Go forth and de-clutter
August 21, 2017
I’m bred from stock that endorses the approach of always be prepared, have spares of everything and cover every eventuality. The cereal cupboard at the parental abode has been known to rival the choice offered in the local supermarket and the broad selection of ready-to-loan outdoor attire that lurks in cupboards could clothe a small village in the event of flood, snow, monsoon or full on Armageddon. Like I say, every eventuality. I’ve often adopted the same approach – always making sure I don’t run out of anything for fear that it’ll cause some sort of hole in the universe or that I take a minimum of three outfit changes out for the small fry covering all weather and/or nappy related incidents.
The further into adulthood I’ve moved I’ve begun to realise something – all the spares, the ‘just in case’ packs of goodness knows what and the stock piled cleaning products have started to have a detrimental impact on me. I was surrounded by clutter and it was cluttering my brain. There’s probably an official name for it (will google at some point) but when there’s too much material ‘stuff’ around me I can become borderline miserable.
Now don’t get me wrong there are times where I have been utterly grateful for the array of ‘necessities’ on offer when I’m back visiting my Mum and I wouldn’t swap her for the world, but I have definitely picked up some habits from the years spent under her wing. Once I realised the correlation between having too much around me and my mood I took the bull by the horns and started a de-clutter project. I reckon I started it about a year ago and it’s still going now, so I thought I’d share a few tips if it’s something that you recognise in yourself.
1. Start small
Go for the sock drawer or a bathroom cabinet – pick something that’s going to take about 15 minutes to sort out and is easy to be ruthless with. If you’re hoarding a load of stuff there’s no point throwing yourself at the garage and thinking you’ll get through it – you need to train your brain to be ok with getting rid of things that ordinarily you’ve been holding on to. Don’t get me wrong there is bound to be some sentimentality along the way but that won’t be the case for everything!
For years I’ve had toiletries gift sets bought for me at Christmas and birthdays – I’m a big fan. However, I had things all over the place – body lotions, hand creams, bubble baths….so much and in so many different cupboards I didn’t actually know what I had so would often end up buying something that I had patiently waiting for me in the depths of a cupboard. I pulled everything out and put it in one place where I knew I could go to once I’d run out of said product to get the next out. I was pretty ruthless while doing it – if there was something I wasn’t ever going to use I found a new home for it….(more of that shortly)
3. Get charitable
There are so many good homes for your unwanted (or just un-needed) items to go to that clearing out doesn’t mean having to chuck away and waste perfectly good items. My biggest discovery has been the women’s refuge. They’ll take everything and anything – I obviously wouldn’t give them rubbish or anything that’s broken, but as a charity they support women who have often had to up and leave their current lives with nothing but the clothes on their back so pretty much anything you can think of they can make use of.
4. Re-address what you put value on
For me this has meant a re-balance between having every material thing I might need in life and my mental health – I’m not even being dramatic! What I value is order, organisation and simplicity. I think having the bambinos has shifted me this way, although achieving those things can be hard when you’ve got a toddler, a baby and very little sleep. I might only have half an hour each day to really bring about some order but I’ll use it to do what I can. I don’t always get to where I want to with this but I certainly aim for it.
Life is too short to spend it cleaning, tidying and beating yourself up when you don’t tick off your infinite jobs list within an hour of waking up in the morning but the art of de-cluttering ‘things’ has definitely made me feel a whole heap better mentally and stops me feeling like there’s so much going on that I don’t know where to start.
Some days I win, some days I don’t and I slip back into old habits but what is for sure is that every day I’m winging it!