Tag Archives: Spring Clearing Week

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Decluttering with Project 3000

Claire Birnie of The Tidy Life Project started the Project 3000 challenge to help her declutter her own home, but it has taken off around the world with hundreds of people following her lead. Here Claire tells us all about this fun decluttering challenge and explains how you can get involved this Spring Clearing Week.

Disney princesses have undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years. In the 1980s The Little Mermaid’s Ariel gloried in her collection of gadgets and gizmos. Fast forward almost thirty years and Frozen’s Elsa exhorts the value of letting go.

Elsa, it would seem, is an early adopter of the growing trend towards decluttering, simple living and minimalism.

Never before in human history has the average family owned so much stuff. In fact, personal organisers have estimated that the average home holds as many as 300,000 items. With such an overwhelming number of belongings, it is little wonder that so many of us are seeking to declutter and simplify our lives.

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Take a minute to look around you. If you are at home your surroundings are pretty familiar. That familiarity can often cause us to overlook the gradual and incremental increase in possessions building up around us. Yes, most of us know what we own, we just don’t know how much we own.

At the beginning of 2018, I decided to take action in decluttering my own home of the masses of unused and unneeded possessions that had built up without my knowledge. Over the course of one year, I planned to let go of 3,000 items – just one percent of that estimated total.

To hold myself accountable I committed to sharing my decluttering project on my Instagram page, using the hashtag #Project3000. It would serve as a motivator for me but also as a reminder to my clients and social media followers that professional organisers are not always perfect – we don’t live in magazine ready show homes!

When I began my clear out on January 1st I could not have predicted that Project 3000 would go global within a matter of weeks. Today there are participants on five continents, from the United States to Italy to Lebanon.

Project 3000 participants have reported feeling less stressed, calmer and even happier having decluttered their homes. Instead of the fears they normally associated with letting go – regret, anxiety, guilt – the more they let go, the more they want to let go. As the old saying goes, tidy home, tidy mind.

How you can join in the Project 3000 decluttering challenge:

  1. Set yourself a clear target goal and timeframe. It doesn’t have to be a year and it doesn’t have to be 3000 items – these are just suggestions. Find what works for you.
  2. Let go of your unwanted and unneeded items in as sustainable a way as possible. You can try selling, donating, upcycling and recycling. I have even been able to compost an old hat!
  3. Commit to not replacing the decluttered items with new ones.
  4. Love living with less.

Back in 1989, Ariel realised that her collections of thingamabobs were not making her happy. Today, you can follow Elsa’s lead and learn how to let it go!


If you would like some help with your Spring Clearing, you can find your local professional organiser here.


young woman clearing decluttering mind

Clearing the mind

We can all declutter our environments – our homes and places of work – but what about when our minds just won’t quieten down? Rachael Fenwick of Your Organised Life says that she has one of those minds that never stops thinking, planning and having a constant internal dialogue with itself. In this blog post, Rachael explains some methods to help us take back control and learn to switch off – which can help us to achieve our goals, be it daily goals or bigger life goals.


A topical buzzword that’s been around for a while now is Mindfulness – learning to live in the NOW, to take each task or thought one at a time, to save us from mind-overload.

Earlier this year I attended an Ayurveda Retreat. It involved numerous hours of solitude each day; practising being mindful, and, as it was also a total detox from technology, it was easy to be mindful in this environment. (It also helps when your phone is confiscated for attempting to use it!)

What the three-day retreat taught me is that by being mindful in every moment, my mind can instantly calm down. I must focus on one thing at a time, so if I’m eating a meal I’m just eating – concentrating on the food, the flavours, the texture, the thought of nourishing my body. My thoughts and my subconscious aren’t allowed to take over. It’s rather powerful, extremely simple to do (with a little practice) and reaps instantaneous results.

If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of practicing mindfulness take a look at this website: www.bemindful.co.uk or or look up either of these informative books:

  • Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world” by Prof Mark Williams and Dr Danny Penman.
  • Modern Mindfulness” by Rohan Gunatillake

clearing decluttering the mind


Another incredible way to switch off, clear the mind, relax and enjoy the moment is through Meditation. Just meditating for 10 or 15 minutes a day can have a huge impact on the mind, its clarity and calmness.

According to meditation expert Emily Fletcher (zivameditation.com), meditation provides your body with rest that is two to five times deeper than sleep.

Meditating for 20 minutes equates to taking a 90-minute nap, without having that “sleep hangover” afterwards. Instead, you’ll feel awake and refreshed, and, as Emily says, “more conscious.”

Meditation calms the nervous system, making it more orderly and thereby making it easier for your system to release pent-up stress. It also increases productivity, so in my opinion it’s a total winner. If you’d like to find out more, www.headspace.com is a great resource. I also love the book “Meditation for Beginners” by Jack Kornfield.

mediation clearing decluttering mind

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or Tapping is a relatively new discovery and a fast-evolving treatment in the West. Although the healing concepts that it’s based on have been practised in Eastern medicine for over 5000 years.

Like acupuncture and acupressure, Tapping is a set of techniques which use the body’s energy meridian points. You can stimulate these meridian points by tapping on them with your fingertips – literally tapping into your body’s own energy and healing power.

The technique works by releasing blockages within the energy system which are the source of emotional intensity and discomfort. These blockages in our energy system, in addition to challenging us emotionally, often lead to limiting beliefs and behaviours and an inability to live life harmoniously.

Resulting symptoms can be either emotional and/or physical and include lack of confidence and self-esteem, feeling stuck, anxious or depressed, or the emergence of compulsive and addictive behaviours.

It is now widely accepted that emotional disharmony is a key factor in physical symptoms and ‘dis-ease’. For this reason, these techniques are being extensively used on physical issues, including chronic illness, often with astounding results. As a result, these techniques are being accepted more and more in medical and psychiatric circles, as well as in the range of psychotherapies and healing disciplines.

EFT provides relief from most of these disturbances, often in minutes, and the results are usually long-lasting. In fact, EFT often provides relief where other techniques have failed and it has a high success rate, typically 80 per cent or better.

Understanding how emotional healing with EFT works may require an open mind for many people. The effectiveness of EFT only makes sense if it is related to the human energy system. Fortunately, you don’t have to believe any of this to receive the positive benefits of using these techniques.

Further information is available from www.thetappingsolution.com. An excellent introductory book on Tapping is “The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living” by Nick Ortner.


If Rachael’s post has inspired you to live a less cluttered life, you can find your local professional organiser here.


house decluttering service

Decluttering bad habits

When we think of bad habits we might think of biting our nails or smoking, but a habit is any regular tendency to do something, especially something that’s difficult to give up. It’s often a behaviour that has become engrained, we don’t even realise we’re doing it, or think that there could be another way. In this blog for Spring Clearing Week, Lesley Naylor of Clutter Therapy gives us some ideas on how to change old habits, look at how we organise things and realise that change is good and possible.

Hall Habits

The hall is the first thing you see when you get home. If you don’t have a hall as such then it’s wherever you hang your coats, kick off your shoes and throw your bags. For a lot of my clients this is a real problem area. They walk into their house and are straight away confronted by clutter. What a welcome! But rest assured, it’s often just habit. You wear a coat or jacket, then leave it in the hall. You use a bag, then leave it in the hall… and the same goes with shoes and post! But we’ll come to that later.

organised entrance hallway decluttered

My first tip would be to sit and think: what is it used for and what do you need? If you have space, I suggest a cupboard. One of my clients has a cupboard with hanging space and shelves which are used to store the ironing, because that’s what makes sense to her. Bars or shelves can be fitted at the bottom for shoes. Hooks for school bags or shopping bags can also be a good addition.

In a smaller space, coat hooks, with a shelf above, also work well. You can place small baskets on top for keys, gloves or hats. This also keeps keys out of sight of windows or the door. Limit the number of coats per person, as this easily gets out of hand. Have a day each week when the coats are cleared and hung back in the wardrobes. This also helps the coats and jackets keep their shape.

Shoes are often stored in the hall and there are many different styles of storage available. My old friend Google can help here. These can look very attractive and keep shoes tidy, but again once each week declutter and store surplus shoes upstairs.

Drawers are great for scarves. Fold scarves and store them so that you can see them all at first glance. It’s like a filing system. It’s important to make the space work and look inviting for you and your guests!

Postal habits

Let’s face it, life is busy but turning your back on the post can be like turning your back on the ocean – it catches you out! Piles of paper come into our homes every week through the letterbox, in children’s school bags or home from work. It’s so easy to get into bad habits of “I’ll open it later” or “I’ll deal with it tomorrow”. Often clutter is merely delayed actions and decisions. If you have a mail avoidance habit and want to take control, it can be done. I have spent a lot of time with clients opening avoided post, which they thought was unimportant, only to find cheques, important information and invitations or appointments, which they missed!

Organised mail on a hall table

Again, spend some time thinking about what will work for you. The first thing I suggest is having an easily accessible recycling bin for all the unwanted advertising letters and flyers. Having a shredder nearby also works so you don’t put any personal information straight into the bin. You should aim to cut down the amount of stored paperwork and, whenever possible, have a one touch habit. Don’t need it? Deal with it now!

In an ideal world, dealing with everything immediately is best. Alternatively, having trays or a drawer containing separate sections, close to where the post comes in works well.
1. Action (Give yourself a time limit to deal with this)
2. File (Empty regularly)
3. Time-limited information (e.g. notifications)
Once a week check through and most importantly, take action.

Car Clutter Habit

Car clutter seems simple, but it really is a bad clutter habit. My big tip is to have a roll of small bin liners in the glove compartment. When you’re stuck in traffic or arrive early somewhere have a tidy. Take your parking tickets, sweet wrappers, papers and sandwich wrappers home and bin them. It’s a good habit to get into!

The put it down and leave it a habit.

This habit can happen anywhere and it’s a big one. Once something has been left there for some time it just blends into everything else and gets added to and added to. It becomes one mess instead of individual objects. This can easily become overwhelming.

To avoid this happening do the reset test. Take a few minutes at the end of the day. Look around on your way upstairs and take the things that belong up there with you. Deliver them to where they live. Having a place for everything – like with like – is key. Get others in the house to help and build good habits for your children. Coach them in being organised when they’re young, it’s like giving them a gift for the future, and make it fun! A few minutes a day is so much better than the unsettling feeling of always having lots to do but not being able to face it because it’s a huge task.

In summary

These are just four habits that, if broken, will make a big difference, but all clutter habits can be thought of in the same way.

Think about your clutter making habit. Why is it happening? What will work for you? Can you put a better system in place? Even small changes can make a big difference. Then keep it up. Good luck!


If you would like some help with resetting your habits to organise your home, you can find a local professional organiser here.



organise my house declutter organise wardrobe

Marie Kondo and Spring clearing

In recent years, Marie Kondo and her bestselling book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying” have brought decluttering and clearing out into the spotlight. APDO member Clara Moore, of Glasgow professional organising company Joy of Space, is one of the UK’s first qualified Marie Kondo Consultants. In this blog post for Spring Clearing Week, she tells us all about the “KonMari” method.

tidy organised decluttered shelves of books and ornaments

Decluttering using the Marie Kondo method

Are you a tidy person? Do you have tidy habits? Did anyone ever teach you how to be like this?

I know I wasn’t taught this as a child. Through persistence and trial and error, I worked to develop these skills for myself, but it wasn’t until I came across the KonMari method of life tidying that it all fell into place.

I was so deeply inspired by her book and her method, that I immediately undertook what Marie Kondo calls a “life tidying festival”. From then on it has been so much easier to spring clean – something I enjoy doing every few months rather than just once a year.

Marie Kondo developed her method on:

  • six basic rules of tidying
  • the act of one big life tidying festival
  • the act of confronting yourself, your habits and your nature.

The Marie Kondo method

Marie Kondo firmly purports that “life truly begins only after you have put your house in order”, which is why she has devoted most of her life to tidying, not only through her core business of working one-to-one with clients, but also through her books, her network of consultants, and her #organizetheworld hashtag. It all comes together to fulfil her heartfelt wish to help as many people as possible to tidy up, once and for all.

The 6 rules of tidying:

Marie Kondo method is guided by 6 basic rules:

1) Commit yourself to the decluttering process
2) Imagine your ideal lifestyle
3) Finish discarding first before organising
4) Tidy by category, not by location
5) Follow the right order of category
6) Ask yourself if items spark joy

So how to do this:

Develop the skill to know yourself and know what sparks joy for you. By doing this you choose to have around you only the things that spark joy in you, either because you feel deeply connected to them or because they fulfil a necessary function in your life. Through discarding all the things that do not fall into this category you can start to attain your ideal lifestyle.

The Marie Kondo method suggests that you work through your belongings in the following order:
1) Clothes
2) Books
3) Paperwork
4) Komono (everything else)
5) Sentimental items

organised clothes in drawer Marie Kondo

Once you have discarded all the items that do not spark joy or feel relevant to you, the next step is to choose where to store each item and then to return it to it’s home after each use.  By doing this you cut down on the fatigue of continually searching for items and having to make multiple decisions. For example, “Where are my house/car keys?” “They are in the dish where I decided to store them and where I put them back after every single use”.

This approach works on two levels: by changing your way of thinking and by developing your tidying skills – thus changing your mindset and transforming your life.

Taking loving care of your belongings naturally results in a deeper connection with them, and a feeling of taking good care of yourself.

Spring is a perfect time to open yourself to this, as the days get lighter and brighter let yourself be inspired to declutter and let your home breathe as you make space for your current wishes, dreams and passions. Keep what is relevant to you now. Breathe new life into your home, create space. Let go, with love, the unfinished books, unloved clothes, unfinished creative projects – take joy in donating these items and passing them on to new homes.

For further information on the process of the KonMari method, you can find details in her books, in KonMari media and on my website www.joyofspace.uk

In summary, springtime and Spring Clearing Week is the perfect time to make up your mind to do something about any clutter, dirt and grime that has gathered in your home and your life. How much stuff is enough for you? What brings you joy? By confronting your home and belongings, and how you currently relate to them, one by one, you can give yourself the space to feel the truly spring-like pleasure of an amazing transformation, and the relief that you have finally spring cleaned your habits.


If you feel that you would like to wave a magic wand and have all your spring clearing already done, and tidy habits in place, remember that there are lots of lovely professional organisers out there who would love to help you achieve this wish and who love sharing their tidying and decluttering skills. You can find a professional organiser near you at this link.


declutter my house

Do you need to declutter your diary?

When was the last time you decluttered your diary? In this post, time management and personal productivity consultant Cory Cook shows us how to make our time work better for us and our goals.

Spring clearing your schedule

Ah, spring. Time to clear out our homes and begin afresh! Time to throw open the doors, whisk away the old and give our space a good sprucing.

But why stop there? It’s not just our physical space that becomes overrun with fusty old ‘stuff’.

Our diaries get weighed down too.

Like our homes, a schedule is easy to fill. If we don’t perform an occasional cull and consciously select what stays, overcrowding can soon settle in. Before we know it our diaries are full, but not necessarily with the activities we truly want.

Ready to spruce things up?

diary time management declutter

Here are 7 ways to revitalise your diary:

1. What’s missing from this picture?
If it’s your big picture goals, or the steps to achieve them, then quite a bit is missing. Without a beacon to aim for, life may feel like going through the motions. The thing is, to reach our desired destinations, we need to consciously schedule – and perform – the actions that will lead us there.

If you haven’t given this much thought lately, put the kettle on and determine 3 – 5 outcomes you’d like to achieve, long- or short-term. What do you need to do on a regular basis to make progress? Schedule one small step per goal into your diary now.

If the goal is truly compelling, you’ll find a place for it in your day.

2. Avoid the vortex
There’s nothing wrong with working late every now and then, enjoying a bit of telly, catching up on social media …if executed in moderation. However, time seems to suspend itself when we become absorbed in certain types of activities.

The key is being honest with yourself about your tendencies, as well as which activities in particular have the strongest magnetic pull on you. If work takes over to the demise of your social or family life, implement a failsafe to stop and shut down by a certain time each day. If online distractions draw you in, set a limit with a timer to alert you time is up. Close it down and slowly step away.

Don’t let the vortex devour precious time better spent elsewhere.

3. Cancel unnecessary obligations
Review your commitments. There may have been a time when you fully enjoyed serving on a particular board or committee, but times and priorities can change. If you’re currently involved in something that feels more of a chore than a joy, it’s time to move on.

You’re not doing yourself or the commitment any favours if your heart isn’t in it. Politely step down and use the time for a new endeavour that you’re passionate about.

Or simply enjoy the extra time.

4. Just say no
The best way to avoid cluttered activity in your diary is by denying it access in the first place. It’s not always easy to say no. But if we don’t, we risk filling our time with other people’s priorities, not our own.

By all means say yes when it’s necessary to do so, or if the request is in sync with your objectives. But always ask: “If I say ‘yes’, what in my diary will have to shift or go away to make the space?”

Equally, it’s important to not over-commit your energy. Just because you may have the time available, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have the energy to match. So avoid filling every ‘free evening’ just because your calendar shows an empty time slot.

Saying ‘no’ means saying ‘yes’ to a better-balanced schedule.

5. Fill your pockets
Put your day under a magnifying glass and you’ll see it’s dotted with pockets of downtime: A couple of minutes as the kettle boils, downloading a lengthy computer install, commuting or travel time. How about minutes waiting on an appointment, or commercial breaks if you’re watching telly?

Small pockets here and there may not seem worth the trouble, but it’s surprising what you can get done in those blips that will save you time. Perhaps it’s drafting emails during a train commute or doing dishes during commercial breaks. Even closing your eyes to relax during a ten-minute interlude is time well spent.

Fill those pockets strategically and the rest of your day will benefit.

6. Keep the goal, change the activity
You may find you’ve become bored or uninspired with an activity that technically fulfils one of your goals. But if something really isn’t working for you, then change it!

For example, say fitness is one of your goals. Just because you’ve always gone to the gym doesn’t mean it’s the only way to keep fit. If the fluorescent lights are drowning your spirits, try getting outside instead. A change in scenery may be just what you need for inspiration. We all get burnt out from time to time. Don’t make it worse by simply going through the motions.

Your goals should challenge and motivate you, and the path to reach them should be equally inspiring.

7. Time to think
Like cupboards and shelves in a home, just because we have the space doesn’t mean we have to fill it to the gills! The same applies to our diaries. It’s common to want to pack everything in. The issue is when sensory overload leaves no time for valuable thinking space.

Ring-fence time each day for complete silence and solitude. It doesn’t have to be long, fifteen minutes is plenty. But take the time to disconnect from the day without fail: a few minutes before the day begins, an afternoon retreat or an evening reprieve.
Creating time to breathe mentally will re-connect you with the present, clear your mind and give you fresh perspective.


Spring is an excellent time for a diary revamp, but it’s not the only time. Priorities may shift, and your goals may change! I recommend you spring clean your schedule every few months to stay current.

Be true to yourself and ensure your activities support your true goals and lifestyle.
Life’s too short for anything else!

If Cory’s post has inspired you to get more organised, you can find your local professional organiser here!


Laptop camera desk digital decluttering

Digital decluttering

When we think of decluttering, we usually think of clearing out our physical environment. Edinburgh-based Beata Mielcarek explains how decluttering can also apply to our digital presence, and how to get started with a digital spring clear out.

How digital decluttering can help us keep to our resolutions:

Can you believe that we are three months into the new year already? This is often the time when we may be tempted to give up on our resolutions, and some old habits and routines may be creeping back into our lives.

Everything around us pushes us into the old ways of living, and the less visible routines are usually the ones leading us astray. For example, if you resolved to save money, but are still subscribed to every major retailer’s newsletter or magazine, chances are you will end up buying things you don’t need. If you resolved to read more, but still subscribe to notifications for multiple TV and Netflix shows and record them weekly, you’re less likely to pick up a book.

These are just some of the subtle changes we usually forget to make, but which could help us with our goals. To reverse the “It’s too hard, I give up” trend, I have compiled a list of other ideas to help you with your resolutions. It’s my personal New Year’s electronic decluttering list.

laptop phone notebook pen digital decluttering

The electronic decluttering list:

  • Review your TV, Amazon Prime and Netflix notifications, and remove shows you already know you’ll never watch. Let’s face it, we all see a movie and show trailers that suck us right in, quickly adding them to our “To Watch” queues. Later the show airs, and we watch a bit, but never fully engage. In that case, why keep it? Just accept it’s not as good as the advert lead you to believe and clear it out of your queue.
  • As you scan through your email inbox every day, unsubscribe from newsletters and promotional e-mails. Personally, I would suggest all of them, but that may seem a bit drastic for some. Instead, be mindful of what you’re actually reading. If you consistently swipe or press delete messages from the same senders, you might as well unsubscribe. This will mean fewer messages and fewer clicks tomorrow.
  • Have you recently checked both your paper and online magazine and newspaper subscriptions? Can you honestly say you have read even half of each? If not, stop worrying about missing out, and unsubscribe. You’ll save a few quid. You’ll stop feeling guilty about not reading it. And when you do have time to read a few articles, chances are you will still be able to Google them anyway.
  • What does your daily post look like these days? Are you signed up for electronic statements and payments yet, or are you still drowning in paper? Less paper means less mess on your kitchen counter or dining room table. never mind fewer missed payments, and zero energy wasted keeping track of the payment deadlines. This is especially true for those annual bills like your home, car, and life insurance policies. I think we could all use that kind of relief.
  • And finally, speaking of feeling relieved – have you reviewed your three credit reference reports for accuracy this year yet? Or backed up your laptop and phone? These items often nag at us, yet we ignore them until it’s too late. It won’t take you long, maybe five minutes per account, to log in and download your credit reference reports. Even a quick look is better than nothing. Backing up your data is also usually a matter of pressing a key. So why not just do it today. The peace of mind is priceless.


If you need any help organising your paperwork, or more guidance for your own digital declutter, you can find a local professional organiser here.