How to teach a teenager good decluttering habits

‘I will buy you a whole new range of make-up,’ I told my teenage daughter. ‘But… [of course there was going to be a but] first you need to completely declutter your current make-up supplies.’ We’ll go through all your cosmetics I said, in drawers, make-up bags, in the bathroom and get rid of everything old or that didn’t work out and you’ll never use.bedroom clutter Copyright Rightsize 2017

It was a good way to get my daughter to clear out her makeup. I mean, most of us could do with clearing out our make-up… you may have old compacts with only a thin rim of 5 year old powder round the edge, perfumes someone gave you but aren’t your thing, and creams you don’t recognise and have no idea why you bought them.

But it was also important for me to do this with my daughter because it’s good practice to start a young person off with in life. If they see it as automatic that when they go out and buy new make-up, they first need to have a sort out, a declutter, a cull, they’ll do this whenever they’re thinking about buying new cosmetics in the future. Rather than simply adding to the collection and ignoring the deep dark drawers full of nasty old decaying products. Beautifully packaged ones bought on a whim that they’ll never end up using. Eyeshadow pallets which were the wrong colour but seem too wasteful to throw away. Old hotel freebies. You get the picture.

And what better incentive can there be than the promise of mum taking you out and buying you new make-up that works for you now and that you’re going to use? This principle could be used in other areas, whether it’s wardrobe (if you declutter your wardrobe, make up a bag to give to charity and tidy everything, I’ll take you shopping and buy you some clothes). Or with toys.

Most important of all you’re ingraining in your young people the principle that in life, whenever you buy new things, you should be prepared to let other things go. The one in, one out rule. It should stand them in good stead.

©2018 Rightsize Ltd.   No part of Rightsize content or images, whole or partial, may be used without Sarah Macnaught’s written consent.  Email her at  Sarah Macnaught, is a leading declutterer and downsizing specialist in the UK.  She is UK ambassador for the Institute of Professional Organisers an international member of the National Assn of Senior Move Managers



Where to Donate the Tricky Stuff


It’s not rocket science. You’ve done a clear out and have a pile of things you don’t need. It isn’t worth your while selling them on eBay and no one you know wants them. So it’s a charity shop run. Or so you thought. But it turns out that while lots of charity shops will take clothes, shoes and an endless stream of retro floral crockery, may don’t take other stuff you’re looking to donate. Like accessories and electrical items. Curtains and blankets. Tools and furniture. But it feels so wrong to chuck this stuff into the tip. It seems such a waste.

And you know what? Often it IS such a waste. Turns out there are charities which will take your less-mainstream second-hand items. You just need to hunt around a bit. Which we have. So here are a few you can try next time you have a clear out. Or better still perhaps this will inspire you to declutter now! Read more

Why every woman needs a home office

It’s a recurring theme. I go to meet a new client for the first time. She walks me through her house. Points out the space she wants me to declutter. Usually her wardrobe. She’s excited I’m here and wants us to get to work. Now. But at this point I pause and ask the killer question. “What is driving you nuts every time you enter your home?”

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Is your workspace holding you back?

What’s holding your career back? It could be that guilty secret you’ve been hiding since who-knows-when.
The one you’d be mortified for your colleagues to discover. The thing your partner keeps nagging you about. Yes, your workspace at home. The mess. The piles of unsorted paperwork. The time spent searching for things. “Have you seen my…?”

This cluttered way of working at home is just normal for many people. And if you’re one of them you’ll know it can have a very real impact on your work. A negative impact. Because anyone who seriously believes they can produce the same quality and output of work from a chaotic, haphazard workspace as they can from an organised, tidier-than-Monica-in-Friends space, is kidding themselves. Or in denial. Read more

Regifting the spirit of Christmas – yes you can!

Everyone loves a Christmas advert, don’t they? All those roaring log fires. Snowy outdoor scenes. Happy, excited children who never moan, fight or stare at a screen for hours. And the gifts, don’t forget the gifts. People receive gifts and they are ALWAYS delighted with what they’re given. Not even a hint of “Another corkscrew? Seriously?”, or the knowing look that says, “I know this strawberry shortcake scented odour-neutralising candle has been sitting in the bottom of your gift drawer for 3 years”. Nope, the festive ads are all joy and teary-eyed delight. If only… Read more

Clear the decks – now its time to deck the halls…

‘Tis the season to be jolly and all that but if you’re not careful, ‘tis also the season of chaos and clutter. If, that is, you walk blindly into the festive season without a bit of planning. And we’re not talking about early gift buying or getting the Christmas cards written pronto. We’re talking about clearing the decks so your home is ready for the upheaval that Christmas brings. All the stuff. The influx of new gifts, the added debris from wrapping and packaging, the space needed for decorations – not to mention The Tree.
The thing is, if you don’t do the prep before you’re in the thick of Christmas, it’ll quickly become overwhelming….

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