Photo of the kitchen of the Plum Guide House, the Ivory Mansion with two wicker chairs placed in front a window that looks out to the garden

Decluttering tips for a successful spring clean

April 2, 2019

Psychologist and spatial expert, Helen Sanderson shares her top tips for decluttering your home and mind in time for spring with Google Home Hub.

Photo of the kitchen of the Plum Guide House, the Ivory Mansion with two wicker chairs placed in front a window that looks out to the garden

Image: Ivory Mansion, Plum Guide

As we prepare to set our clocks forward for the first day of spring, it’s time to start thinking turning over a new leaf – and what better way than with a spring clean of home and mind.

Google’s Digital Wellbeing initiative has teamed up with the Plum Guide and Helen Sanderson to share some top tips for decluttering the home and improving wellbeing, by using a five-stage gardening metaphor. Connecting decluttering to gardening helps transform the task from something that can seem daunting into an activity that people can enjoy.

Read on to learn more about Helen’s tried-and-tested decluttering method:

Prepare for gardening

A photo of the Plum Guide house. the Ivory Mansion's white kitchen with white dining table and chairs and a white storage cabinet

Image: Ivory Mansion, Plum Guide

“Letting go is about making space for the new: this might be for a creative project, relationship or new opportunity. It’s better to create a purposeful vacuum than just an empty space.

  • Prepare yourself mentally for letting go. Sit down, meditate and write down goals and objectives for the declutter project.
  • Display your goals so you can refer back to them if you get stuck.

Tip: Google Home Hub can be used to help with meditation, simply say ‘Ok Google, let’s meditate’ and Namaste! To get you warmed up, turn the heating up a notch with Nest, just say ‘Ok Google, turn the heating up’.”


Photo of the Plum Guide house. the Ivory Mansion's white scheme bedroom with Google Home Hub placed on a bedside table

Image: Ivory Mansion, Plum Guide

“This is the hardest part of the process, so once you’re in the right frame of mind, set aside some dedicated time with no distractions.

  • Go quickly and systematically through your things.
  • Place what you want to keep in a ‘keep it pile’ and separate out what you want to ‘weed’.
  • Be honest – denial is one of the ways we convince ourselves to keep things. If you’ve not used it in 12 months, you probably never will.

Tip: If you’re worried about distractions, put your phone on silent or try using Pixel 3’s ‘Do Not Disturb’ or ‘Flip to Shhh’ mode.”


A photo of the Plum Guide house, the Ivory Mansion's storage area with wall hanging for house keys

Image: Ivory Mansion, Plum Guide

“Now you’ve cleared the weeds, decide where you want your flowers to go.

  • Take your ‘keep it pile’ and categorise it into groups of similar items. Then decide where it makes sense to keep or display them.
  • Every room and drawer needs a particular purpose. If your study is also a storage space, creative workshop and yoga space, it’s not surprising it can become cluttered and you’ll be less likely to use it how you want to.
  • Play calming music while you work to concentrate on the task at hand. Stick with instrumental music as there are no lyrics to distract you.

Tip: Tell Home Hub to ‘remember’ where your important documents or belongings are being kept, such as your passport or car keys, this will help you with the transition process.”


A photo of the Plum Guide house, the Ivory Mansion's shabby chic, white scheme bedroom

Image: Ivory Mansion, Plum Guide

“Just like you keep up with the weeding and pruning, it’s vital to maintain your organised space.

  • Practice the ‘one in, one out’ principle – when you buy something new, recycle or give an item to charity.
  • Paperwork accumulates fast. Avoid clutter by switching to paper-free bank and utility statements. The less you have coming in, the more mental space you have for being present and enjoying life.
  • Build your ‘organisation muscle’ by setting house rules, not just for kids, but for you too! Make chores easy and front of mind by automatically scheduling your daily tasks and this will support your wellbeing.

Tip: Ask your Pixel 3 or Home Hub where the nearest charity shop is and when it’s open. You can even set an alert on Home Hub to remind you to drop the clothing at the store.”

Green shoots

A photo of the Plum Guide house, the Ivory Mansion's en suite bathroom

Image: Ivory Mansion, Plum Guide

“Just like gardening, after the clearing process, green shoots start to appear.

  • Procrastination is often the key reason people put off a spring clean. It can be daunting to delve into the process of decluttering, and excuses will crop up to delay the task at hand. The best way to tackle the ‘procrastination monster’ is simply to begin. Once you start, suddenly the task will seem manageable.
  • Once the clutter is cleared, it’s not uncommon to uncover seedlings of an aspiration that had been forgotten about, from writing a short story to finally using your art supplies and settling down to paint. Your home can support any changes as you grow into the new you.

Tip: Maintain the space for growth in your life by using the Google Digital Wellbeing app or other wellbeing trackers. This helps you to see how often you use your phone, what habits make you feel good and what you’d like to change.”


Speaking about decluttering, Helen says, “Keeping your home in order is not only beneficial to your physical space, but can also bring about a psychological change. When you realise that our mental, physical and digital spaces are all interconnected, you can create a powerful synergy to support your wellbeing, both in your space and in your mind.”

“Using helpful tech such as a Google Pixel 3 phone and Google Home Hub can help to kick start the decluttering process. Features like Pixel’s ‘Flip to Shhh’ prevent distractions from interrupting your thoughts, and Home Hub can help you to maintain the hard work by setting regular reminders. You can also listen to meditation music to help you focus on your decluttering goals.”


What are your top tips for decluttering your home and mind? Let us know by tweeting us @goodhomesmag or posting a comment on our Facebook page.



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