Where do you start if you want to do a major de-clutter?

It’s a great time of the year to do a de-clutter of your home says EIMEAR HUTCHINSON, who shares some of her top tips
Where do you start if you want to do a major de-clutter?

It's a good time of year to do a clear-out and tidy of your home, says Eimear. Picture: Stock

JUDGING by the special buys in supermarkets and the offers in numerous home and DIY stores on storage solutions, I don’t think I am the only person in the country to think about decluttering and sorting out the house in January.

After Christmas, it’s like an itch I have to scratch, to cleanse the house after the, albeit lovely, feeling of having it crammed full of decorations, garlands, food, presents, and all the rest.

I have to admit our house always feels like it is full to the brim, with four small ladies and a mother like me who buys craft supplies with gusto, we have accumulated a lot of stuff; art, clothes, toys, sports gear and things that just seem to seep into every corner of the house.

Thankfully, we are edging towards a stage where the youngest has grown out of the baby paraphernalia so as soon as the girls go back to school, and their backs are turned, all the baby gear and toys are going to better homes.

So that will be one less plethora of things to tidy and re-tidy every other day.


When I think about de-cluttering the house, or even just some of the rooms in it, I honestly immediately get totally overwhelmed. I know though that the whole task of de-cluttering and sorting is a process filled with stages we must cycle through before we get to the hit of elation the end brings about. 

After the feeling of being overwhelmed has passed, I am usually hit with a powerful burst of energy, necessary if you are going to tackle any job, no matter how big or small.


I usually start off with small jobs to get me into the swing of things. The medicine cabinet is a great place to start, throw out any medicines or creams that have gone off or won’t be used again, take a breather and count how many bottles of Calpol you have (ours currently stands at seven, all in date, go figure!),

Lastly, do a check and see if there is anything you need to get so that you aren’t caught out in the middle of the night.

Get sorting...
Get sorting...


When I kick-start a de-cluttering mission, I find it helpful to start by designating piles; one for the things that must go back into the place they came out of, then piles for recycling, throwing out, donating, and there is usually a pile required for the items that need to go back to their rightful home.


My biggest tip when de-cluttering an area is to stick at that one job until it is done. I used to have a habit of starting a load of different tasks at once, and I can tell you that is not a good idea.

I end up getting to the stage of having pulled everything out and then I can’t cope with the work to be done and I walk away, making the whole thing far more painful and drawn out than it needs to be!


Start your de-cluttering early in the day when your enthusiasm and energy is at its height. It also gives you time to get the job finished in that one day. After my initial burst of enthusiasm I am always hit by despondency, predictably when I have taken everything out and realise I am the one that has to put it all back. I try and have this feeling coincide with lunchtime, it gives me the break I need, the re-energising that I require, and I am ready for action after a good feed.


I generally do a small project like a few drawers and then a big project like the garage, after that I wear myself out for a few days so I go back and forth between small and big job.

I would love to say I will get the whole house sorted and organised by the end of January, but I won’t. I will tackle the areas that are bothering me now, then I’ll leave it when life takes over again and I turn a blind eye to it all.


Whether you plan on tackling your whole house or even just a drawer, I would encourage you to, it is cathartic. I know it is cliched to say tidy house, tidy mind, and to be honest I could de-clutter the house from here until eternity and it still wouldn’t be tidy because children always prefer to leave shoes, coats, clothes and toys on the ground. And that’s fine too, the house will be perfect for long enough when they have moved out. I de-clutter so that the areas I use frequently function for me as well as they can, so that I spend the day as efficiently as possible, for a while anyway!

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