Jump Start January: Week 2 Day 2

So it’s the second day of Declutter Week, and time for another manageable declutter. All the declutters are things you can do in 15 minutes or less, so you make progress without getting stuck in an overwhelming situation. You can just tick along, knowing that it all adds up to something useful after seven days.

declutter week jump start january week 2 day 2

Today’s another physical declutter, and it’s the Clear One Shelf exercise. Ever looked at a whole bookshelf, cupboard or other piece of display storage and felt daunted by the mess? Decided to get around to it later, and eventually ended up not bothering? Me too. But no more – you can just kill the clutter one shelf at a time instead.

What are you going to pick?

  • A shelf on a bookcase
  • One level of a display unit
  • The top of a bookcase or sideboard
  • A single shelf inside a cupboard

Here it is:

  • Think about purpose first: Should the contents of this shelf be beautiful, useful, or a mixture of the two? Decide before you start.
  • Empty the items: Quickly move everything off the shelf and onto a nearby table, or into a box.
  • Clean up: A quick dust or a wipe with a lightly dampened cloth should be all that’s needed, unless you have to polish some wooden furniture.
  • Sort out the clutter into defined categories: Working as fast as you can – setting a timer if necessary – sort into piles to A) Keep on this shelf, B) Keep but put away somewhere else, C) Keep but mend first,  D) Give to charity or sell, E) Put in recycling, F) Throw away in the bin. Try to only pick each item up once, and remember to make quick decisions or you may find yourself becoming sidetracked.
  • Add organisation: If it’s in a display area you can use attractive baskets or storage boxes that fit with your home decor (or what you’d like your home decor to become), to keep any ‘useful but not beautiful’ possessions tidy and reduce visual mess. You might also like to add a paper tray, a letter rack, picture frames or a mini notice board.
  • Put important chosen items back: Make sure any practical items you use most often are the most easily accessible. Display anything beautiful in a prominent position to make the most of it.
  • Make a shopping list (optional): Buy what you need sooner rather than later, if you can afford it. Otherwise, add to a wish list.
  • Get rid of recycling, items to sell, charity donations and rubbish: Get the rubbish and recycling out of your house immediately, so the job feels completed. Take charity donations to the collection point today or at the latest by the end of this coming weekend. Get the remaining items mended or listed for sale by the end of the weekend too.

As a side note, some people are minimalists by nature and can happily declutter to bring some space and simplicity into their home. However, if that simply isn’t your style then please don’t worry because the end result will still be ‘you’, even if you’re a maximalist – concentrate on making it look your kind of gorgeous, and think of the process as removing the bad stuff so that more of the good stuff can be seen and showcased.

I’m sorting out an overloaded yet badly stocked shelf in a kitchen cupboard, and adding missing items to this week’s grocery list. What are you going to declutter?

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  1. Totally lovin yer “1 shelf at a time” idea, I had set myself a “1 cupboard a week” challenge. The challenge isn’t really gettin myself 2 do it tho, its findin the time 2 do it when workin full-time & avin a 1yr old who constantly wants 2 walk holdin yer hands! I had thot the 1 cupboard idea wud make the process more manageable but 1 shelf mite b easier! I just ave 2 resist the urge 2 beat myself bout it takin longer!

  2. Hi Alli,

    Yes, I think it’s better to do a small amount of decluttering and to do it properly from start to finish, rather than get half-way through and feel dejected or simply to be put off from trying at all. Completing a task is better for your self confidence!

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