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Purge the stuff that no longer serves you!

Posted By Marilynh / January 23, 2019 / 0 Comments

And we’re not talking about your partner or spouse! 

Early on in the new year,
get rid of some of the clutter that have become life’s little annoyances. 

YEI gives you tips on how to declutter in 20-minute time bursts!


 seniors decluttering



Generally, the YEI team are not great believers in New Year’s Resolutions.  However, it kind of makes sense to start off a new year on a good footing, and decluttering seems to be top of mind for many of us who are of an age where our belongings are no longer terribly relevant to us.  The stuff that we have collected over the years is fast becoming one of life’s little annoyances – it’s time to purge and get rid of the clutter and live a more minimalist life…

Here are some great tips to get you started on your decluttering journey in this New Year…


Set your timer

Declutter in 20-minute time bursts!  Your new year sorting and culling spree will not seem quite like a chore or burden, and it’s amazing what you can do in 20 minutes!  Keep the momentum up though in order to see your way clear to a clean, clear, minimalistic space.


Wrapping paper, ribbon and all things gift-wise

 We’re all guilty of this.  Present-wrapping and then shoving all the unusable scraps of paper and ribbon bits back into your gift-wrap drawer.  Go through the gift-wrap drawer and using an empty Carlton towel roll or loo roll, roll up your usable left-over gift wrap and ribbon bits, and store it neatly.  Turf everything else that’s too small to use.


Festive food and pantry extras

We all over-do it in the festive season when it comes to holiday feasts and Christmas baking sessions.  It’s inevitable that there is surplus in our pantries.  Instead of packing it away until next festive season (half packets of cherries and dates, unused Christmas pudding, excess dried fruit etc etc), why not fill up a bag with all the left-over bits and pieces and give it away to a charitable organisation. 


christmas decorations


Christmas decorations

By the time you read this, we are way beyond Twelfth Night, traditionally when one is expected to pack away Christmas decorations until the following year.  But consider getting the Christmas decorations storage box down and get rid of those items that didn’t get a look in this year – decorations that never made it out of the box on to the tree or the shelf.  Why let these languish in the storage box for another year.  How about tossing them to someone else who might enjoy using them next Christmas, testing the lights to ensure they work and ensure you only keep well-loved, treasured Christmas decs.


Linen cupboard

It’s likely you have had hoards of visitors over the festive season, and your linen cupboard is a right royal mess.  You’d probably give your eye teeth to open a neat and orderly linen cupboard.  Get rid of all the linen and bath/hand towels plus accessories you don’t use – a local charity will be most happy to receive your unwanted linen. 


linen cupboard



Now remember, that Rome wasn’t built in a day, so you can’t tackle everything at once. 

Stick to your timer rule and you’ll find that decluttering becomes something you look forward to, not that arduous chore that will put you off decluttering for the rest of 2019. 

And don’t forget, the less stuff you have, the less time you need to spend cleaning. 

Now wouldn’t that be a treat?!



YEI spoke to two decluttering experts
and asked what tips they could give you once you start decluttering:


Heidi Meyer of Cloud 9 Organised recommends that you gather your supplies, narrow your focus and get into a ruthless frame of mind!

Gather your supplies

Before starting, gather your supplies.  This helps to save time and get the job done quickly.  Consider having:

  • Different colour heavy duty bags e.g. green for paper recycling, clear for plastic recycling, and orange for soft donations such as clothes and linen;
  • Boxes for fragile items for donations;
  • And containers which you can categorise and pack away the smaller possessions onto shelves.

Narrow down your focus 

Don’t haul out everything out of a cupboard. Focus on one drawer, one shelf, one category, one room at a time.  If you don’t, you’ll start feeling overwhelmed very quickly.

Be ruthless 

Get rid of stuff no longer needed, loved or wanted. This also applies to stuff given to you by someone.  Do not get distracted. The less we have, the more we use.  Be very critical of items wanting to be kept and don’t be offended if your children don’t want your sentimental pieces. Someone else might love and use them. Toss broken or incomplete items.

Where to take donations? 

Your domestic helper, an orphanage, a family member, a friend, a shelter or welfare. It creates a sense of wellbeing if you know that your unwanted items will make someone else happy and will be used.  Load up these items that you want to donate away as soon as possible so that they don’t creep back into your home.



Judith Penny of All Sorted agrees that it does take time and effort to start with, but if you apply the following tips and adopt these habits, you should never have to do a major overhaul again.

A place for everything and everything in its place

Putting something away is so much easier when you know where it belongs. Think about the best spot to put something and ensure that you put it away in the same spot every time.

Don’t put it down, put it away, and do it now

It’s so tempting to put the keys down on the kitchen counter, or leave your gym bag at the front door because it’s easy or you are in a hurry. But that always causes more work later. Rather put the items away right away and you will be able to find them easily when you need them next.

File, don’t pile and don’t print

Keep all your paperwork in one spot and then set aside time on a regular basis to sort and file. Make sure you have a filing system that works for you, that’s simple and easy. Open post with a recycling bin handy.Think twice before you print unnecessary documents. Try and get as many bills as you can sent to you electronically to avoid more paper pile up.

If in doubt, throw it out….

Learn to let go of some belongings. Don’t hold onto things for the wrong reasons. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I love it?
  • Do I use it?
  • Why am I keeping it?

Only keep what you use and love.

Quality over quantity

It’s better to have fewer items – all of which you need, love and use; than a home filled with things that have no meaning. Remember that your things, photographs, treasures and collections are meant to bring joy to your life. If you cannot see the items, how can they bring you joy?

Take five…

Take a few minutes before you go to bed every night, and do a quick tidy up. Take all the dirty dishes to the kitchen, clear the kitchen surfaces, pick up newspapers and put them in recycling, return things to their rightful homes. It will be worth it in the morning!

Think twice before you buy….

The best way to stay organised is to stop clutter before it starts! Whenever you want to bring something new into your home and space, remember you have to get rid of something old.  Every time you want to buy an item, ask yourself:  do I have somewhere to store it? Do you have something to wear with it? Do I really need it?  Be mindful when shopping, think twice and remember that a bargain is not a bargain unless you will use it, and it has a place in your home.


All too much for you?

Consider contacting:

Heidi Meyer
Cloud 9 Organised
Professional Organiser / Speaker / Trainer
Located in Gauteng, but travels nationally
Mobile: 073 621 3316
Cloud 9 offers a senior discount


Judith Penny
All Sorted
All Sorted operates in the Western Cape, but is happy to travel
Mobile:  082 926 3531
All Sorted offers a pensioner discount






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