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10 ways to declutter your home

'With reminders of the excesses of Christmas all around us, this is the perfect time to declutter and lighten your load," says declutter therapist Breda Stack. .

She's not only talking about the tree and tinsel. Breda founded National Declutter Day last September to promote three aspects of decluttering -- decluttering to feel good, donating to charity and reusing and recycling

Breda's declutter rules

Breda is the author of Declutter Therapy, and has a BA in communications and diplomas in life coaching, styling and interior design. "Decluttering is a therapeutic process that offers many holistic and practical benefits, it helps us to cut ties with the past, accept the present and create space for the future -- physically, mentally and emotionally," she says. "While the principles of style, organisation and interior design are vital to the process, decluttering is more about mindset than anything else."

1 Establish what clutter is to you. One man's trash is another man's treasure. As a rule, everything you own should be in some way life-enhancing.

2 Beaware of how possessions affect your emotions. Your space is too precious to hold onto anything that makes you feel bad.

3 Start small where there's little attachment. It's easier to get rid of old newspapers and socks than an inherited ornament or a wedding dress.

4 Be systematic and patient. Don't expect to be clutter-free overnight. Stick with it and you'll see progress.

5 Accept the pain for future gain. Although decluttering can be challenging you'll reap the rewards in many ways.

6 Make it a family habit. Decluttering works best when everyone is on board. It can also be a fun exercise for children.

7 Aim for 'happy, not perfect'. Life is all about change. A house can't always be entirely clutter-free.

8 Do your bit for our beautiful countryside by reusing and recycling unwanted objects.

9 Lessen any guilt by donating to charity. You can't change the fact that you've spent the money. It's healthy to let someone else enjoy items.

10Listen to your gut and be honest with yourself. As the saying goes 'If in doubt, throw it out'.

"In Ireland, the impulsive, consumer-driven society of the last few decades conflicts greatly with our traditional values of saving and sparing," Breda says. "Now many of us find the prospects of a clear-out fearful and overwhelming and, as a result, our homes are bursting at the seams with clutter," she says.

If you feel you can't breathe with the amount of stuff in your home, now's the time to take action to regain your space.

Unwanted Christmas gifts aren't helping either. Yet what can you do with all the clutter you plan on getting rid of?

Research undertaken by eBay.ie shows that Irish people received a total of €53m worth of unwanted gifts during Christmas 2011.

Up to 15pc of people said their in-laws were the main offenders when it came to giving unwanted gifts.

The auction website is forecasting January 19 to be its 'busiest online selling day' of 2013 as people across the country log on to sell this year's unwanted Christmas pressies.

The top three gift categories expected to be re-sold are clothes and accessories, music and computers. It's also an opportunity to resell other items you want rid of.

"eBay.ie sees a flurry of items being re-sold after Christmas like clothing and including shoes, dresses and shirts and which could be a result of incorrect sizing," says Steven Heywood of eBay.ie.

"The average person receives anywhere from €50 to €150 worth of unused items. There's money to be made from mistakes," he says.

Declutter therapist Breda recommends patience if you're looking to sell goods online which you've had for a long period of time.

"In recent recessionary times we've seen a great increase in the selling of unwanted goods, on and offline," she says.

"As attractive as this may seem, many items can be difficult and time-consuming to sell, and the monetary rewards often disappointing. In terms of clothing, most items lose the bulk of their value within a year of purchase so it's unsurprising to see online auction sites flooded with unloved garments," Breda says.

Age Action is appealing to the public to donate their unwanted Christmas gifts to provide funds for its work with older people. Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins said: "Whether it is a jumper or blouse, a piece of jewellery or a DVD, rather than leave it sitting in the bottom of the wardrobe for the next 12 months, consider donating it to an Age Action shop."

Meanwhile, four new St Vincent de Paul shops opened up in the run-up to Christmas in the Dublin area, and with a new one due to open in Bray this month, the total of SVP shops in Dublin will reach 40. Jim Walsh, spokesperson for SVP says: "Both a wider variety of people and goods come into the shops now. Donations have remained the same but the demand has gone up, so people are always welcome dropping things in."


1 Don't buy storage boxes until you've decided what to store in them. Empty storage boxes equal more clutter.

2 Don't plan on decluttering your whole house in one day. You'll end up a crazy person in a cluttered house.

3 Don't fall into the trap of moving clutter from one room to another. If you plan on selling things, then do so.

4 Don't have a clutter party. Too many helpers just equal s more clutter.

5 Forget the list. It will only end up another piece of paper lying around for far too long.

For more information log onto www.lifestylecoach.ie