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How to declutter your home

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Making a home a clutter-free environment requires buy-in from all, says our expert

This week our expert answers questions related to clutter in the home.

Q Can you suggest how to work with a partner or house-mate who is not as enthusiastic about the simple, sustainable, clutter-free life? I’ve reduced my belongings to mostly aesthetically pleasing necessities, but I feel bad pressuring another person to live a certain way.

A Talking openly is the first step – no letting dishes fester in the sink while you explode on the inside. It’s helpful to organise your space so it’s set up for success. If, for instance, someone always leaves change on the kitchen table, set up a central spot where change can be deposited instead. In terms of sustainability, the more folks know, the more committed they get. A gentle suggestion about a book, documentary or learning experience you guys can do together might inspire your partner to get on board.

Read: No clutter, no mutter

           Culling the clutter

           Minimalism rids your life of clutter and materialism

Q Most of the time it’s just me in my small house. Sometimes I think about getting rid of all the extra plates and glasses and such, but then guests come to stay and everything is used so I keep them. I hate plastic cups and paper plates. How do you balance what you and your family need every day versus what you might need when others come?

A There are days when I wish we could have just the number of dishes we need for our family, but welcoming folks into our house is lovely. I believe in striking a balance between being “prepared for anything” and not feeling overcrowded. Three extra guest towels and four sets of sheets aren’t necessary.

Q I have a 74m² home and a toddler. Any tips for controlling clutter, especially the extra car seats, bikes and pushchair? I don’t have a garage and feel as if I could drown in toys. I am trying to maximise vertical space. Any other tips?

A Having children means contending with a fair amount of clutter even for those us of who try to keep it at bay. We’re in less than 46m² with two children, so we’ve started from a place of trying to do without as much as possible. For things we can’t live without, we’ve done our very best to clear places in cupboards and under beds for stashing unsightly gear. If there’s something I like looking at, I’ll take it out of storage and put something less attractive (like a car seat) into that spot. And a small scooter instead of a bike, for instance, takes up much less storage space. – Washington Post

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