5 tips to help you declutter your home

This month we’re asking you to become a #GreatDonateHero, and take a bag of donated goods to your local Scope shop.

Jasmine runs Change Your Space and is a member of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers UK. Here she gives her top five tips to help you declutter your home.   

I am a professional organiser. I climb up into lofts with people who are moving house and daunted by having to delve into the recesses of their home. I listen while clients sort through the wardrobe of a Bed with loads of clothes piled on top of itloved one who has passed. I’ve gone into homes where no one else has been for five years and you can hardly make it into the hallway.

Through it all I’ve learnt a major lesson: it’s rarely just about the stuff. Sorting is likely to be an emotional journey through your identity, history, relationships and self-esteem –  but that is an amazing journey too.

There are great benefits to a good review of your belongings:Large pile of games, board games and toys spilling out of a cupboard

  • Doing your bit: recycling and charitable donations are good for the environment and community
  • Financial: the average home has about £600 of unused items residing in cupboards and lofts
  • More space: it is estimated that we would gain 30% more room from conducting a review
  • More efficiency: 80% of what we file we never refer to again
  • Time saving: we spend 20 minutes a day trying to find important items that are hiding
  • Clarity: the average 10 year old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 dailyBox full of scattered paper and documents

Knowing it’s good for us may still not be enough to commit time to the process. So how do we make progress with our sort out and stay motivated?

My top five tips to personally equip ourselves for a review:

  1. The power of memories comes from accessing them regularly and not the volume.

    This can be a key way to navigate through inherited items, children’s pictures, and family photographs. Think of a format by which you can be in touch with that memory. I’ve created a scrapbook of photos of a ball gown collection with the stories associated with them for a client. This brought great joy to her and the three wardrobes of clothing could be re-homed.

  2. Celebrate finding something you thought was lost.

    This will definitely happen. It’s usually in the first hour of a sort session, but we always take time to celebrate this find. Be pleased with yourself. When a birthday present was rediscovered we had a little celebration there in the loft. So many of our belongings are about joyous times. Take time to reconnect with that.

  3. Have structure and parameters to your sort.

    This can be that you are tackling this one cupboard for one hour and you have your recycling and donations bag at the ready. It will call you back to task when emotions can start to cloud what you are doing.

  4. Be content with a first sift.

    Rather than agonising over whether to keep items that may have sentimental poignancy, satisfy yourself to go through the area making easy decisions first. Where is the excess cardboard? Where are the clothes you can donate easily? Leave tougher decisions to a second sift when you have made progress on clearing a space first.

  5. Make a memory box.

    There has been much written about whether an item sparks joy, and the psychology of making decisions, but I never presume what people want to keep and what they wish to let go. What I do find helps is having a memory box where items are to be kept well. When you know you have a few things kept safe that remind you of key chapters, you don’t feel as if you have to keep everything.

Feeling inspired? Watch our #GreatDonateHero film below, find your local Scope shop and get sorting!

If you’d like to find out more from Jasmine about decluttering, just email her and she can send you some tips for your particular problem area: jasmine@changeyourspace.co.uk

Scope’s online community is a year old today!

“Happy Birthday to us … Happy Birthday to us …” We are celebrating the first anniversary of Scope’s online community, and what a year it’s been!

We launched our new community on 3 July 2014, as a place for people connected by disability to find support, share experiences and swap ideas. We wanted it to be a safe, friendly environment, where disabled people, families and professionals could talk. We also hoped it would become a lively forum for discussing topical issues and subjects that were important to disabled people.

We are pleased to say – one year on – it is all that and more! So, let’s take a look at some of our best bits:

From bed-wetting to sex

Emma holding a sign which says - Desperate for a good night's sleep? Ask me anythingWe’ve had several guest experts dropping into the community to answer your questions over the past year. In September, we invited two senior sleep advisors from Scope, who were literally inundated with posts. You can see some of the fantastic tips and advice they had to offer here.

This was closely followed by a Q&A from two bed-wetting advisors from ERIC (Education & Resources for Improving Childhood Continence), which was also very popular.Then we had two “non-expert sexperts” – journalist and broadcaster Mik Scarlet and Emily Yates from Enhance the UK’s Love Lounge, who joined us for a lively Q&A about sex and relationships.

Other popular discussions were hosted by Robert Pearce from Active Nation, who came in to talk about keeping fit, and Kat Dunn from Mind, who answered questions about mental health.People in wheelchairs doing a keep fit class Plus, we had a wonderful team of youth and community workers from Carers Trust hosting a chat about young carers, and a really useful Q&A about employment support for disabled people, led by Tracy Abbott from the Business Disability Forum and our very own pre-employment advisor, Michelle Parkes.

A warm welcome

In addition to our visiting experts, we are fortunate to have a number of regular community advisors, answering your questions in their specific area of expertise. They cover a range of specialisms, from speech and language therapy to assistive technology.

Woman with blonde hair sitting at a desk, looking at her smartphoneOver the past year, we have recruited several new advisors, including Debbie from Scope Helpline, who answers questions on housing and independent living, Richard Lamplough, who is our new employment advisor and  Michelle a Scope pre-employment advisor.

Plus, of course our wonderful community champions, who welcome new members and make them feel at home. Our community champions come from all walks of life – some are parents, some are professionals and some are disabled people. They have all volunteered their time to make sure the community is a safe, supportive place to be.

Let’s have a heated debate!

The community has also played host to some lively discussions in its first year, most notably after Lucy Britton’s blog about hidden disability. Sam CleasbyIt’s a topic that’s clearly dear to a lot of people’s hearts because when Sam Cleasby followed it up with a blog about her #MoreThanMeetsTheEye campaign it got people talking all over again. And when our very own community champion, Hannah Postgate blogged about being a working mother, it went straight to the top of our most-read blogs.

Here’s a tip

One of the most popular features on the online community is our dedicated tips section. Here you can search for tips on just about everything, from travel to technology. All the tips have been contributed by disabled people, parents and professionals, and new tips come in regularly.Lightbulb illustration

Our tips have featured far and wide, appearing in everything from The Guardian and Money Saving Expert to NHS Choices, and The School Run.

Over the past year, we’ve added several new tips sections, including Pregnancy and Parenthood, Dating and Sex, Employment, Employing a PA or Carer and Health and Fitness. We’d love to hear your’s too, so please do pass them on!

We love our new online community so much, we’ve even made a film about it! You can see our community film below. 

Why not join us for a slice of virtual birthday cake on the online community today!