I really wish I’d kept a journal of all we’ve cleared out in the last 18 months because I think it would be a pretty long and blog worthy list. Sadly these great ideas are all too clear in hindsight. I didn’t so I am feeding back from memory.
I am pretty amazed at the journey I’ve been on to get to a massively reduced amount of ‘stuff’. I estimate we have cut our belongings by about a half but its not always been plain sailing. We’ve hit the rocks on more than a few occasions. There have been times I have found it really hard to throw clothes that are too small or too big because of memories they evoke, a recent difficulty was school reports from my secondary school. Do I throw away something 25 years old or keep as a record of my not very misspent youth? CDs were another difficulty. Collected lovingly over many years. Do I get rid of a Dr Dre CD that I haven’t listened to for years which reminds me of my 20s and my party lifestyle that I could no longer bring myself to imitate?
If you are on a similar journey and have been hit by declutter-ers block like I did then I have some tips that may help…
1. Take a break – decluttering is good for the soul but it can take a real emotional toll when you start to examine more of the things you left until last. You don’t have to declutter everything in a specified period of time. If you’re finding it tough then go and take some down time. Do nice things. Forget all about the purge for a bit. When you come back you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle the next steps.
2 – Ask yourself simple questions. Do I love it? Do I need it? If the answers to those two are neither, can you reuse, repurpose or upcycle to something you can use or will love? Can you sell or give away?
3. Be at one with at the object – With sentimental items take some time to really look at the object or item. Take some time to feel it and look at it. Ask yourself why you’re keeping it? Is it a reminder of better times? Does it remind you of someone you’ve lost? I have some (clean) pyjamas of my Nans she wore before she died. I have never been able to let them go because they’re very symbolic to me. I have found out that people make memory bears or memory items out of clothing. So it’s not taking the item away but it’s repurposing the item to something you will treasure
4. Look at alternative versions – This is one for music and book fanatics. CDs and books take up a phenomenal amount of space, can collect dust and make a space feel overwhelmed. Make it a project to get everything on digital for your CDs. For books I only use library books. Most libraries have a reservation process and I find I can get 90 per cent of all the books I want this way. Any I love I can buy to read again and again. If you’re a fan of a kindle (I am an old fashioned book over myself ) you can get digital books through the library or buy pretty cheaply through somewhere like Amazon or Google Play.
5. Take one small area at a time – once you’ve done the easy things like clothes that don’t fit, old dried up mascaras, and 10 year old birthday cards it can get a bit harder. I like to tackle one thing at at time. Last year we cut our chest of drawers from 2 to 1. I now have all my stuff that was in a chest of 5 drawers in one draw with dividers. Doing that freed up space in our bedroom. It feels less cluttered, the space is clearer, and I spent time clearing out odd socks, old pyjamas and moving toiletries so I was able to have just one drawer. I feel so much freer having less of those items. But that was a really good declutter as there was a clear goal and we could see a difference and it spurred us on.
So have a go at getting back on the clearing out horse if you’ve fallen off. Let me know how it goes.
To date we have got rid of something like the following;
Chest of drawers
2 bedside tables
A side table
George foreman grill
2 x blenders
Pictures x 6
3 x rugby shirts given to local rugby club
Christmas tree and about 50 per cent of our Christmas decorations
12 boxes of stuff to car boot sale
20 bags to charity shop
10 bin bags of things that couldn’t have been recycled
Numerous bags to our mums who love a rummage through what we’re clearing out.