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Springtime decluttering tips from a pro

Decluttering tips from Emma Gleeson,

Marie Kondo, Japanese decluttering expert du jour, believes that every object we own should “Spark Joy” in our hearts.

This seemed a little too much for my cynical Irish soul, so when I set up my home decluttering service ‘Give up Yer Aul Tings’ I adopted a more down to earth motto from Victorian artist William Morris:

[bctt tweet=”“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” #WilliamMorris #declutter #springtime”]

Sounds simple? It is! Send that old, broken toaster to be recycled, give away that expensive dress you’ve never worn but keep out of guilt and reclaim your house and head space by ditching the clutter. You won’t know yourself or your home.

Below are my top tips for a successful decluttering day.

  1. Have a friend or professional with you.

    It is extremely hard to complete this task alone, especially if you’re dreading it. Enlist the help of someone you trust who can help you make productive decisions.

  2. Take scheduled breaks.

    This sounds obvious but often people can get caught up in a wave of enthusiasm only to leave themselves wiped out by lunchtime. Taking breaks and leaving the room you’re working on is very important for clearing your mind and keeping your energy levels up.

  3. Start with one achievable task.

    If you head straight into tackling your entire wardrobe you are in danger of feeling overwhelmed very quickly. My advice would be to start with a smaller task, like an unruly chest of drawers or a bathroom cabinet, so you can experience a motivating sense of achievement at the start of your day.

  4. Set aside all emotional material for another day.

    If you come across boxes of old photos, letters, children’s drawings etc., be strict and set them aside or you’ll get distracted. It can be an emotional job so it’s best to leave these items until last, or better yet for another day.

  5. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

    Don’t expect to have the whole house done in one day. It is a slow process so pace yourself.

  6. BUT

  7. DON’T leave the house/room upside down at the end of the day.

  8. Scheduling clean up time is essential. It would be very demoralising to wake up the next day and find your hallways strewn with rubbish. Remove any bags to be charity shopped/recycled/binned to your car or outside – resist the temptation to go through them again by having them out of sight!

    Above all pace yourself and banish the shame or embarrassment – the vast majority of people are in a similar position. You can do it!


I’m very conscious that all the unwanted clutter is disposed of responsibly and so I encourage my clients to think about where their clutter is going and to use some of the following organisations in the Dublin area:

  • – recycle old computers and send them to deserving schools across the world.
  • – great for large quantities of things like paper, cardboard, even CDs and VHS tapes! Items are used for school and community art projects.
  • We all have a drawer of old mobile phones and chargers – Nokia 3210 anyone? Most phone shops now take these items to be recycled for free. Result!
  • – These guys are great for electrical items that are beyond repair.
  • Head to good old Dublin City Council to recycling large household items. Unfortunately there’s a charge but think of the feeling of freedom as you drive away having responsibly gotten rid of that old fridge!
  • – lots of people have clothes that they feel are too nice to be sent to charity. There are lots of decent consignment shops in Dublin where you can sell on your clothes and accessories, my favourite is Siopaella.
  • – old bikes, games consoles, cameras etc. can be shifted easily through this easy to use site, and you’ll get some cash too!

  • Emma Gleeson - 'Give Up Yer Aul Tings'
    Emma Gleeson of ‘Give Up Yer Aul Tings’