• Is it time to de-clutter your garden?

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the Japanese organising expert Marie Kondo and the new decluttering craze she’s started with her phenomenally popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and TV show. Marie Kondo says that things in your home should “spark joy” for you to earn their place and this is the basis of her KonMari method of tidying your home.

    decorative image of a cluttered garden
    This garden is in dire need of decluttering Image: Abundance Flickr – Have Mind

    Since I’ve been weeding and tidying gardens for a living, it’s been a surprise to me to find that almost everybody’s garden has a neglected, forgotten corner. The corner is usually the darkest, furthest corner of the garden and it’s where unwanted things just accumulate. They might be garden debris like leaves and twigs, or they might be things that are put there by the family members when they don’t know where else to put them. Then again, your garden might be like mine used to be – rubbish anywhere and everywhere – and not restricted to a corner of the garden at all.

    So, if you’ve been inspired to declutter your house and garage with the KonMari method, why not consider continuing on with your garden? Remember that over time your eyes might have become accustomed to seeing rubbish in your garden, but visitors will notice.

    Luckily, your garden will probably be the easiest and quickest part of your property to tidy. After all, how many old plastic plant pots will “spark joy” for you?

    This is my system to declutter the garden.

    1. Take some “before” photos of your garden. You’ll be glad that you did later on, so you can be inspired by the difference that you’ve made.
      It’s a good idea to start with the weeding, before tackling pruning back any overgrown plants. You might find that your plants are strangling other plants, and covering up water taps and meters, so it’s good to get them cut them right back.
    2. Now grab a rubbish bin and go around picking up any large twigs and bark pieces. These can be put in your green waste bin, donated to a household with an open fire, or taken to your local tip.
    3. Weed mat that’s past its use-by date looks really ugly. If you have old weed mat that’s poking out from under mulch, buy some new mulch to cover it up, or ask your council if they have any mulch for free after their tree-lopping operations. Or just find an old pair of scissors and cut out the offending bits of weed mat.
    4. Grab another rubbish bin and this time walk everywhere around your garden, picking up any rubbish you can find. By rubbish, I’m talking about plastic plant pots, broken clothes pegs, stones, broken toys, that sort of thing. Repair broken garden ornaments with some sturdy glue. You can put most plastic plant pots in your recycling bin if you don’t want to keep them. Garden hose fittings that are not broken can be stored away. Do the same with containers of garden fertilisers and pesticides, but of course take extra care to keep these where children and pets can’t reach them. Put unwanted items in the rubbish bin or take them to the local tip. Or if they’re salvageable, sell them on your local Facebook Buy, Swap and Sell group.
    5. Lastly, using a broom or rake, sweep your paths and push any remaining debris to the edge of paths. Having well-defined edges to your paths is the secret to making your garden look super neat and clean.

    You deserve a cup of tea. Take a few minutes to admire your new, tidy garden. Don’t forget to take some “after” photos, and tell us all about your achievement in the comments below.

    Now, here are some tips to keep your garden clutter-free

    • Keep things above the ground. Keep your garden hose coiled and above the ground so that leaves don’t accumulate underneath it. Hang brooms and rakes from a broom hanger on the wall. This makes sweeping easier too because brooms and rakes are out of the way.
    • Keep only things that you regularly use in the garden. Keep small things in a weatherproof outdoor storage bin so they stay clean, and consider keeping a small rubbish bin in the garden so that you can immediately put rubbish (broken clothes pegs, stones etc.) into it, and empty it every few weeks. Keep items that are infrequently used in the garage or shed.
    • Keep only things that are waterproof in the garden. Other things will deteriorate and won’t be pleasant to use. So store other things in the garage or under cover, or at least wrapped up in waterproof plastic.

    So, are you inspired to declutter your garden? What are your hints and tips? Post your before and after photos and tell us all about your garden decluttering experience.