I think the success of this year's declutter efforts is down to identifying and working on just one area of the house at a time. In fact, I feel like passing on some of my handy tips:
- tackle a small area at a time. The understairs cupboard in one go, or a single chest of drawers. If you have more energy when you finish, tackle another small-ish area.
- anything broken or damaged should go in the discard pile
- for everything else, ask yourself whether you will use the item again. If not, there is a case for discarding it. But you don't have to get rid of everything. I find it is perfectly OK to have stuff in the cupboards that is used only occasionally. Just like boxes of Christmas decorations, ice-cream makers that come out once or twice a year may be stored on the same principle.
- clear plastic storage boxes are exceptionally useful. The see-through sides have an important psychological effect, in my opinion, as it is not possible to stash things away completely out of sight.
- organisation is the key to future reduction. In much the same way that planning meals can result in less money spent on food, organising your wardrobe can lead to less expenditure on clothes, as it becomes astoundingly obvious that you have more than enough pairs of black work trousers, and a dearth of shoes to go with them, in my case ;-) Save money, buy only what you need, lead a more sustainable life. Win-win-win.
If you want more advice, try the organized home. That's by far the best declutter site I found on the web, and I vastly prefer it to Flylady's continual exhortations to shine your sink (talk about email clutter...!!)