I Can See Clearly Now

21 weeks ago
22 minute read
By Jessica Mackenzie

Whether you are moving out, moving on or just looking to get organised for spring, now is the time to treat your home to a big clear out. Not only will your physical living space look better for it but your headspace will be that much healthier too…


“The space in which you live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.” So said organising consultant Marie Kondo who popularised our obsession with streamlined surfaces and a ninja style folding.


Kondo disciple or not, most of us would agree that when it comes to getting what we want out of life, it’s about projecting as opposed to procrastinating. Cue a new-season clear out. You can be sure your future self will thank you for it whatever direction her life is headed in.


“Clutter can weigh you down,” says Zoë Berry, co-owner of LIFE / EDIT Home Organisation. With a team of six professional organisers who blitz properties in pairs, LIFE / EDIT offers both decluttering and staging services for time-poor parents and house movers alike. “I think lockdown in particular has made people realise how hard it is to concentrate with the ‘noise’ that all our belongings can create. It can be very distracting.”



Once a full declutter is complete, rooms can be repurposed allowing you to get on with the business of living rather than feeling lost, literally and metaphorically, in years’ worth of stuff. Zoë reports that after a LIFE / EDIT clear out clients are happier to come home and have more time to focus on what they want to do – with some enjoying lifestyle overhauls as a result. “One of our first clients lost a lot of weight after our declutter because she finally had the time to focus on herself,” she recalls. “It can genuinely be life changing.”


Sounds appealing, but getting started can be easier said than done. “Most of our clients are busy mums who can often be overwhelmed by the prospect of a clear out,” says Zoë. So for the ‘too busy’ or the ‘just don’t know where to starts’, it’s an investment to call in the experts - and in more ways than one.


It could be that when it comes to the question of moving, you need a top-to-tail tidy to help answer the question of whether to stick or twist. “Sometimes it’s hard to feel inspired by our homes once we’ve been in them for a while and that can make us feel like moving,” says Francesca Hill, senior valuer from Coulters. “Decluttering allows you to create a blank canvas again and decide whether you just need to give your current home a re-fresh or if a new start is in order”. 


With that part done, you can geton with selling your biggest asset if you want to. “The amount of things you own shouldn’t affect the Home Report value of the house but can have a big impact on how much interest the house gets in terms of viewings and subsequent offers,” explains Francesca. “Properties are primarily judged on the photos potential buyers view online and offers are based on what they see upon viewing. People like to visualise themselves living in a space, and this is made much more difficult if the space is cluttered with the current owner’s personal items”. 



If you need help with a pre-listing or pre-packing up prep, Broughton Removals are not just about getting you from A to B but can be on hand to help clients with their packing service. “It can be a time consuming and emotionally laden experience which is why we offer our packing service,” explains Jo Munro, director of Broughton Removals. “Our experts can come in with a methodical and non-emotional approach to packing your belongings for transit or storage. This can be very well received especially for homeowners who are downsizing after many years living in their family home as they are then mentally and physically able to lose the old baggage and move on.”


“That’s why we always work in pairs,” adds Zoë of the LIFE / EDIT decluttering service. “That means whilst one person is working with the client on a  1:1 basis, helping them make decisions, the other can be sorting through items and putting them into bags for example. It makes the process very efficient but also helps the client feel supported.”


Equally, the stress and expense of actually moving house can be reduced, if you’re prepped for the packers arriving. “We always recommend starting in plenty of time – that way you have done all the necessary clearing out before it’s even time to get a removal quote,” says Jo. When that time comes, a member of the Broughton Removal’s team will visit your home and take a detailed list of what is being moved so it pays to be clutter free by that point.


If you’ve not managed that, then make sure the cupboards are cleared by the time it comes to packing – whether you’re doing it yourself or not. “Our professional packers will scoop up everything from broken toys to half packets of digestives. As the cost of moving is based on the volume consumed it’ll help keep costs down if they’re just packing what you truly need.”


When it comes to completing the process they also work with a number of partners to make sure that as many unwanted items as possible go onto good things rather than ending up as landfill. “As well as working with the key auction houses we often work with organisations such as social enterprise, All TogetherNow, and homeless charity, Edinburgh Furniture Initiative, that can uplift items to sell on,” says Jo.


If you’re going it alone, Jo stands by Kondo’s now ubiquitous question of ‘does it spark joy?’ as one of the best places to start. “Obviously a light bulb isn’t going to spark much joy so you also need to be practical but it does help start the process,” she says. So, with spring around the corner, isn’t it time to roll up your sleeves and start honouring that person we’re becoming, or at least aiming for?





Not sure where to start?  LIFE / EDIT breaks it down for you…

Step 1: Start small. Tackling a whole room, let alone a whole house, can be overwhelming so focus on one small project at a time. A children’s bookshelf in a bedroom or toy storage in a playroom are ideal projects. Ask yourself if you want to keep the item, pass it on to friends or siblings or donate. Anything that you’re keeping can then be put back but categorised into either colour or genre so that it looks and feels more curated. It’s a job that takes half an hour but can make a big difference.

Step 2: Take it one room at a time, but a kitchen – for example – can take two days even for a professional organising team so make sure to break it up into those smaller projects. With a kitchen you can even just break it down cupboard by cupboard. This also helps avoid the ‘what have I started?’ feeling that can come from pulling out everything in a room at once.

Step 3: Containment Is Key. Storage is essential, but before you dash out and buy all new containers, look around your home and see what you can repurpose. Biscuit tins and shoe boxes can make great storage containers. But remember to declutter first so you can gauge the amount of storage needed for the stuff you’re left with, not the stuff you’ve started with otherwise you’ve just fallen into the decluttering trap of simply decanting all your clutter into a nicer container.


Be Viewing Ready with these last minute decluttering tips from Coulters:
1: Don’t forget to empty the bins, no one wants a waft of old food when they walk through the door. 
2: Family photos need to go. Potential buyers want to imagine themselves in the space and your old holiday photos probably wouldn’t be their first choice of artwork. 
3: Personal documents and medication should also be stored out of sight. This is for your own privacy and safety. 
4: No Space? Pop things in the car. No one will be looking in your car so bag up any extras such as coats/shoes and children’s toys and put them in the car until the viewing is over. 
5: Did you forget about that load of wa
shing drying on the clothes horse or are your shoes bulging out the cupboard? Pop them in the washer or dryer and close the door, just don’t forget they’re there.

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