Each new year presents an opportunity for a fresh start. Whether this be in our careers, social lives, or living situations. Decluttering is a popular trend at the beginning of the year, as it gives us a fresh perspective and outlook on our homes. Plus most of us have a bit of time off at the start of January, which makes for the perfect opportunity to declutter.

However, when getting rid of things we no longer use, the temptation to simply bag everything up and throw it away is always there. It’s much quicker and easier to fill up a trailer and take it straight to the dump, instead of sorting through and passing on or selling our old things. But our wasteful actions are leading to much bigger issues, and wreaking havoc on our environment. 

Here are five simple steps for decluttering your home in a more sustainable manner. 

1. Pick a focus area
It’s important not to bite off more than you can chew. Decluttering is a big task and can not be done in one day. Start with a small area, like your bedside table or your bathroom drawers, and give yourself a reasonable timeframe to declutter. Even if you choose one small area each week, in a few months time, the difference will be huge.

2. Change your perspective
If you’re unsure what needs to go, take a look at what you have in your house that you have not used in the past year. It’s likely that if you haven’t used an item in a year, you won’t use it in the future. Another way to start is by taking photos around your home and looking at the photos at what does not need to be there. Remember, your home doesn’t need to resemble a catalogue. A modest mix of necessary furniture items and comfort items are all you need.

3. Avoid putting items into storage
Going out and buying storage containers is only useful if they are going to hold the items that you really want to keep. While they might look neat and pretty, they can often take up even more room and simply hide the mess we don’t want to touch. The best way is to declutter first and choose storage items that will fit in and function with your space second.

4. Let things go
We usually keep things because we believe we might use them one day, but often when that time comes, we can’t even find them. It’s better to let go of items we don’t use on a regular basis and have more room to move instead. Join your local community page on Facebook and post items you’d like to get rid of there - you might end up giving them to a better home. If passing on your things to charity, always remember to only give away what you would buy yourself. If the item is broken beyond repair or mouldy, it might be time to throw it out.

5. Complete each area
We often start the decluttering process by sorting our things into rubbish, giveaways and keep piles. But once you’ve decided where your items will go, the effort to actually take them there can be a little too much. So the items sit in a corner of your house, or in your car, for months. Finishing your decluttering process straight away will make you feel far more accomplished, we promise.