Declutter your life and save

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Take a look around you. Do you really need all of the things you’ve collected over the years? If the answer is ‘no’ or even ‘not really’, then maybe it’s time to declutter.

The beauty of decluttering is that it not only frees space around the house, but it also clears your headspace and enables you to live a simpler, more efficient life – because too much clutter can make you feel as if your life is out of control. You may also be surprised that living a simpler life will save you time and, perhaps more importantly, money.

A clean and clutter-free living area is also more mentally relaxing than cluttered spaces.

But how will decluttering save you money?

Well, for starters, you’ll buy less. Once you’ve committed to a more frugal lifestyle, you’ll most likely buy fewer groceries and feel a lesser need to keep updating your clothes. You’ll also be able to maximise the use of what you own, mainly because you’ll be able to find things more easily.

You’ll also be more likely to second-guess your future purchases, because, once you’ve decluttered and arranged things accordingly, rather than impulse buying, you’ll want to consider where to store new purchases. If they don’t have a place or real need, then they may not be worth the purchase.

And once you’ve decluttered, you can sell the things you don’t need, which could potentially be a rewarding source of income. In a sense, you’ll be earning money and saving at the same time. But let’s declutter first – we’ll get to the selling part later.

  • Decluttering requires commitment. If you don’t think you can see the process through, why not enlist the help of a friend to help keep you on track?
  • If you use something regularly, keep it. If you haven’t used it for a year, maybe it’s time to get rid of it. Or if you can’t bring yourself to do so, box the item and store it. If you don’t access that box for another year then get rid of the contents.
  • Don’t try and do the whole house at once, do it in small bits, one room at a time.
  • When it comes to clearing your drawers, empty them out entirely. Then file anything that’s important, and throw out anything you never use. Be brutal – if it hasn’t seen the light in a year or more, throw it out. Organise your remaining items in viewable sections that are easily accessible.
  • Don’t clean when you’re decluttering. It’s easy to become distracted and start cleaning instead of the main job at hand, which is organising and discarding. Declutter first, clean later.
  • Once you’ve sorted through your items, leave it a couple of days then repeat the sorting process. With a little separation from the emotional aspect of decluttering, you may find that you feel so good about being free from the clutter that you want to get rid of more stuff.


Once you’re done sifting through your things, put everything you no longer need into one of three piles:

  1. Rubbish. Only unsalvageable items should go into your rubbish pile. Remember, though, that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so, in theory, this should be your smallest pile.
  2. Donation. If it’s in good quality, but not really worth selling, then put it in your donation pile. Old books, old clothes (in good condition), kitchen utensils or old tools and sports equipment may not be useful to you, but could help someone in need.
  3. Sale. You may be tidying to free yourself from clutter, but it doesn’t mean you can’t make a tidy profit from your discarded items, some of which you may have spent a lot of money on at the time of purchase. Why not sell them and get some money in return? Next week, we’ll show you how to do just that.

In the meantime, do you have any good tips for decluttering? Why not share them?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 23
  1. 0

    I have a tip: send your husband away for a weeks holiday then get stuck in and throw all the clutter our before he gets back. Of course be prepared for the backlash, but that’s when you go on your holiday.

    • 0

      Lets hope he throws out all your stuff when you’re out. Like most women that will be about 90% of all the junk.

    • 0

      You have to watch out though. When I was at uni in the late 60s I sold vintage at the markets. I’d collected some fabulous irreplaceable dresses and lingerie as well as 19th century Christmas decorations, all blown glass and hand painted lanterns etc. My husband threw the two tea chests full out during a declutter. I just hope someone at the tip got them.

      I also flung mum’s complete collection of Women’s Journal out. Hundreds of magazines worth from $30 to $50 each.

      Those are the breaks I suppose.

    • 0

      Oh yes – definitely have to send them elsewhere for a clean out or its more like a clean up.
      I got all my grandkids fiddly toys out and put them on the dining room table. I then said to create a pile of keep and not keep.
      NOTHING went into the not keep pile. I could only laugh to myself – silly Nana – I forget my 101 training. Don’t ask.

    • 0

      WOMEN are the ones who buy most of the crap. Just go to any shopping mall and see for yourself.

    • 0

      Knows-a-lots that’s right and then they want to throw out what little the guy has so they can buy more. But two can play that game and they have so much more to lose. All women need is some washing up gloves , an apron and some clothes to wear when they mow the lawn. First thing to go is all those shoes, and don’t give them any money to buy more. 🙂

    • 0

      My dear husband is the hoarder. The double garage is choker block full of his crap. I respect him enough to sort his own shit out. I of course have a double garage as a craft room. But mines not crap ????

    • 0

      Crafty that’s priceless, his double garage is full of crap but your double garage is full of great stuff. At least you don’t wait for him to go on holidays and throw his stuff out. That’s disgusting behaviour, that some women think is ok but would be very put out if he did it to them.

  2. 0

    Not so much clutter these days but I have some really good quality classic “made in Australia” clothes I just can’t part with and tend to wear them at least a couple of times a year.
    However the every day clothes one wears and the slightly dressier ones I go shopping in I turn all of them inside out on the clothes hangers and if any of them are still “inside out” after two seasons I take them to Vinnies. I am obviously no enamoured with them but somebody else may get use from them.

    I’ve had a couple of garage sales when moving home (downsizing) but so much of what I have put out doesn’t sell because nobody wants the beautiful ornaments and bone china tea sets etc. People will say sell them on-line, but that’s no my go. I have two beautiful tea sets (6 pieces) cup, saucer, plate etc. one set a wedding present in 1965 and the other my mother-in-law’s wedding present in the early 1930’s. Neither of these sets created any interest at my garage sales and eventually I took them out of the sideboard and placed them in some Chiswell wall furniture to display them. I can see when I leave this earth more than half my household items will be useless to modern living.

    • 0

      I don’t go for the clothes thing, jeans and shirt, I don’t dress to impress. Clean and payed for. But I do agree no one seems to care about good quality China these days. The younger generation knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    • 0

      Absolutely Mitzy. My parents 1975 outdoor umbrella is still going strong and my two “expensive” made in the Philippines umbrellas have lasted one season with plastic fatigue snapping them in half. What a waste of money!
      I am so waiting for Australian industry to start turning the wheels again. We are tired of junk.

  3. 0

    In a wonderful Japanese book on decluttering the author (sorry returned to library so no details) suggested that if an item failed to produce in you feelings of pleasure because you really like it, or gratitude because it is useful, then pass it on. We are fortunate in Australia in that most of us are able to do this, at least with the small things.

    • 0

      Yes I read that book, it is called ‘The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up’ by Marie ‘KonMari’ Kondo, she claims to have invented her style of tidying up. I found some helpful tips but a lot of it was irrelevant.

    • 0

      It’s a shame we don’t have a good hard think before we buy it, that would save a lot of money as well. Some people’s houses are like ware houses, in one end , gets bored with it, goes out then buys more and start again. All the while having less money in the bank.

  4. 0

    Given that greed and materialism are at an all-time high, this is great advice, but it’s rather unlikely to appeal to many nowadays, sadly.

  5. 0

    I have been on a constant decluttering for years now. It is very time consuming. I started with the biggest things first as they take up a lot of room and work your way to the things that take more time. I find grabbing a box of things and sorting whilst watching TV or sitting in the sun makes it more pleasant. Just set a target of one spot, one box, one cupboard, one room or area and even if it takes you all week it will get done. Be careful not to put things in a spot where you will deal with it later. If keeping put it in a keeping box, also have a throw out box and a donate box, and possibly selling box, keep them in view so you can add to it all the time.

  6. 0

    I recently decluttered and gave away my smaller clothes that no longer fit to charity. My daughter took a vintage summer dress that she is wearing today. I have a 5 minute a day throw out. The rules are keep charity and rubbish.

  7. 0

    I have no need to declutter as I only buy what I really need and that is not very much at all.

  8. 0

    Best way to de-clutter your life is to get rid of the b#tch

  9. 0

    We had some renovations done about 2 years ago and boxed up items and placed in the shed for a few months. It was amazing the items that we didn’t miss, so didn’t bring back into the house. After 12 months gave them away.

  10. 0

    I love clutter. Houses are to be lived in and if anything gets tossed, I can just about guarantee I need it the next day, even if I haven’t used it for ages. My partner has his clutter and I have mine and we have lived together relatively happily for 42 years. So each to their own and don’t be ashamed if, like me, you love clutter.

    • 0

      Refreshing comment, so many want to live in an office type sterile environment that they call home. Clutter is only a problem if the vermin move in, so keep it moving around the house and check behind the cupboards occasionally. I find that those who have a lot of money don’t keep many things because they have the security of being able to afford to buy another one. I have been living frugal for years and some of the things I have kept have come in handy more than once. I also like to reuse, re-purpose, and make do. I have saved many things from the neighbours who throw so much good stuff out and even made money on their throwaways.



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