My Decluttering Experience to Date
My experience of decluttering has always been spending hours staring at a mound of things I haven’t touched in months, maybe even years and having no idea what to do with it. I then tidy it, put the things back away and having spent over an hour I close the door or drawer having successfully refused to throw anything away “just in case” I may need it. A ridiculous notion having not needed any of this stuff while it has been sitting useless in my drawers and cupboards.
I believe though that there is a little hoarder in all of us somewhere. Whether it be for sentimental reasons or that just in case moment they’ll be something in a cupboard that you don’t really need or haven’t used but refuse to part with.
About a year ago I decided this was no longer going to be the state of my home. After 33 years of holding onto the “just in case” things and the things I believe I have some sort of attachment to it was time to change.
It’s safe to say after such a long time of “collecting” and having moved this ‘stuff’ into three different houses it was never something that was going to happen overnight. If I’m honest I’m still dealing with the problem having moved house and my hoard just under a year ago.
I still have a garage of things to declutter but I’m determined it’s all got to go!
How I Broke Free of the Clutter Chains
So you may ask where did the motivation come from after all those years?
My saviour was Marie Kondo and her book Spark Joy – The Magic of Tidying. Her stories of hoarders who had rid themselves of everything they thought they needed but never did was inspirational. It also made me look at the things I had kept much more objectively. I would encourage anyone to give it a read; it is not general either, it is specific to everything you may have hoarded over the years.
Once you complete the book it is great to reference back to when there is a part of your home that needs another clear. It splits your home into chapters including clothes, paperwork, magazines, photos and many more.
The Big Lesson
The biggest lesson is to only keep the things that spark joy and make you happy. Surround yourself with only the things you want to see and ridding yourself of the things that bring you down. It also addresses organising those things you have to keep or need to in large quantities into a system where you can actually view them as opposed to them simply sitting in a large pile in a box all jumbled.
Decluttering also makes life more simple, you can find things when you want them and the things you want are there without having to work your way through the things you don’t want or need first.
I’m sure many of us have considered the benefits of a life with fewer possessions giving you less to clean, more energy for the things you are passionate about, less stress and less to organise.
You may well feel anxious about the process at first and even defeated before you begin but you will feel better once you’ve finished. Decluttering after many years is a journey that will not be completed overnight. It is an ongoing process until you reach your happy place and can continue the good work on a more ongoing basis to ensure clutter is not something that builds around you in the future.
6 Easy Ways to Get Started
Other than reading the wisdom of Marie Kondo which I would highly recommend we’ve put together five other inventive and creative ways to get you started when it comes to decluttering your home:
1. Give away one item each day
Based on the theory of Colleen Madsen at 365 Less Things give away one item each day. This is an easy way to rid yourself of 365 items but may also motivate you to rid a few more along the way. Ideal if you don’t have lots to get rid of but a process that could take years if you have more clutter than you need.
2. Fill one bin bag
Slow and steady can win the race so start off with one bin bag and fill it as fast as you can with things you no longer need or want. It may just be a rubbish bag but it may also allow you to do your bit for charity and create a bag you can allow someone else to enjoy now you no longer have a need for it.
3. Try the Clothes Hanger Experiment
An old method but a good one! Remove all the hangers from your wardrobe and face them in reverse. As you wear an item turn it the right way. This way you will identify the things you wear and the things you no longer need. You may also apply this to your drawers. Empty your drawers put all the items in a box and only put them back in the drawer as you wear them. This way anything left in the box is no longer of use to you.
You could make this work for a range of things from toys to craft items. Give it a go and see how much you can clear.
4. Take the 12-12-12 Challenge
Locate twelve items in each of the following categories – throw away, donate to charity, return to their correct place.
By doing this that’s thirty six items in your home dealt with easily within an hour. Set yourself this task on a weekly basis, you could even include the kids and see how quick you can all find the thirty six items required and you’ll soon be clutter free.
5. Experiment with numbers
Created by Courtney Carver Project 333 challenges you to wear only 33 pieces of clothing for 3 months. If 33 pieces of clothing seems too little, adjust the rules as you need by picking a new number to work with. The main thing with this experiment is that you challenge yourself to live with less and see what you learn.
6. The Four-Box Method
A little like the 12-12-12 Challenge but with no limits. Set yourself an area to clear and bring in four boxes labelled rubbish, donate/give away, relocate and keep. You must then place every item in your chosen room in one of the four boxes. You will find some spaces will take an hour, some a day and some weeks or months but you will create a more streamline way of living by the time you’re done.
You could then keep the two boxes labelled give away and rubbish. These boxes can then be kept in a garage or spare room so overtime as you come across something to get rid of or to give away you can place it in the box until it is full and then move it out.
No matter when you decide to get started or the method you choose to get you to your end goal of a clutter free home the main thing is to take that first step with enthusiasm and determination. Surround yourself with the things you love that bring joy to your life and make you want to come home.