Alright, confession time; having to de-clutter is something that I struggled with for a long time. I moved straight from my parent’s home into my husband’s home. Gosh, that sounds so archaic – but yeah, it’s true; my husband and I were High School sweethearts and were married right after High School (because we wanted to).
At the time, neither of us really had a job, so we were dependent on bits and pieces of furniture, cutlery, crockery etc. that came from both our marital homes.
Although it was an amazing gift to not have to worry about not having money and trying to furnish a whole flat. This did awaken a rather bad habit of holding on to whatever is given to you – regardless of whether or not you use it.
We ended up with the largest mis-mash of items every, and almost too much to fill a home. Our cupboards were full of stacks of plates (plates I used to eat from as a small child) and heaps of bowls (none of them matching) and a drawer full of cutlery.
The same thing happened to our closets, since buying clothes wasn’t a readily available option, we kept hold of everything – pants from High School that don’t fit anymore, shirts that have a little hole in them but fits so good. The concept of throwing anything away was just not possible. What if we need it in the future?
But this year, after downsizing to a smaller apartment I decided it was time for a change. It was finally time to sort through everything and toss everything we do not need/use, or anything that is broken/torn.
I won’t sit and pretend that it is an easy process; or a fast one for that matter. In fact, we’ve been in the new house for about 4 months now, and I still find things I want to sort through – like my daughters toys…
What I did to help me sort through the crazy and sentimental:
- Think about what you want your space to look like. This is important, because it will dictate the type of stuff you keep. We all want to have that perfect, relaxing living room. And knowing what will suit the style you’re going for; will help determine what to keep and what to toss.
- Take a box – 1 box – and place your cherished items in there, before sorting through the rest. What happened to me was that I got so overwhelmed with the sorting and trying to do everything that I ended up throwing most things out; things I probably wouldn’t have thrown out if I had taken the chance to calmly sort through and put away my cherished items. If you have a big house; and not a teeny-tiny apartment like me, consider using a small box per room.
- Now, evaluate your lifestyle. Do you like entertaining big groups of friends for drinks and cocktails? Or do you prefer quite nights in with just the family? If you love entertaining big groups you will obviously need more glasses, plates, etc. But if you prefer just having small groups, you don’t need as many. This goes for all forms of crockery and even Tupperware.
- Then comes the difficult part of sorting through the remainders. Now is the time to critically look at everything that’s left. Is it broken? Toss it. Is it stained? Toss it. Will it lie in the back of the cupboard gaining dust? Toss it. Do you tell yourself its ok, you will fix it; and then never do? Toss it. If you are never going to use it, then toss it.
- We as human beings place to much value on material things. I understand that there are certain things; precious things; that you will never want to give up. Family photo’s or heirlooms from loved ones, items that trigger powerful memories. That’s ok, keep those – keep them safe and close – but all the other nonsense and clutter is not needed.
After decluttering my own house, I struggle to find the words to express how freeing it was. We still had everything we needed, and a few extra important keepsakes, but the rest was (mostly) gone. It made such a big difference.
Our space felt more open and inviting (I’m making it sound like I was some kind of hoarder; with mountains of newspapers – believe me I wasn’t), I didn’t feel irritated when I came through the door. There was just peace. And I think life is crazy enough that a little peace in the home is just what the Doctor ordered!
I also recently started reading more about Marie Kondo’s method of de-cluttering. The Kondo Method is really becoming popular, and there are thousands of people singing her praise, that I just have to try it out for myself.
The Marie Kondo method is a more holistic approach to de-cluttering and tidying your space. And is based largely the idea of joy. If a certain item gives you true joy then keep it. If the answer is even the slightest hint of hesitation then it is not necessary in your life. What I like most of what I’ve read about this method so far is the newfound respect developed for your belongings.
I will definitely be trying the Kondo method during the next week, so keep your eyes out for my follow up post where I share my experience of Marie Kondo’s impressive method.
How does the clutter (or lack of clutter) in your home affect you? Let me know how you deal with it.
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