen cupboards are a great quick win. Get rid of old, unused bedlinen sets. Anything torn or worn has got to go. The same with towels, we often have far more towels than we need. A handy way to store each of your bedlinen sets is to fold the duvet cover and pillows into one of the pillow cases, so next time you go to change your bedlinen you won’t be scrabbling around to find things.

Overflowing bookshelves are another place you can get a quick decluttering win. Take anything you know you’ll never read to your local charity shop or Oxfam bookshop.

Paperwork is another win that will feel so satisfying to clear. Gather together every scrap of paper work from around the house and sort each piece on the kitchen or dining room table into categories. Get a shredder for any old bank statements and download apps for each company. Paperless is the way forward, so once you’ve done a big declutter it won’t accumulate again. Get one neat filing cabinet for any important documents you need to keep.

Another quick decluttering win is to put all your old manuals in the recycling bin. Most items have a digital manual, so if you need to consult it, you can just go online.

You can also play the minimalism game to get started, which is where you set aside a month and on the first day you remove one item from your home and on the second it’s two. Keep going until you reach 30 or 31 items at the end of the month.

If you’ve got kids, your toy boxes are probably overflowing. Streamline what they don’t play with anymore or anything that’s broken, then put the toys left in easy to access baskets with lids.

Start your decluttering with the quick wins
Image credit: Orthex

How to build decluttering into your daily life

A one-off declutter will feel incredible, but it’s incorporating the habits seamlessly into your everyday life where you’ll really begin the reap the rewards of a less stressful life. Having a clutter basket (H&M and Dunelm both have a good collection of wicker baskets) is a good way to collect items in one place and then you can empty it at the end of each day.

Another decluttering tip is to try is the five messes method. Split any clutter into five categories: rubbish, laundry, dishes, things that have a place and things that don’t. This is a great habit to get into for your daily tasks and can keep you on track if the house feels overwhelming.

It’s worth pointing out that it can be a good idea to analyse what you’re bringing into your home too. Buying less stuff will mean fewer places to find homes, and giving everything its own place really is the only way to beat clutter.

Kit out your pantry with organised storage to make it easy to see what you need to restock
Image credit: Nkuku