It’s so easy for surfaces to get cluttered in the rush to get to work or school, or simply through the knick-knacks that starts out as one item but soon morphs into a dresser covered with a collection that doesn’t really even make sense anymore. (Not to mention the state drawers can get into!)

If this sounds like you, you might want to keep some tissue paper and boxes ready for this step.

Start with one surface, for instance your dresser, and work clockwise around the room, clearing and organising each surface and the furniture item’s drawers — if it has any — as you go. Keep a few smaller boxes handy if your surfaces or drawers are very cluttered with things that need to go to other rooms, cupboards, etc.

What you’d want to do for every surface, is first clear off everything (you can place all the items in one of the boxes) and then dust or otherwise clean the surface. Once that is done, you can broadly follow the same method you would use as when organizing your clothes; i.e. by asking yourself if you are still using the items or not. You can put all your decorative items in one box and photos & sentimental items in another box. This will make it easier to go through everything. Follow the same pattern with each of the drawers.

What to definitely get rid of:

  • Expired medication (take it to the pharmacy so they can safely dispose of it)
  • Expired or simply old beauty products and makeup, for example mascara older than three months
  • Bottles of beauty products that are finished or has very little left — and it’s the little you can’t get out of the bottle
  • Dead batteries (just be sure to get rid of them responsibly)

After you have divided the things you are throwing away into those you can recycle and those you can’t, it’s time to go through the boxes and see what you really want to keep and what you can do without.

You most likely want to keep all (or almost all) of your photos. If there are photos that really touch you, make a note of them for step four. This includes photos that you want to get rid of for some reason.

As for décor items, you can either replace some of them on the surface and wrap the rest in tissue paper to put them away to use later, decide to get rid of all of it by giving it to charity or selling the items to a second-hand shop, or simply wrap them all up in tissue paper and keep them until you are going to change the décor of your room again. In this way, you will not have to buy everything all over again.

Again, take note of those items that are most sentimental to you — favourite photos, decorative items, as these have their own inherent value to you.

How to organise your mind while you’re at it

The state of the surfaces in our homes are often a reflection of the state of our minds. They can be cluttered, “dusty”, and filled with the brick-a-brack of daily living. So cluttered, in fact, that we can’t even notice what is important anymore.

While you are cleaning the surfaces in your room, therefore, really look at what you’re keeping on them. Is it sentimental things that remind you of your loved ones or your travels? Or is it just dirty coffee cups and unopened mail that you couldn’t really be bothered to get rid of until there’s no other choice?

If it’s the latter, ask yourself why this is — and be honest with yourself. Chances are that there is some underlying thought-process that is actually keeping you from dealing with some problems in your life. It could even be that you are depressed; or falling into depression. If this is the case, and especially if you have been diagnosed before, it is very important to seek help again.

If there are sentimental things that you are holding onto even though you do not have good feelings associated with the items, ask yourself why you are holding onto them, as you have already learned from the experiences you’ve had. You shouldn’t feel forced to hold on to everything. Doing that is, in fact, bad for you spiritually and mentally. It can be likened to the dirty coffee cups that just keep standing around gathering dust and that weird green mold.

Should you find that there are sentimental things that are dusty and uncared for, or even items that you are keeping clean but don’t even think about anymore (they have basically become part of the furniture) also ask yourself why this is.

Ridding yourself of those sentimental things that you no longer need or want can be extremely liberating. Not only are you freeing yourself of possessions which may be holding you back, you are also working through memories and thought-processes that are holding you back from living your best life.

Let go of these negative thoughts when you let go of the once-sentimental things you don’t need in your life any longer.